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Are Backyard Chickens Right For You?

Updated on February 6, 2010

There is a movement happening all across the United States bringing people back to the land. More and more people are starting gardens and more and more people are raising their own chickens. Yep, you read that right. This isn't the 1800's anymore but people all over are becoming chicken owners. Contrary to what most people think it doesn't even take much space. Even if you live in a suburban neighborhood or the city, chickens could work for you.

My husband and I have been researching chickens and coops for some time now and are in the midst of deciding whether it is the right thing for us. More and more it looks as if it is and we are trying to design a coop at the moment. But how did we come to this conclusion? What things do you need to look at to determine if chickens are right for you?

There are many coop designs that will house three or four chickens. These are small coops and many are moveable so that the chickens can forage all over your yard. They are also completely enclosed with wire mesh to keep your chickens safe. These types of coops are perfect for backyard chicken owners. But you need to make sure that your city or neighborhood will allow chickens. Most places don't have a law for or against them which is ideal in my opinion. Roosters are noisy and could be a problem, but you don't need a rooster to get eggs and most backyard chicken owners don't have roosters.

Owning laying hens is a commitment - a daily commitment. If you travel a lot chickens might not be the best option for you. They require care once or twice a day at minimum. If you are very serious about your chickens then you can automate things to some extent (I have a friend that has everything automated and they can leave for a week at a time). But for just a few chickens, it isn't that much work. The care you need to provide doesn't take that much time from what I have read. They need food and water - which in the winter can be difficult to keep from freezing. But as with anything there are solutions to this problem.

Chickens will naturally forage much of their own food, so you need to move their coop around or let them out each day for a few hours. Foraging for their own food is better for them and it makes better eggs, so as much as possible you want them to be able to forage. From what I have read and experienced here in Ohio winter can be tough. There aren't bugs around and the ground is covered in snow. Your chickens will need more food from you. That being said, with proper care chickens will survive just fine in the winter.

If you like having fresh eggs and are willing to make the daily commitment chickens could be right for you. Eating eggs right from your backyard is about as local as it gets and if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint then owning chickens would help with that. If you garden, chickens are a natural process that could provide all the fertilizer and bug control you need to grow amazing vegetables, fruits and flowers.

From what we can tell, owning chickens can be a very rewarding experience. There are so many breeds to choose from and chickens can be quite friendly. I think the responsibility will be good for the kids and the fresh eggs are very appealing. The health benefits of free range eggs are tremendous, compared to regular eggs from the grocery store. I know that eggs are cheap in the store, but the way those chickens were raised to produce that egg is not good. It isn't right for animals to be treated that way and by not having to buy eggs from the supermarket anymore is a huge plus for me. If you are interested in raising chickens there are many online sites to help you get started. In fact there is so much information it can be overwhelming. But we are finding that it is worth it to figure it out and try our hand at raising our own chickens.


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    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      I've always wanted to live out in the country and have only 3 or 4 chickens. I grew up feeding them as a child.

    • bmtphoenix profile image


      8 years ago from Austin, TX

      I would keep a chicken in my apartment just to annoy the wife if I could, but I'd get evicted. It's actually in the lease. Come to think of it, when I owned a home in a fairly small, country environment, it was against the home owners association bylaws. Something to check on before you invest.

    • heart4theword profile image


      8 years ago from hub

      Have heard there are more and more people getting into having their own chickens! They are fun to watch too:) Nice Hub!

    • lctodd1947 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Jennifer, you might need to watch the hawks so they do not fly down and get your chickens...we have them around here. I am on the edge of town. I remember my grandmother having chickens and eggs and killing the chickens for eating??? I don't know if I could go the latter route.

      Great articles

    • FGual profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      This is a great hub. Recently, someone I know online uploaded a photo album of her trip to China. Among other things, she commented that most chinese keep a chicken in their apartment. It give them eggs, and eventually they will dine on the chicken. They will buy, sell, and trade eggs, which helps everyone. On an opposite tack, a few days ago I was watching Dirty Jobs on cable. On this show, Mike Rowe was tagging along with Miami animal police, rounding up the wild chickens running around some neighborhoods, and squashing their eggs whenever they were found. This seems to me a waste of money. In this time of budget cutbacks, it struck me as silly. The chickens can run wild, they don't bother me. How about letting the homeless keep them.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      I have 50 chickens now again and I can honestly say that they are a lot of fun. I'm getting anywhere from 40 - 47 eggs per day. I'm supplying my whole family with eggs and am selling enough that it almost cover the cost of their feed. The first place my Granddaughters run to is the chicken and duck pen every time they come for a visit. They are 9 and almost 5 and they are able to do the day-to-day chores like feeding, watering and collecting the eggs.

      They also enjoyed to see them grow up from small little fluff balls to grown chicky-ladies (what they call them)

      Great hub Jennifer and good luck with your new endeavor

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice idea, but since I live in the city I cannot raise chickens. Maybe one day when I move to the country. Thanks.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Hi Jennifer! My family and I used to have our own chicken coop and we loved the fact that we didn't have to buy eggs! Too bad that my entire back yard now is the size of the average chicken coop! Great hub, regardless! What I wouldn't do for a farm fresh egg!

    • Cedar Cove Farm profile image

      Cedar Cove Farm 

      8 years ago from Southern Missouri

      Have you read my hub on the chicken tractor? If not, you might consider it. They get fresh ground every day that way. More if you move it more often. Thanks for your hub, keep it up.

    • mod2vint profile image


      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I have 4 in my backyard. There cool ass heck to watch and they drive the dog crazy!

    • 2patricias profile image


      8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Chickens are increasingly popular in England too. However, where we live, foxes are a major hazard.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      You know you're a redneck if...

      you have front yard chickens. ;)

    • entertianmentplus profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Great post.


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