Guide To Raising Chickens at Home
This article is a basic guide to raising chickens at home. It is not intended to be all-inclusive. To learn more about the details of raising your own chickens, visit our other articles. For now, though, let’s look at some of the more-broader issues associated with this fun and exciting venture.
No guide to raising chickens at home would be complete, even a basic one, without telling you that in some communities this activity is either prohibited or regulated. Before you do anything, check with your local authorities to make sure that you are allowed to raise chickens on your own property.
Once you know it is okay to raise your own chickens, it is time to sit down and do some planning.
One of the most important decisions you have to make at this early stage is how many chickens you plan to raise. This is important because each chicken requires a certain amount of room in the chicken coop. In order to know how big your coop should be, you must first know how many chickens you plan to raise.
A good rule of thumb is that each adult chicken needs at least three square feet of room in the coop. If you plan to raise four chickens, then your coop will be small, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 square feet. If you plan to raise 20 chickens, then the coop must be much larger. You can, of course, construct several smaller coops over time.
As part of your chicken coop planning, consider predators. The coop must provide shelter but it must also provide protection. If you are raising chickens in an urban area, cats and rats may be the predators to guard against. If you are in a rural area, you may have to protect against snakes, foxes, and hawks. In order to know which predators to protect against, you can do some online research for your area or visit your local co-op.
Once you have some ideas on your chicken coop requirements, you can start thinking about the breed of bird you want to raise. Perhaps the better way of saying this is what purpose will the birds have?
If you want to raise chickens for their meat, then consider the more hearty birds that grow fast and carry a lot of weight. The Rhode Island Red may be a good choice for this purpose. If you wish to gather eggs, mostly, then consider Barred Rock chickens. And if you want to raise chickens for show, the Silkie is one of your best options.
But these are only a very few of the options you have when it comes to purpose. Determining the breed of birds you want to raise is up to you.
Regardless of the breed you choose, feeding and watering are critical to the bird’s health. If you want healthy birds you have to feed them quality food and give them plenty of clean, fresh water. The old adage that “chickens will eat anything” is not true, and it is not the best way to raise quality flocks.
When choosing feed for your birds, think first of age and then think of purpose.
Newly hatched birds, just coming out of the shell, should be fed “chick feed” which is readily available at any good feed store. Chick feed is not the same as chicken feed, which is designed for mature birds. The same applies to laying hens. They need extra calcium, so buy them feed that is designed for laying hens.
As mentioned earlier, this is just a basic guide to raising chickens at home. You can learn much more by visiting our article directory.