Things to Know Before Taking the Plunge with Backyard Chickens

Are you curious about having a backyard chicken flock?

Make your life easy by being prepared for backyard chickens. We weren’t, and having close to a thousand chickens over the years has taught us so much. Share our chicken experience and make things easy from the start.

How to Get Started

Are you allowed backyard chickens in your neighborhood? Check with your municipality or bylaw office. Chickens are noisy, even hens, so someone will eventually notice.

Buy your birds from reputable hatcheries or breeders that vaccinate and manage healthy flocks. Keeping backyard chickens healthy means good diet and well-ventilated, spacious, weather-proof coops.

How to choose the best chickens

Decide what you want from your chicken flock. Eggs? Meat? Companionship? There are fast-growing meat birds for quick yields of plump roasters. Production hens reliably lay an egg a day.

If you want to preserve beauty and have pet chickens, consider heritage breeds. They lay colorful eggs, but less of them. Hens lay eggs with or without a rooster, but a rooster is needed for breeding.

If you plan to sell eggs, make sure it is permitted in your area. Selling fresh eggs requires special attention to make sure eggs are fresh, clean and undamaged.

Chickens make awesome pets. Often bantams are best if you have young children. Having friendly chickens makes caring for them a delight. Once you know what you want, online forums, local feed stores and breeders are great places to narrow it down.

How to Care and House

Having content chickens can mean building more housing than expected. Chickens have a pecking order that influences their care. Mixing young chickens with older birds doesn’t work and roosters can fight. Things are simpler with just hens.

Predators are around and usually attack at night. Research wildlife and predators in your area, and learn how to make the coops predator-proof.

Chickens produce manure. When mixed with bedding it is bulky, so you need a plan for it. Maybe composting or giving to neighbors for the garden.

Now it’s up to you!

I hope this gives you some insight into keeping backyard chickens. With some preparation you will enjoy owning chickens; they are wonderful, productive pets. Poultry friends and chicken forums are great for advice, support and more information.