ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Backyard Chickens From "Scratch" | How to Set Up a Brooder Box and Raise Chicks

Updated on January 12, 2016
Photo by The Micro Farm Project
Photo by The Micro Farm Project | Source

Keeping Happy Hens in the City

Chickens are so easy to keep, and they provide plenty of benefits to their lucky owners, among them the following:

  • Fresh eggs
  • Meat
  • Fertilizer
  • Bug and Weed Control
  • Digging (Soil Aeration)
  • Companionship (They are GREAT Pets.)
  • Entertainment!

Think you might want to keep a brood of hens in your backyard? Welcome to a growing club of people with an interest in raising chickens, right in the middle of the city.

This article will walk you through the steps to successfully keeping chickens at home, from the preparation phase to raising healthy chicks in a brooder until they transition into the coop.

For information about keeping point-of-lay or mature laying hens visit the link below:

Keeping Chickens in the City

Chickens are great pets if you have the time, space and resources to care for them.
Chickens are great pets if you have the time, space and resources to care for them.

Chicken Keeping: Is It For Me?

Before bringing a brood of chickens home, ask yourself the following questions.

Legal concerns:

Are chickens allowed in your town and what are the rules? Call your city or Google your cities zoning laws concerning small livestock.

Do you have an HOA and does it allow chickens?

Personal concerns:

Do you have time to devote to chickens?

Can you provide a safe, healthy environment?

Will you be able to treat them when they are sick, or cull them, if necessary?

Do you have finances for startup and upkeep?

If you can answer "yes" to all of these questions, chicken keeping may be right for you.

One final concern is the opinion of your neighbors. They are effected by the smell, flies and noise, which are minimal, but still disturbing to some folks. Get and keep your neighbors on board by doing the following:

Communicate your plans and keep neighbors updated on your progress.

Offer fresh eggs.

Invite neighbor kids to interact with the chickens.

Keep the coop clean and fresh smelling.

Take measures to deter flies.

Take measures to contain a noisy rooster during early morning hours.

Keep chickens secure so that they don’t escape and scalp the neighbor’s prize roses!

Chickens that are handled when they are young can make friendly pets.
Chickens that are handled when they are young can make friendly pets.

Chicken Keeping Options

Once you have decided to get some chickens, there are several options ahead of you.

Poults, Chicks or "Point-of-Lay" Hens?

Hatch-ling chickens are called poults or pullets. Young chicks are so fluffy and cute! It can be very rewarding to watch them grow. Chickens that are handled by their owners from the time that they are young are easier to handle when they are grown, and are not as skittish as other hens. Also, if you raise your own chicks, you are not introducing grown hens to a new environment and unfamiliar flock mates, thus avoiding stress and pecking order issues. By raising your own, you can be certain that the eggs or meat are organic, if that is important to you. You can also be sure of their age.

However, if you only want laying hens and not roosters, some breeds cannot be sexed with 100% certainty when they are babies. Others can be sexed with 95% accuracy, which leaves a small chance of getting rooster when you only want hens. A few, notably sex-linked hybrid breeds, can be sexed accurately from birth.

Finally, chicks are fragile and you can expect some loss for unidentifiable reasons. You may want to purchase a few extras to cover for possible fatalities. When ordering through the mail, the hatchery may or may not replace chicks that have died. Verify their policy on this beforehand, and do not tell children how many chicks you have ordered, if you think that losing one will be traumatic for them. If you are willing to take the risk, raising babies is fun!

On the other hand, adult or "point-of-lay" hens require no brooder, nor the attention that chicks demand. You can be certain of their sex, as well. Additionally, if you want eggs right away, keep in mind that chickens do not lay until 5-7 months of age. By purchasing chickens during this 5-7 week window, you do not have to go through the trouble and expense of raising chicks, but they are still young enough to obtain all the benefits of their prime egg-laying months, which occur within their first year of life.

If you choose to start with "point-of-lay or adult hens, visit the following links for pertinent information:

Keeping Chickens in the City

Keeping Chickens Healthy and Happy

Laying Hens or Broilers (Meat Chickens?)

