Chicken Farmer - Now They Are Everywhere
My New Chicks
There have been a growing number of people joining the ranks of backyard chicken farmers. Though exact numbers are not available because chickens do not need to be registered there are a number of indicators in the growing popularity of urban chicken farming. According to the Chicagoans cry fowl over proposed backyard chicken ban article in the December 12, 2007 edition of CBC News “Backyard Poultry magazine was relaunched a couple of years ago after halting publication in the 1980s.” A sure sign of people’s growing interest. A more obvious sign of the increase in chicken farmers is that Omlet, a British company that sells a dome-shaped chicken house, has seen its sales in the U.S. double every year since the house was first introduced here in 2005. Channon Mondoux pointed out in her August 8, 2010 article in Michigan Live More homeowners are flocking to raise backyard chickens; topic will be focus of Eat Local, Kalamazoo event that the recent changes in community bylaws and increases in legislation allowing poultry within city limits are also an indicator of the popularity of chicken farming. In light of all that fervor and wishing to know where my food comes from (not to mention having better tasting eggs) I have joined the ranks of backyard chicken farmers.
Acquiring Your Chicken
If you are interested in acquiring your own chickens you have a number of options.
- Your local farm supply store should have a small supply of chicks in the spring.
- The BackYard Chicken site has a list of chickens and chicks for sale by members.
- Hatching eggs and incubators can be purchased on Ebay.
- Craigslist includes listing of local chicks, chickens and hatching eggs for sale.
- The My Pet Chicken site sells chicks, juvenile chickens and hatching eggs and they don’t require a 25 order minimum.
If you do purchase your chicks online be aware that smaller quantities are usually not available because smaller numbers of chicks would not provide each other the warmth necessary to survive the trip. Even without the issue of warmth being shipped is hard on the tiny chicks.
For that reason and because I only wished to acquire a few chickens I searched my local Craigslist for the breed I wished to purchase.
My daughter holding a baby chick
What breed of Chicken?
Which brings us to an important point: which breed will be right for you and your family? My Pet Chicken and BackYard Chicken both provide a breed selector tool, which can be a good jumping off place. (While on the BackYard Chicken site you should also check out the section on local chicken laws and ordinances.) However, you should read more detailed information about a breed before you finally decide.
Naturally, before your chicks arrive you will want to read up about their care and handling. My Pet Chicken offers an entire e-book on chicken care. But if you would rather read smaller segments the Urban Chickens has several articles on habitat, food, illness and wing clipping as well as a blog by a fellow chicken farmer. Or for a first person account A Flock of your own features a detailed guide from the moment the chicks arrive in the mail. Also, the BackYard Chicken has a beginner’s guide, a learning center and a forum filled with answers provided by fellow chicken farmers.
In all likelihood you will hear more from me about my experiences as a chicken farmer in the coming months so I hope you found this interesting. Oh, and if you were curious I purchased and now own three Easter Egger chicks.