You probably thought about it for quite some time, which has directed you towards this article. Raising chickens at home is seemingly effortless but requires good planning, execution, and constant monitoring. It is a big commitment that you will make, and therefore before starting, make sure you are 100% ready for it.
What Are The Benefits Of Raising Chickens?
Easy Access To Eggs
You do not have to go to the store every time you require eggs because you’ll find them in your backyard. Being full of nutrition, they are fresh and tasty. Usually, the chicken lays four to five eggs a week, so you can even sell them for a good return because home hatched eggs make extra money compared to the market ones.
Chicken poop can be utilized as manure as it contains magnesium, nitrogen, and phosphorous, which are essential for good waste for the garden.
Natural Pest Controllers
Pests such as grasshoppers, slugs, crickets, and snails can be irritating when densely populated, and you can get rid of them without using any insecticides because your chickens will take good care of them.
If you are raising chickens for meat, you opt for healthy consumption because of the natural food you serve the chickens. Unfortunately, most store-bought chickens are treated with steroids to increase their weight which is harmful for human consumption.
Compared to other livestock, chickens are easier to handle because all they need is food and water.
Precautions To Take While You Raise Chickens
Maintain Chicken Health
You might have heard of the bird flu that makes the birds, including the chicken, sick. However, chickens can have other health conditions that will require professional help from a veterinarian. Therefore, make sure you learn about chicken diseases and their preventive measures for healthy livestock.
Chickens can survive for eight to ten years, so this is a long-term investment. Furthermore, egg production can decrease as they age. Hence it would be best if you planned on their care and survival.
Chickens can be furious as they like to bully each other. They can fight and peck each other, leading to severe accidents, and so you need to have a watch, not constantly but at least three times a day.
Chickens can be noisy as they keep pecking day and night. In addition, your neighbors can be worried if your backyard is too close to them, so deciding on a vacant, isolated place is necessary.
Chicken poop can contain the bacterium Salmonella, giving rise to gastrointestinal infections, and therefore wearing proper equipment while handling them is necessary.
What Are The Steps To Consider When Chicken Rearing?
Step 1: Check with your jurisdiction ordinance if chicken raising is allowed. Find out the number of chickens you can have, and if possible, no objection documents from your neighbors. Then, fill out all the required permission forms and clear all the legalities.
Step 2: Your backyard should be big enough to hold the fencing, including feeders, containers, roosting area, and a nest box. The coop should provide you ample space to stand, collect eggs and tilt the manure easily. The hen house should be robust to stand still during rains and storms and protect your chickens against predators.
Step 3: Select the right breed of chicken as there are hundreds of them, and some are specifically for good quality eggs, high-density meat, and plumage.
Here Is A List Of The Eight Best Breeds Of Chicken For Your Backyard
- Brahma- Thrive well in a moist cold climate. Brahmas have a calm personality, and due to their protective coat, they can withstand low temperatures.
- Leghorn- These are the most active chickens that like to run swiftly. They are hardy and very fertile, with a high hatchability rate.
- Orpington- These are docile and do not like movements. They make good mothers with moderate egg-laying capacity.
- Rhode Island White- These are the world’s best chicken, as it is hardy and can withstand marginal conditions. They also have a high egg-laying capacity.
- New Hampshire Red- Known for their color; they are medium-sized and have an excellent hatchability rate. However, their tall stature makes them violent and aggressive.
- Cochin- These pitch-black chickens are good eaters and are an excellent choice for cold climates. They are known for their smooth dispositions.
- Araucana- have been widely known for their ability to lay blue or green-colored eggs.
Step 4: Chickens require a constant supply of water and food, their prices which can vary according to places. You may have to purchase bags and stock yourself up to not run out of chicken food.
Step 5: Constant manuring is required, so even when you go out for vacations, keep a chicken-sitter to check up on your chickens.
Answering Some Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Space Does A Chicken Farm Need?
It widely depends on the breed of chickens you plan to keep. However, on average, at least three square feet of floor space is required per chicken. So depending on the number of chickens, you plan on purchasing, you can determine the area that goes into it.
One thing to keep in mind is to have a bigger space because this can minimize the transmission of diseases and prevent fights for freedom. Also, since hens need a lot of outdoor time, there should be a good place for their movements. In any case, your spacing should have a secure fence to deter intruders.
What Is An Ideal Number For A Beginner?
If you are a beginner, start with a small number of chickens, six to eight, to understand their behavior and development. Chickens are active and productive during the initial two-three years of their lives, so you may have to restock them as they age.
You can buy baby chicks from the supplier and care for them till they reach mid-age. Then, you can rear a few roosters for active reproductive purposes and a constant supply of eggs.
Should I Buy Chicks Or Chickens?
If you purchase fertilized eggs, then you must also monitor them in the incubator. The proper temperature in the incubator is crucial for the eggs to develop and hatch healthy chicks. Ensure you do enough research so that all your eggs hatch correctly.
Buying chicks is financially wise because it is economical. Once you decide on the breed and determine the care requirements, chicks will be easy and fun to raise.
Pullets can be another option if not chicks because these are four to six-month-old chickens. They can lay eggs at this stage, so if you do not want to go through chick-care and want chickens ready to lay, these are a good choice for you.
Your last option is purchasing adults. It is best to buy them if you are looking for a short-term investment because these can be mid-aged, and their productivity can decrease. It’s a good option if you are looking into the meat business.
What are the shelter requirements?
Here is a list of necessities you need to arrange for your chickens.
The coop you build should be spacious so that the chickens can live in peace and harmony. Controls for temperature are also beneficial, so you need to develop the right design that offers the proper ventilation during summers and protection during winters. Also, it needs to be fire-resistant and waterproof. Furthermore, it needs to have good nesting boxes so that your chickens have space to lay eggs. One for every three eggs is usually preferred. Lastly, include different entry and exit points so that your chickens can move freely.
The Bottom Line!
So now that you have a gist of what goes on to raising chickens, decide if you are willing to commit yourself and take your next step in creating the perfect chicken farm. After you have the basics down, the rest will be easy. All it takes is time, research, and some creativity.