Do you want to keep hens primarily for eggs, or for meat, too? If you will raise broilers, will you be able to process (slaughter) the chickens yourself, or will you pay someone to process them? Who provides this service and how much does it cost in your area?

Several breeds are suitable both for laying eggs and for meat. These dual purpose hens are industrious egg layers, and when their laying decreases after about one year, they are large enough to eat. However, many owners become attached to their laying hens, and prefer to keep a separate flock of broilers that are slaughtered at about 2 months of age. It is not advisable to keep laying hens and broilers together due to feed differences, the possibility of disease transmission and disruptions to the pecking order that can reduce layer production.

Free Range, Organic, or Traditional?

Free range chickens wander freely and generally eat a combination of feed, bugs, worms and vegetation. Organic chickens eat only organic feed and organically grown plants. They are not vaccinated (for Marek's or Coccidiosis.) Traditional chickens stay in a coop with a run, and eat traditional feed and "treats." Our hens live in a coop with an attached run. They are allowed to wander "free range" in our yard and garden only when we are around to supervise so that they don't scalp my plants. Their favorite spot appears to be in the strawberry patch or in the tomatoes and peppers, which means we share a lot of the harvest with them.. We let them out in the afternoon, and they naturally wander back to the coop at dusk.

Silkies
Silkies

Choose Your Breeds

Fancy or Production Hens?

If your number one concern is to get lots of eggs, choose breeds such as Rhode Island Reds or White Leghorns. Hybrid breeds, such as red, Black, Brown Star sex links, are also known for their high egg production. These breeds can lay upwards to 300 eggs per year.

Some breeds, such as Araucauna or Americauna, lay beautiful green or blue eggs (that is why they call them Easter Eggers.) These breeds only lay about 3 eggs per week, but their unique egg colors make them very popular.

Breeds such as Cuckoo Marans, Barred Rocks, Australorp and Buff Orpingtons are generally docile and good brown egg layers. They are heavy, dual-purpose breeds.

Then there are the unusual breeds, such as Silkies (including tiny bantam Silkies,) Naked-Necks, and Polish hens. These breeds are lots of fun! They have their benefits and drawbacks, so do your research.

Visit the My Pet Chicken website for breed information reed selection tool:

Chicken Breeds

Breed Selection Tool

Need more information to help you decide if chicken keeping is for you? - Here are some good resources for additional research.

Amazon offers FREE Super Saver shipping when you purchase $25 worth of eligible items. I have found that I can often buy items cheaper than retail on Amazon, and plus get the shipping for free!

Search online for local chicken resources.
Search online for local chicken resources.

Where to Buy Chickens

Chicks are generally available in the spring from your local feed stores. Call around to find out who is selling them and what breeds they have to offer. Chicks can also be purchased from online hatcheries. Use the internet to search for hatcheries. CackleHatchery.com and McMurrayHatchery.com are two popular hatcheries.

Some feed stores that sell chicks also offer hens of various ages. One local store from which I have purchased poultry keeps track of their hens' hatch dates so that the customer knows exactly how old they are. However, most feed stores only estimate the ages of their poultry.

Search online at CraigsList.org or local small livestock enthusiast groups for other sources of chickens.

A plastic storage tub can make a healthy and comfortable brooder.
A plastic storage tub can make a healthy and comfortable brooder.

Starting from Chicks

Raising baby chicks is a blast. They are very easy, once you have the right equipment and a little bit of information.

If you purchase your chicks through the mail, you will most likely be mailed 1 day old chicks. Newly hatched poultry have a 3 day supply of yolk left in their system which provides them with nutrition and great immunity for the first 3 days of life. Most likely, the post office will call you when your chicks arrive so that you can pick them up ASAP. When you get them home, give them water right away.

Whether you will order your chicks through the mail or purchase them locally, gather your supplies and make a brooder (chick nursery) for them so that it is ready when they arrive.. A brooder can consist of any container that is large enough to hold the chicks and shelter them from drafts. Large cardboard boxes, dog kennels, or even plastic storage tubs are suitable. Additionally, you will need the items listed below.

