More and more people in cities, suburbs, and in the country are raising chickens. They’re relatively easy to keep and the daily fresh eggs are quite a treat. It’s becoming so common that you can probably find chicken feed at your local home store, even in the city.
If you want to raise chickens to help live a sustainable life, it is of course a bigger project than something like composting, but it’s not as huge of an undertaking as you might think. You might just want to raise them as pets, or even just for their eggs. Here are the steps you need to take to start raising chickens.
Step One: Your Chickens and the Law
The first step is to see if you can legally keep chickens in your area. Check city and neighborhood laws and ordinances. If you live in an HOA community there may be rules that say you can’t keep animals/livestock on your property. Some cities limit the number of chickens you can keep.
Step Two: Choose Your Breed
Before you build a chicken coup or plan their area, decide what type of chickens you want to keep. Consider looking for breeds that lay a lot of eggs so you can get more bang for your cluck. Hybrid chickens tend to lay more eggs and they’re generally easier to raise, which is great for beginners. Also look for birds that are gentler in personality, so you don’t have to worry about being chased out of the hen house.
Step Three: Build or Buy Your Chicken Coop
A chicken coop serves several purposes. It keeps your chickens warm when the weather turns cold. It protects them from predators. It also gives them a happy place to lay their eggs. Make sure the coop is well ventilated. You’ll need nesting boxes, roosting poles, a place for food and water, and bedding material.
Step Four: Feed Your Chicks
You can buy chicken feed at your local hardware or farm supply store. It’s a well-rounded material that provides your chickens with the nutrition they need. You might also give them some scratch and some kitchen scraps. Make sure they have fresh water and create a system to keep the water flowing. You can buy automatic waterers for chickens.
Step Five: Room to Roam
Create a fenced-in area where your chickens can roam and stretch their legs. Keep in mind that the area where they’re able to roam will get scratched up pretty quickly. If you can rotate where you let them roam, you can prevent completely destroying your yard. This also helps prevent boredom. Yep, chickens get bored.
Raising chickens is an adventure. Talk to other chicken owners to learn more about the best breeds and how they’ve managed their flock. And then enjoy the daily fresh eggs you get and the fun of raising chickens.