A Beginner's Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens: Everything to Know

A floock of chickens on a backyard. Chickens are like potato chips. You can't just have one! There has been an explosion of urban hens in neighborhoods. The word is out: hens make excellent yard friends. Chickens are very simple to take care of, and it turns out that raising them is surprisingly enjoyable. There are many benefits to urban chicken rearing. Of course, the most important is access to fresh, healthy eggs. If you live in the suburbs and want to establish your own backyard chicken colony, you'll appreciate our easy-to-follow guide to raising backyard chickens. We'll go through planning, the pleasures of chicken rearing, and typical blunders to avoid. When you're finally ready to start raising your chickens, purchase nutritious, essential oil-enriched animal food from New Heritage Feed Co. The secret to raising backyard chickens is to keep them well-fed with animal food made especially for them.

Raising Backyard Chickens

A chicken foraging in a backyard. There are a few noticeable distinctions between rearing hens in the city and the country. To begin, urban chicken owners must consider loudness, position, appearances, and smell. Chickens are noisy by nature and, particularly, roosters are noisier! It may be difficult to place a chicken coop. An urban chicken coop is usually placed hidden from the neighbors. Even so, it should be as pleasing to the eye as possible. A chicken coop may also begin to smell like a farmyard if it is not properly kept and cleaned regularly. And before rushing off and buying your chickens, there is a little thing called rules and regulations. First, check with your home owner's association or municipality for legal limitations and rules.

Size and Location of Your Chicken Coop

A boy and a dog looking into a backyard chicken coop Plan the chicken coop site and size well in advance. It's best to start with a small coop and a few chickens until you get used to it. Then slowly does it by increasing the number of chickens one by one. If you have the room, build your coop slightly larger than what you initially planned. In that way, at a later stage, when you do decide to expand your clucking flock, you already have space. Your coop should come before the chickens. You don't want to end up with all your chickens sharing your home with you.

Aesthetics of Your Chickens' Home

Chicken coops for urban backyards come in many chicken coop designs. A decent chicken coop must be sufficiently big to house your colony. Additionally, it should be predator-proof. Yes, predators exist in cities, including cats, owls, hawks, and, yes, humans. There are probably a thousand different methods to build an excellent chicken coop for raising backyard chickens. Remember that the coop is your hens' "safe spot." Apart from safety, it should also offer protection from the weather. An attractive coop complements many urban chicken owners' homes but, they may be more costly than purely practical ones. Well-built coops may endure for decades. That is a long time to gaze at an ugly-built coop? So pretty is good! You can buy a variety of chicken coops and kits online. Alternatively, you can look for a local handyperson who can build the right coop to your specifications.

Chicken Coop Dimensions

The general rule is two square feet of flooring space per chicken in the hen house. However, size will vary depending on the breed and how long the chickens have to spend in the coop each day. Ideally, a fenced-in area outside the hen house should be at least eight square feet per chicken. You may go smaller with fencing for chickens if your birds mainly free-range in your backyard. Nesting boxes are somewhat easier. Hens share nesting boxes, so ideally, you will need one nesting box per three chickens.

Breeds of Chickens to Choose

A flock of backyard chickens comprised of many chicken breeds. Because there are about 500 chicken breeds worldwide, not every chicken will meet the requirements and fit your family's needs. To have a decent sense of the kind of chicken breed you want, hold a hen huddle with your family and ask the following questions:
  • Why is the purpose of keeping chickens?
  • What climate do you experience?
  • What are the implications of noise for the neighborhood?
  • Do you have space for a coop and run?
  • Do I want to let my hens free-range in my neighborhood?
The likelihood is that your family will be content with any of the popular egg-laying chicken breeds. Research is key. Bear in mind that behavior and laying capability vary across breeds and within breeds.

Maintaining and Keeping Your Chickens Happy

Chickens drinking water from a trough in a chicken coop. Once your flock is set, just like with any other animal, you must check on them and ensure their happiness. Here are some suggestions for chicken coop maintenance:
  • Food for chicken and water at all times
  • Grit or small stones helps the digestive process
  • For laying hens, either oyster shells or a calcium-based food
  • A shady area
  • Sandy area for the dust bath area
  • Climbing branches, swings, and other boredom-busting gadgets
Once you've covered the essentials, the rest is just a matter of keeping their coop clean and tidy. Now sit back and enjoy their watching your flock.

When Will My Chickens Lay Eggs?

A hen will not begin producing eggs until she is about five months old. That may feel like an eternity if you begin with young chickies!

How Often Will My Chickens Lay Eggs?

An elderly person holding a handful of chicken eggs. Egg yield varies dramatically from hen to hen. Typically, the hen will lay two to six eggs each week. It can also vary depending on the time of the year and breed. Hens typically cease laying during the cold months. That is when they try to hatch eggs and also molt. The optimal egg-laying age ranges from about eight months to approximately two years.

Don't Let Them Cross the Road, Coop Up!

Backyard chickens sitting on a fence near their chicken coops. Chickens are one of the most manageable pets available. They can live happily outdoors all year long, and they don't need any particular exercise or attention as long as they have enough room to roam about freely. A safe coop with a few well-placed tricks is all a chicken flock needs. If you are raising backyard chickens, you only need to check on them once or twice a week for chicken food and water. However, don't forget to collect your eggs every day! Most of all, have fun raising backyard chickens! Contact us at New Heritage Feed Co. when you're ready to purchase animal food for your brand new flock. We will help you develop more productive, healthier, and happy chickens.

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