Heat

Baby chicks do not regulate their body temperature very well. Provide a heat lamp to keep them warm. A lamp with a red bulb is recommended, as it is more soothing to the chicks then a bright, white bulb. Leave the bulb on day and night. Keep the brooder at 95 degrees the first week, 90 degrees the second, 85 degrees for the third, and so forth until the temperature reaches 70 degrees or the chicks have lost their down and are fully feathered (about 5 weeks.) Temperature is decreased by increasing the distance between the lamp and the brooder.

There is no need to put a thermometer in your brooder. Place the bulb at one end of the brooder. If chicks are too cold, they will huddle together under the lamp. If they are too warm, they will migrate away from the bulb to the cooler end of the brooder. You can raise or lower the lamp accordingly to increase or decrease the warmth that the chicks receive.

Water

Provide chicks with fresh, clean, cool water daily. Buy a watering jar or other watering device that won't allow the chicks to step into it. This will prevent chicks from getting soaked, and help to keep the water free of fecal matter. Elevate the waterer a little bit to prevent wood chips from clogging it. You may need to dip your chicks' beaks into the water once to show them where it is. Be sure that more than one chicken can drink at once to prevent a "bully" from keeping other chickens away.

Some experienced chicken owners add sugar, apple cider vinegar, antibiotics, or infant vitamins to the water. Sugar gives the new chicks a boost. Add 2-3 tsp per quart of water. Apple cider vinegar seems to help prevent "pasting up," a condition that we will discuss later. Antibiotics are given to prevent coccidiosis and other diseases to which chicks are susceptible. They are usually not necessary for small flocks that are raised in a brooder, and should not be given to chicks if you want their eggs to be considered "organic," Liquid infant vitamins (such as Poly-Visol) can give your chicks a great start. Just be certain that they do not contain iron. All of these additives are optional.

Chick Starter Food

Feed chicks starter "crumble" or "mash." Some starter feeds are medicated to prevent coccidiosis. If chicks have been vaccinated for coccidiosis, feed them only non-medicated feed. Chicks that are not vaccinated, or have only received only the Marek's vaccination, can have medicated feed that helps to prevent coccidiosis. Organic chicks should be fed only unmedicated, organic starter feed.

Feeder

Use a feeder that the chickens can reach, that can't be tipped, that will feed more than one chick at once and which reduces feed waste. Small trough or jar feeders work well, and can be obtained at feed stores, pet stores or online.

Read the instructions on your brand of starter feed to find out how long to feed it to your chicks. Some starters should be switched to "grower" feed at 4 weeks of age. Other brands combine their starter and grower feeds so that you can use the same feed for the first 16-20 weeks.

Small amount of vegetables & fruits are okay for dessert, but if you choose to give them anything other than feed, sprinkle some starter "grit" on top of the food (as though you were salting it with the grit.) Grit takes the place of teeth, and will help them to grind up and digest their food.

A Ventilated Cover

Protect the brooder with a ventilated cover, such as a window screen or piece of framed chicken wire. Chicks need plenty of air-flow, but they quickly begin to practice using their wings and will be able to jump and fly high enough to escape most brooders in short order. A cover can also protect chicks from household pets (and small children, who can unwittingly be their most dangerous predators!)

Bedding.

Provide a soft, absorbent surface for your chicks. Wood chips are suitable. However, do not use pine or cedar bedding as they can be toxic to chicks. I have found that chicks sometimes get confused and will eat wood chips instead of their feed, so I prefer lining the brooder with a beach towel. Towels are soft, absorbent, and can be changed easily. Do not use newspaper or paper towels. They are too slick and may cause leg problems, such as "splayed legs" in chicks. This condition will be discussed later in this article.

Additional Considerations

As chicks begin to grow, they need about 1/2 square foot of floor space per chick. If they are too crowded, they may begin to "pick" at each other, pulling at each others' feathers and perhaps even picking so much that chicks may bleed. If you notice that a chick is bleeding, remove it from the brooder and place it in isolation until it heals. Cover the wound with "Rooster Booster" or other balm that encourages healing and discourages the other chicks from continuing to pick at the injury.

