Keeping backyard chickens can be a fun and rewarding experience. You get to enjoy fresh eggs right from your own yard and the added bonus of having some feathered friends to keep you company.
This guide is here to help you get started on your backyard chicken journey. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie, we’ve got all the information you need to get your flock up and running in no time.
Preparing for your backyard chickens
How many is too many? Before you start your chicken adventure, it’s important to determine how many chickens you want to keep. This will impact the size of the coop and run you’ll need to provide a safe and comfortable home for your birds.
Know the rules
Before you get started, make sure to research the regulations in your area. Some communities have specific rules about keeping backyard chickens, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you dive in.
Locate where your chickens will go
Choosing the right location for your coop and run is crucial. You want to make sure it’s protected from predators, but also has enough ventilation to keep your birds healthy and happy. Along with ventilation, you will want to offer your chickens both sun and shade.
Here in the city, our coop has to be in the center back of our yard to keep them at the legal distance from the neighboring homes. Check your local ordinances before setting up your enclosure or coop.
Gather your supplies
To get started, you’ll need a few key supplies, including a coop, run, feeders, waterers, bedding, and a roost. Don’t worry, there are plenty of affordable options out there!
:: Coop and run
Choosing the Right Breeds
What do you want from your birds? It’s important to consider what you want from your chickens when choosing a breed. Do you want to focus on egg production or are you looking to raise birds for meat?
With so many breeds to choose from, it can be overwhelming. Take your time to research different breeds and consider factors such as egg production, meat quality, and temperament. I have a handy guide to the best chickens for eggs and meat to speed things up a bit.
Find your perfect match: Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to choose the breeds that best fit your needs. Consider factors such as climate and local conditions to make sure your birds will be happy and healthy.
Caring for Your Chickens
Keep them safe
Your chickens need a safe and secure home to thrive. Make sure your coop and run are sturdy and well-maintained to keep your birds protected.
If you are not free ranging your chickens and would like to protect them from predators a covered chicken run that keeps pests from getting in or swooping down and grabbing your chickens is a smart choice.
Feed them right
A balanced diet and fresh water are crucial for the health of your chickens. Make sure to choose a high-quality feed and change their water regularly.
Chickens will eat just about anything and will love to enjoy insects from your garden such as hornworms, scraps from your kitchen, and feed. There are a lot of issues with commercial feed right now and reduced egg production so if you are looking for eggs from your chickens you may want to consider making your own chicken feed.
Stay on top of their health
Regularly monitoring the health of your chickens is key to catching and treating any potential health issues early on. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual behavior. The faster you catch and quarantine issues the less likely you are to lose your entire flock.
Getting started with chickens can be a bit overwhelming but it can be a truly amazing opportunity for your family. From providing food to helping your children learn to care for animals chickens are one of the most valuable animals you can raise while still being fairly easy.