Raising Chickens for Dummies - First Time Chicken Owner Tips

Tips on Raising Backyard Chickens

So suddenly you have found yourself interested in raising chickens. Or maybe this is something that you have been dreaming about for a long time now. In either case, it is extremely important to make sure that you are reading everything you can and learning everything there is to possibly know about raising chickens before you even attempt to begin. There are investment costs to consider along with a lot of hard work and sweat.

Once you do get past the start up costs and all of the learning that you have to undergo, you will be happy to know that full grown chicken are low maintenance. Not only are they easy to take care of but they also offer many benefits to the person raising them. Whether you are in the city or in the country you can have your own little set up of backyard chickens. Chickens are no longer just for the farms.

While the first and only thing that normally comes to mind for people is that their chickens are going to be able to provide the owners with eggs, there are more benefits to having chickens around. Besides making fantastic pets, chickens are excellent with bug control around the yard. Before stepping that big leap and ordering your chickens, there are things to consider and items to purchase.

The first thing you want to do is to make sure that you have enough space for your chicken coop. If you don't, this may be the time to re-arrange your yard to give you the space needed. A coop must have at least two square feet for every chicken you will have in it. It is important to make sure that the coop you purchase will keep the chickens dry, safe from their natural predators, and free from drafts. While you could always make chicken houses yourself, it is much easier and safer to go with one made by experience people or companies.

Although it was mentioned that chickens need little care, there is some time that is involved. You have to make sure that you are always available to look the chickens back into their chicken houses at night and to let them out again in the morning hours. Fresh clean water is also needed on a daily basis along with proper feedings. Speaking of feedings it is important to make sure that the chickens are getting a well balanced diet of whole grains. This includes living grains, kernelled corn, whole grains, pure corn, or a mixture of everything. On top of what you give the chickens they will eat a wide variety of bugs and worms to complete their diet.

If it is time to purchase your first incubator you are going to want to make sure that you are putting extra caution into this. Someone inexperienced could very well end up with something that is not going to do the job right. This is not an area where you want to go too cheap just to save a few bucks. Putting the money here to make sure that the incubators are of high quality is well worth it.

Pay attention to the various incubators out there. The two types are that of the forced-air and the still-air. The still-air incubators do not have a fan and require much more of your attention. They will also hatch a much smaller amount of eggs. If you want a larger number of eggs to hatch then the force-air incubators are the right choice for you. Of course, there is nothing better then a setting hen to do the job. But since setting all the time can take its toll on a hen you may experience problems with that route.

Fertile eggs will require a lot of your attention so make sure that you are doing everything you can to make sure that they have the best shot possible. You have to make sure that you are also turning those eggs daily. The best way to keep track is to mark one end of the egg with an X and the other end with an O

Many people love the idea of simply having free range chickens instead of keeping their chickens locked up in chicken houses. While this is probably the best way for the chickens to live and they certainly enjoy it, you must know that your land situation may not be the best for it. If you live close to a road that is full of traffic then free range chickens are not the way to go. Also, there are many township or city laws that prohibit free range chickens because of the problems it may cause for the neighbors. Before going any further make sure that you are checking your town laws to make sure that you are staying on the right side of the law.

When it comes down to it there is a lot to consider and get prepared for before you bring chickens into your backyard. Once they are there and everything is in place you should have no problems maintaining everything. It will all be worth it in the end when you see all of the eggs you end up with. There will be plenty for your family and for the neighbors as well. And maybe after a while you may decide to start using some of your chickens that you raise as food, in terms of the meat that they provide for humans.

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Comments 30 comments

moonlake profile image

moonlake 7 years ago from America

Your chickens look so healthy. Nice coop. Free range chickens are not always the best idea. You let them free range during the day but at night they better be in a coop and locked up or some animal will get them. Owls, fishers, coyotas, dogs, cats, eagles just about anything we lost our duck that way never did figure out what killed him.

We love fresh eggs. I'm talking real hard to get chickens but it gets so cold here that it's hard to keep them.

Nice hub.

