How to Raise Backyard Chickens
How to Raise Backyard Chickens
Many people only think about chickens as a farm animal, but many cities will actually allow you to raise backyard chickens due to the fact that they do not take up much space and require a minimal amount of upkeep. In fact, urban farming is becoming very popular due to the fact that chickens can provide you with fresh unprocessed eggs on a regular basis as well as plenty of natural fertilizer for your yard. With these perks in mind it may be time to take a look at how to raise backyard chickens.
Before you start to raise backyard chickens you need to talk to the Health Department and find out if chickens are allowed in your city. There are different rules in each city and it is better to find out before you invest any money if it is permissible. After you receive your permit to raise your backyard chickens, as a courtesy you should let your neighbors know that you will be raising chickens. This will also be for the good of your chickens so they are aware that the clucking and loud noises coming from your backyard are allowed.
The next thing you will need to do is purchase a chicken coop since your chickens will need to be kept in a confined space otherwise they will leave the yard. Chicken like to wander and can easily end up in the front yard if you are not careful. You will also need to build a fenced area outside of the coop for your chickens to relieve themselves in. Keeping them in the area will also help you gather the remains so that you can use it for fertilizer.
If you have a tool shed you can remodel it for chicken use which is a common way to build a chicken coop without spending too much money. Keep in mind that you will also need to pick up some food containers, water containers, and feed before bringing your chickens home so setting a budget for the entire venture is a good idea. Throughout the winter you will need to make sure that your chickens have fresh water to drink so if you live in a cold climate you may decide to use a heater dog water dish.
Chickens grow quickly so you will need to have your coop and supplies ready before you bring them home. Keep in mind that within the city limits roosters are not usually allowed because they crow throughout the day thus you need to make sure that you only purchase females. Although many people think that hens will not produce eggs without a rooster around, in fact your hens will continue to lay eggs either way. The only difference is that they will not be fertilized if not consume so you cannot expect to have baby chickens unless you have a rooster.
Chicks are very susceptible to the cold so either you want to make sure that your coop is very sealed before purchasing them or wait until summer time to get chicks. If you do this by winter they will be fully grown and it will no longer be a problem. If you choose not to wait however you can purchase a heat lamp or use a red bulb that gives off heat within the coop to keep the chickens warm.
When it comes to feeding your chicks you will need to buy special baby chick food for the first four months. After this time period you can feed them layer feed but for the time being you will need to get special food. While they are young you will also need to buy grit which looks a lot like small rocks. Grit is necessary for the chicks to properly digest their food.
Chickens will eat almost everything so be careful about what is left around their cage although it is fine for them to eat bugs and greens outside. Keep in mind that you should collect your eggs on a daily basis because during the winter they can explode when they freeze. Outside of these tips the only thing you need to worry about is enjoying raising backyard chickens which can be a lot of fun if you enjoy yourself and take pride in your urban farming.
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