Cautions

~Don't mix chicks of greater than 1 week age difference in the same brooder. (Chicks of the same age, but different breeds, are okay to mix.)

~Don't mix chicks obtained from different sources, unless you are certain that they are disease-free.

~Don't ration feed. Give them as much as they want to eat.

~Try not to get upset about losing a chick. Some are less hardy than the others.

By following these guidelines, you are on your way to providing a healthy and comfortable home for your new little chicks.

Heat Lamps

Order your brooder supplies on Amazon instead of schlepping around town to find them. Amazon offers FREE Super Saver shipping when you purchase $25 worth of eligible items. I have found that I can often buy items cheaper than retail on Amazon, and plus get the shipping for free!

GE Lighting 37771 R40 Heat Lamp, Red, 250-Watt
GE Lighting 37771 R40 Heat Lamp, Red, 250-Watt

Red lamps are more soothing to small chicks than white ones. I use one like this in my brooder.

 
Voltec 08-00032 18/2 SJTW 10-Inch Shade Brooder Lamp, 6-Foot, Aluminum & Black
Voltec 08-00032 18/2 SJTW 10-Inch Shade Brooder Lamp, 6-Foot, Aluminum & Black

A lamp kit with a clip allows you to clamp it almost anywhere and swivel the lamp in any direction.

 

Watering Supplies

Lixit Corporation SLX0637 Chicken Feeder and Water Fountain, Jumbo, 128-Ounce
Lixit Corporation SLX0637 Chicken Feeder and Water Fountain, Jumbo, 128-Ounce

Choose a watering device that allows more than one chick at a time to access water. It should not allow chicks to step or stand in the water, as wet chicks can quickly lose body heat and die. Chicks should only be able to dip their beaks into the lip of the water dish.

 
Miller Manufacturing 9830 Slide Top Feeder, 24-Inch
Miller Manufacturing 9830 Slide Top Feeder, 24-Inch

This is the type of feeder that I prefer to use. Many chicks can eat out of it at once. It is easy to refill and is not easily tipped over. When chicks are tiny, they can crawl into the feeder. By the time they are a few days old, however, they are no longer able to enter the feeder openings.

 
Photo credit: The Micro Farm Project
Photo credit: The Micro Farm Project

Chick Problems

Splayed Legs (also called Spraddle Leg or Straddle Leg)

Spraddled legs can occur when a newly hatched chick cannot get good footing in the hatcher or brooder. If treated quickly, the condition is reversible. Use a small bandage to hold the legs together, the width of the chick's hip joints, until the legs heal. Make sure that the chick has a surface sufficient to grip when it walks, such as wood chips or a beach towel, to prevent the condition.

For more information about orthopedic problems in chicks, visit the following websites:

Poultry Help

Chicken Orthopedics

Spraddle Leg in Baby Chicks

"Pasting Up" is a potentially deadly, but treatable condition.
"Pasting Up" is a potentially deadly, but treatable condition.

Pasting Up

Check chicks often for "pasting up", a condition in which their droppings cake up and block their vent opening, preventing them from passing any more droppings. This problem will be pretty obvious; the dried feces will be stuck to their outside, totally or partially covering their vent. This is a deadly condition and must be resolved immediately.

Apply a warm, wet paper towel to their rears and then use a toothpick to clear the blockage. In especially bad cases you may have to dunk the chick's rear in warm water before the blockage will loosen up enough to remove it. Your chick will complain, loudly, but don't give up because the condition can be fatal! Dry the chick off with a blow dryer and immediately return her to the brooder.

Keep checking the birds that presented with this problem. It often returns throughout the first week.

With proper supervision, it can be a wonderful experience for children to handle chicks.
With proper supervision, it can be a wonderful experience for children to handle chicks.

Children and Baby Chicks

Children love to hold little chicks. With proper supervision, this can be a wonderful experience for the child and the chick, alike. Children who bond with their chicks, and vice versa, may enjoy each others' companionship for the lifetime of the chicken. Additionally, chicks that are handled when they are young are generally more docile and not as afraid of humans when they grow up.