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

good tips

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

I love em!! the clucking and singing they do when they lay eggs....I can't kill them and eat them...sorry. Course, I make a pet out of everything breathing. LOL =))

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 7 years ago from North Central Florida Author

I know what you mean, I have a very hard time when my husband wants meat :-( but the eggs are awesome.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Loved the tips,. had to read them again, the turning eggs tip is great!!  also, wear gloves so the chickens don't peck u - tho' most won't once they get used to you.  =))  still, just takes one peck to hurt.

Beautiful chicks!!

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 7 years ago from North Central Florida Author

have more hatching in a few days will upload pic's when they do. I am having so much fun raising my chickens :-)

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

What age can I put chicks in a tractor without the heat lamp.

Suzie 7 years ago

Chicks need a heat lamp for at least the first 3 weeks of their lives after that they can be moved into the cage with small chickens not older ones, as the older ones will pick at them.

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

Wow someone actually answered.Great to know does anyone know if rhode island reds can bbe kept with silkies.

suzie 7 years ago

they can be kept with silkies but you are going to have a weird looking bird if those two mate and start having babies.

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

Sorry for asking so many questions,but how many cubic feet per chicken.

nicko guzman profile image

nicko guzman 7 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

And also,I saw a little bantam chick that was silvery grey,clean legged,and had 4 toes,any clue what it was.

Su 7 years ago

If the chics remain with their mother, then the mother will surely protect them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

I started off with four chics as pets last year, last count there were 60 of these creatures in the garden.

They are wreaking havoc with my vegetables and have learnt that the food is kept in the kitchen and have invented brilliant ways of getting in there. So I need to do a major course in chicken rearing.

Was thinking of a large pen and then moveable cages, which will be rotated. Can anyone recommend a book on this subject - preferably something like "chicken rearing for dummies".

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 7 years ago from North Central Florida Author

Hi Su,

With 60 chickens i think you will have to have a few large pens built. I have chicken coops that house 15 hens at the most and there all on wheels that you can move them around. I also have in my store books on raising chickens and some pretty cool artwork too on chickens. checkout my website chickenhousesplus.com for homemade chicken coops and books.

Healey 7 years ago

What a pretty flock you have! Thank you for the information about incubators, excellent Hub. I'm new to keeping chickens so every tip is helpful.

Jenben2k 7 years ago

We have a small chicken house and pen with 4 chickens. Our set up isn't moveable. I was worried about the ground they are always on becoming contaminated. Is there something I should be spraying on it? Or should I be putting down something like straw? Or is it ok the way it is?

chickenhousesplus 7 years ago

It would be a good idea to put shavings or straw in the coop and clean out at least every few weeks, then you can start a compotes pile and add the straw that you get from the coop. You will have healthy chickens and eggs and a awesome garden in the spring when you use the home made fertilizer that you get from the chicken poop :-) Keep you chickens dry as they are prone to breathing problems if you don't.

USAPoolToy profile image

USAPoolToy 6 years ago from Florida

Great article!

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 6 years ago from North Central Florida Author

Thanks are you planning on raising chickens too? They are a lot of fun and the eggs are so yummy :-)

chickenjean 5 years ago

i am new chicken person. i have 7

daisy davis 4 years ago

i cant find what i need to know if anyone can help me i need to know when to take a heat lamp off my chickens and ducks and game hens? if you know and can help me please contact me at daisymaydavis1985@gmail.com please i dont wont my chicks to get to hot its getting warm weather here its 80 threw the day but in the 50s at night.

darlene 4 years ago

Do you really need a rooster in order to get eggs

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 4 years ago from North Central Florida Author

no you do not need a rooster, only do you need a rooster if you want fertile eggs to hatch.

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 4 years ago from North Central Florida Author

take the heat lamp off at about 2 weeks old, as long as you have a dry place for them. if at night the temps down i always but the heat back on them.

darlene 4 years ago

Thank you so much for answering my question Now can you tell me how old a chicken have to be before she lays an egg

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 4 years ago from North Central Florida Author

hens start laying about 5-6 months of age.

darlene 4 years ago

Ok cool thank you so much for answering my question

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 4 years ago from North Central Florida Author

you welcome

Kristi Stephens 4 years ago

I was wondering when should I start leaving a heat lamp on for my chickens, we got up to it being 46 degrees out this morning. Thank you

ChickenHouses profile image

ChickenHouses 3 years ago from North Central Florida Author

how old are your chickens? They need heat until they are totally feathered

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