Is keeping chickens for you?
If you are thinking about keeping a few chickens in your backyard for a regular supply of fresh free range eggs?
Here are a few things you might want to take into consideration before you take the plunge and bring home a couple of cute, fluffy chicks.
Is keeping chickens for you?
1. Chickens make great pets, are low maintenance and inexpensive to keep. Chickens develop their own individual, enchanting character and can become very tame, allowing you and the kids to pick them up and give them a cuddle.
2. Chickens are low maintenance – all you have to do on a daily basis, is to insure that their food and water containers are replenished. Once they lay eggs – you will of course want to collect the eggs daily as well.
3. Chickens can eat almost anything including (fresh) leftovers.
4. Chickens will keep your garden in great shape, keeping the grass and weeds down, thrive on insects and leave your lawn wonderfully fertilized.
5. If you like your eggs organic – all you’ll have to do is to provide organic feed. Organic feed, fresh grass and insects will ensure your eggs will contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and high levels of vitamin A & E, lower levels of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and Omega 6.
If you’re still keen, now you’ll need to start considering how to house them.
Chickens need to be protected from potential predators and depending on where you live, the environment. Depending on how many birds you may want to keep and the size of your back yard, you need to decide if you want a portable chicken coop also called a chicken ark or you want to go for a larger and more stationary chicken coop.
A chicken ark is relatively small and can keep up to 4-5 birds comfortably; it can be moved around the yard effectively allowing you to free range your birds. This is a great option if you want to keep a few chickens as pets. As chicken arks are open based – the chicken droppings are left behind to fertilize the lawn when you move the coop to its next location. This leaves you to perform the more pleasant forms of husbandry. The chickens will also effectively ‘mow the lawn’ for you in between moves.
A chicken coop is generally a larger coop which can house a larger number of birds; it is sturdier and is often located a bit away from the house to insulate against any odors and noise. Larger coops are naturally more expensive, but can be built to suit almost any need and is an excellent option if you want more hens for laying or meat production.
Now you’ll need to decide if you want to build your own ark or coop or if you want to buy a premade coop or ark.
The downside of buying a chicken house is definitely the cost involved - and the fact that they need to be assembled anyway!!! The cost of a prefabricated chicken coop is often double the cost of building your own coop. And that isn’t taking into consideration that you might be able to find used materials which will cost you next to nothing and can safely be used to construct your own chicken coop at very little cost.