However, chicks are very fragile and die easily if dropped or squeezed. Teach children to wait for you to help them retrieve chicks from the brooder. Have them sit down on the floor cross-legged, and hold the chick gently with one hand across its back and one hand under its bottom. Chicks must be kept warm, so they should only be out of the brooder for short periods of time.

Allow children to care for the chicks in other ways, such as helping to feed and water them. Nurturing a pet aids children in the development of compassion, empathy and responsibility.

Fun Chicken-Related Items for Kids

These are some chicken books and movies that we have loved. Being chicken enthusiasts, "Chicken Run" is one of our favorite movies. We laugh all the way through and revel in rooting for the chickens as they plan their escape! When my children were small, they enjoyed "The Little Red Hen," which is very cute and teaches a timeless, valuable message. I hope that you will enjoy these resources as much as we have.

Our daughter shoo's the chickens out of the coop for the first time.  No chickens were harmed in the making of this photo!
Our daughter shoo's the chickens out of the coop for the first time. No chickens were harmed in the making of this photo!

Transitioning Chickens from Brooder to Coop

Once your chicks are fully feathered, after about 5 weeks, they are ready to move into a coop or hen house. Use your own judgement about when to make the move. If the weather is severe, take measures to give young chickens some protection.

We have an old playhouse that we converted into a coop. When our chicks are 5 or 6 weeks old, we move the brooder into the coop and make an opening so that they can venture out of the brooder into the larger coop space. If the weather is cold, we run a long extension cord to keep the heat lamp on and available to them at night.

It is fun to watch the chicks acclimate to their new surroundings. You will quickly be able to tell which chickens are bold and which are timid. One or two will exit the brooder and begin to inspect their new surroundings, staying close to the entry back into the brooder. At first, they will venture out only for short periods of time, preferring the safety and familiarity of their original home. After a while, the more adventurous chickens will explore further away from the brooder, and other chickens will begin to follow. We lure them out with treats and toys. Eventually, they all become accustomed to the larger coop and the brooder can be removed.

Keep your hens inside the coop for a couple of weeks so that they learn that it is home. After this adjustment period, you can begin to let them out into a secure run or to wander free range, and they will know by instinct to return to the safety of the coop at nightfall.

You may think that they will be ecstatic to exit the coop after being "cooped up" for a couple of weeks. However, chickens are often wary and apprehensive of new situations, especially if they feel vulnerable. The may cower at an airplane shadow as it flies overhead, presumably thinking it's a hawk. They often run from slight movements caused by the wind, and tend to crowd together for safety when faced with new surroundings. They will probably need encouragement to exit the coop for the first time. You may even need to gently shoo or set them outside and block their return until they acclimate, or just leave the door open and allow them to explore on their own timetable. My children carried each of our 20 chickens out of the coop and placed them on our lush, green lawn. As soon as they saw their chance to make a run for it, they raced as a herd back towards the safety of their run. This was repeated on several occasions, until they discovered the bugs and worms in the lawn, at which time they began to enjoy "free ranging."

What's Next?

Do you want to know more about caring for mature hens? Read more by following the links below:

Keeping Chickens in the City

Keeping Chickens Healthy and Happy

More Information

Here are some places we love on the web. If you have a related website that you would like us to post here, send us a message with a link. Kindly link back to us from your website, too!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this information, and that it will be helpful to you. Please leave me your questions, comments or tips.

I would love to hear from you!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 5 years ago

      My Dad wants to own chickens and there is some excellent advice on here, will send the link to him to have a look. Very nicely written :)

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 5 years ago from Covington, LA

      I enjoyed reading your lens. It is filled with good information and photos.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! I don't live in the city, we have 7 acres in the country but I really want chickens and I learned alot from your lens. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      It's funny I should come across this lens on raising chickens when just yesterday I was talking about it with my sister. I'll forward this lens to her. Your lens covered just about any question one might have about raising chickens. Angel Blessed**

    • profile image

      antoniow 5 years ago

      Enjoyed reading this lens, well done!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you for such a thorough article. Though I have been reading up on raising chickens for quite some time, I learned a great deal here. As I live off the grid, a natural progression in my green lifestyle is to grow more and more of my own food. This was extremely helpful and appreciated.

