How To Raise Chickens : The Basics
With just a little bit of research and planning, virtually anyone can learnhow to raise chickens at home. As is true with everything in life, there are some issues you will need to address before you can enjoy this wonderful endeavor. Let’s take a look at some of those issues now.
Before you purchase your chicks and supplies make sure your area allows homeowners to raise chickens. Some communities have restrictions on this, and it is best to know in advance what the rules are for your area, and if you are within them.
Another issue that must be addressed before you buy your first set of chicks is where to keep them. If you plan to purchase chicks, you will need to have a safe place for them to live. You can build your own chicken coop or get plans for coops online or at your library. In addition to the coop, you may need (depending on the age of the chicks) heat lamps, watering systems, and feed stations.
For older birds, you will still need a coop, along with watering systems, but you will not need the incubators just yet. If you plan to raise future chickens from the eggs that are laid, incubators and chick supplies will be needed when you are ready to start doing that.
When choosing your chicken coop or hen house, remember that adult chickens need about three square feet per bird. This is important as overcrowding can lead to many problems, including death to the birds. Also, make sure that your chicken coop has one long chicken roost, at a minimum, for the chickens to rest and sleep on.
The feed that you give to your birds often depends on their age, their purpose, and whether or not you want to buy commercial feed. Commercial feed is a very good option for those new to raising chickens as it contains all of the nutrients the birds need. Do keep in mind that there is a difference between chick feed and adult chicken feed. The package will inform you as to the age and purpose of the chicken that it was formulated for, and you simply match the feed with your needs.
When you plan your chicken coop make sure you have enough feeding stations for the number of birds you plan to raise. This will help keep the birds calm and prevent fighting. It will also help the younger birds to get the food they need without the older birds pushing them out of the way.
You will also need to consider the watering system for your coop. Water is vital for healthy birds. Small, inexpensive watering systems are available online and off, and they are perhaps the best way to get started when you are learning how to raise chickens. Each system will tell you how many birds it can handle at one time, so simply match the number of systems you need with the number of birds you plan to raise.
It really does not matter if you plan to raise your birds in the city or in the country, every area will have predators. From cats to rats, you will need to protect your flock from these hungry and deadly critters. For most people, a wire fence around the perimeter of the coop is the most basic level of protection. But you will also need to ensure that doors, vents, and coop floors are sealed well enough to keep predators out.
This is a very basic guide on how to raise chickens. To learn more, visit our other articles where you can find more in-depth information on a variety of topics on how to raise chickens at home.