    • vegetablegardenh profile image

      vegetablegardenh 5 years ago

      This is such a wonderful lens packed with great information. My husband and I recently got 6 hens, and we've learned a lot about chickens since then. We just love them, and watching them has become one of our favorite things, they are so funny and entertaining.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      I heard this is becoming very popular not too far from where I live too. This is packed with tons of information. I bet the chicken are fun to watch. Your daughter holding the chicken is so sweet too.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      Wow, this is pretty comprehensive. I have a few chickens. A few less just now as something got into our hen house and killed a mother hen and her two chicks.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      Very informative! We got some baby chicks last week from My Pet Chicken, and I had been wondering how long to watch for pasty butts. Glad to know we are about out of the woods on that.

      Thanks for doing such a thorough lens!

    • profile image

      maraga 5 years ago

      thanks . was just thinking of keeping chickens

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow, it is so hot here, you must have to make adaptations for the heat! Blessed.

    • FallenAngel 483 profile image

      FallenAngel 483 5 years ago

      Thanks for such an informative lens. My Dad had chickens as a boy and I would have them myself if my garden was bigger.

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      Very informative. nice lens

    • GuyB LM profile image

      GuyB LM 5 years ago

      What is the perfect age to harvest the chickens?

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @GuyB LM: Good question! Broiler chickens reach 4-5 lbs by 6-8 weeks of age. Free-range broilers take twice a long, reaching harvest weight by 12-16 weeks of age.

    • profile image

      brian_pelton 5 years ago

      Great information here. Perfect for someone researching this topic

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      We're about a month into raising a batch of chickens we got online and we DID have pasting up with 2 or 3 of our 9 babies. A neighbor told me to grind up some rolled oats and add it to their food. That, plus maybe outgrowing the age when it is a problem, took care of it.

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @hartworks lm: Good tip...I will try it next time I have a batch of chicks. Thanks!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Very thorough article about all you could ever want or need to know about raising baby chicks! Our neighbor down the street has been raising some and they had a rooster that could be heard ALL over the place anytime day or night. We haven't heard him in a while so I'm thinking he's moved on to another coop. :) Blessings for this awesome article!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My friend just started raising chickens. I will be sure to share this lens with her.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice article! This would be a great help to my comrade who's planning to start a poultry farm hehehe...

    • profile image

      sdmary 5 years ago

      Our neighbors have started keeping laying hens and I don't know much about them (other than to keep giving my neighbor empty egg cartons - HA!). Thanks for the great info on this lens!

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 5 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      What an interesting lens. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

    • futureme lm profile image

      futureme lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. Our neighbour keeps chickens and she asked us before she did it - it is great seeing them running around and they are fun to watch. One thing she did was get the chicks from a breeder that guaranteed no rooster... to keep the noise down.

    • WriterDave profile image

      WriterDave 5 years ago

      Wow, this is a really informative lens! I know most HOAs won't allow chickens but these are great if you live somewhere where you are allowed to keep chickens. Thanks for writing this lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love chickens too. My father has some of them in our place. They are my alarm clock every morning. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love chickens too. My father has some of them in our place. They are my alarm clock every morning. :)

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      Baby chickens look really cute! *blessed*

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had chickens when I was a kid and the family moved to Puerto Rico for a year or so. Well my dad did. The kids played with them by chasing them around the coop and dad took care of getting them ready for dinner. Fresh eggs were the best also. Now its off to the grocery store for both eggs and meat.

    • profile image

      BarbaraSellers 5 years ago

      Very interesting article. I grew up on a Minnesota farm and you obviously know a lot about chickens.

      I wrote about the DealDash penny-auction site and how to win at penny auctions. Feel free to check it oout.

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 5 years ago

      Yes, I enjoyed. This is an article of a different taste!

      Hens are difficult to catch, but there are plenty of benefits if we have them with us.

      Nice article!

    • LLMom27 profile image

      LLMom27 5 years ago

      Lots of great info on raising and keeping chickens. We haven't had any for almost a year. I miss them.

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      The wife had a pet chicken growing up. Say no more.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 5 years ago

      What a nice lens on such a fun subject! In St. Pete, FL., we're allowed four chickens, and my daughter just got some chicks. Her children love taking care of them -- they're a great addition to the family.

    • tslizzy profile image

      tslizzy 5 years ago

      Love eggs but the idea of keeping chicken sound scary for me

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Great lens, and just packed with useful & important information on raising backyard chickens. We have a small flock of hen, which bring a lot of sound and movement into the yard as they free range after bugs. And fresh eggs are the best!

    • KidsToyTeaSets LM profile image

      KidsToyTeaSets LM 5 years ago

      What a fun lens. I've shared the info with a friend who mentioned she and her children would like to give this a try. Thank you.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations! This wonderful lens has been selected Lens of the Day. You can read all about it at SquidooHQ here: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/lens-of-the-day-raising...

    • Mariajomith profile image

      maria 5 years ago

      wonderful lens, i am also raising chickens, but we live in the country

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      So glad to see you get LotD!!! Congratulations! :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Just stopping back by to congratulate you on LotD. I have previously blessed and liked this lens. Very pleased for you.

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 5 years ago

      Love the title! Congrats on LOTD :)

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Congrats for LOTD!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Nice information. We plan to try this one of these days.

    • profile image

      blake-holliday-1 5 years ago

      COOL!!!! I have raise speciality chicks, but i live in the country

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Fabulously done and very informative! I've always wanted chickens, but we're not allowed to have them in this neighborhood. We have chicken-sat for friends before, though, and know that raising chickens requires some time and dedication. The fresh eggs are wonderful, though. Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Nice lens, good info.

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you! If you are unable to have chickens, but want fresh eggs, check out my Raising Coturnix Quail for Eggs, Meat and Profit lens. Fresh quail eggs are just as delicious as chicken eggs, and Coturnix quail are generally considered pets, not livestock.

    • profile image

      JimDickens 5 years ago

      Very good information.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! I love chickens and fresh eggs!

    • Silverbullionaire profile image

      Silverbullionaire 5 years ago

      That's a great thing! Nice Lens BTW!

    • CNelson01 profile image

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      Well done and congratulations on LOTD. I grew up on a ranch and we raised chickens...there's an entire tongue-in-cheek chapter on "Chickens From Hatchet to Skillet" in my book. You have revived some memories.

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @CNelson01: LOL, I will have to read your book. I am sure that I would enjoy your chapter on chickens.

    • profile image

      XtraBlessed 5 years ago

      Great lens! Just love fresh eggs from local farmers market.

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 5 years ago

      I can't wait to have a place for chickens!! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I lived with my grandparents on a farm and they raised chickens. For some reason the roosters (they had 2) did not like my brother, who was 4 years old, and when he came into their yard they would jump on him and peck his head. They never bothered the rest of us. Don't know why. Do you have any problems with predators? Cats, dogs, or worse. Congrats on LOTD!

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! We do not have problems with predators. I have a black lab retriever who keeps most other animals away, and she does not bother the chickens. I think that most cats would be intimidated by my birds, since there are so many of them. I would worry more if I only had a few. In my area, the worst predator is the coyote, so coops have to be secured with hardware cloth instead of chicken wire, which coyotes can rip through. I have never had a coyote try to get into my coop, thankfully.

    • cgbroome profile image

      cgbroome 5 years ago

      Great lens! My daughter-in-law has been wanting to do this for some time now so I'll be sure to pass this lens on to her!

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 5 years ago from Spain

      Great Len and info. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Keeping chickens was one of the things I most enjoyed about living in the country, and one I miss most. It is a joy. We raised ours by letting the hens sit on eggs. Sometimes it worked well, sometimes it didn't, but it was always interesting.

    • Judy Goldsberry profile image

      Judy Goldsberry 5 years ago

      Excellent informatiom

    • Judy Goldsberry profile image

      Judy Goldsberry 5 years ago

      I will save this lens for future reference

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      My chickens are free-range, although I do put out layer crumbles for them. They are really fond of fresh fruits & vegetables, so I have to keep the garden fenced! I get an egg each day out of my Americaunas in the summer, and about 3-4 a week in the winter. The first generation lays blue eggs, and the second generation, olive green. A lot of good information here. Nice article!

    • alaiamax lm profile image

      alaiamax lm 5 years ago

      Hello, I really love your lens because it brings back the time when we use to live in a farm where we raise so many native chickens. Thanks for sharing

    • vegetablegardenh profile image

      vegetablegardenh 5 years ago

      Congrats to Lens of the Day, you guys deserve it with this lens! It is so full of great information, lots of it clearly from personal experience. I also love the "punny" title. :)

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Congratulations on winning the Lens of the Day (LOTD).

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      All I need is a farm and I'm ready to go. Thank you for publishing this lens. I found it fascinating.

    • TK2012 LM profile image

      TK2012 LM 5 years ago

      We have 10 chickens at our place and LOVE them. I agree with everything you said here. Thank you for providing people with such great information!

    • Huntsnan profile image

      Huntsnan 5 years ago

      Very thorough information, loved it - bringing back memories! I have raised chickens in the past and have been considering it for the near future, just have to get a protected area ready since we have a lot of 'varmints' in the area. (coyotes, skunks, feral cats, etc) You definitely make me want to start up again, love those fresh eggs!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      I would love to have some back yard chickens but our place isn't set up for it. Between our neighbors there are 3 labrador dogs and not a lot a lot of fences. Maybe if we can figure out how to keep chickens safe from marauding dogs and also raccoons we could do it.

    • profile image

      coetzeevictor 5 years ago

      My grandfather use to breed with chickens. Awesome and Informative lens.

    • profile image

      strategery 5 years ago

      Great lens! I really enjoyed it. It's making me think about getting chickens at my next house. I know the kids would love it (except for cleaning the coops)

    • profile image

      River_Rose 5 years ago

      Great lens! I raised all kinds of birds in the past. Chickens were my favorite.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 5 years ago

      My daughter wish we could raise chicken in our backyard. Thanks!

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Great info! Now I know more and appreciate what goes into taking care of and raising chicks. Your lens is very thorough and very interesting ~ I don't think I could raise them, but I can appreciate all the attention you give to raising them successfully! Congratulations on LOTD! B : )

    • MoniqueDesigns profile image

      MoniqueDesigns 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD, great lens!

    • profile image

      BadassMovieReviews 5 years ago

      Great article, very detailed and should inform people of how to properly treat chickens rather than the industrial way that is happening now. Great example set!

    • ArthurF LM profile image

      ArthurF LM 5 years ago

      While my current living situation would prevent me from rasing chickens at the moment... after reading your article I am willing to give it a try in the future. Thank you!

    • LPerry60 profile image

      LPerry60 5 years ago from East Coast United States

      I would love to have a pet chicken :)

    • YogaAngel profile image

      YogaAngel 5 years ago

      I had chicken and ducks as a kid. I loved them!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! What an interesting lens and very informative...chickens sure are cute, but I could only raise them for eggs and not meat, I get too attached.

    • Craig O profile image

      Craig O 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      great lens - thank you so much

    • microfarmproject profile image
      Author

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      @ArthurF LM: If you want fresh eggs, but not chickens, check out my lens entitled "Raising Coturnix Quail for Eggs, Meat and Profit." Quail are easy to take care of and don't require the space or zoning that chickens may require, and they lay lots of delicious eggs.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great information. Congratulations on getting LoTD!

    • Rural Farming profile image

      Rural Farming 5 years ago

      Wow love that lens! Raising chickens myself up to 22 of them.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice lens. My parents used to raise chickens for selling eggs for a living, it is nice to see a lens like this, brings back memories.Thanks for sharing. Congratulations for LotD, you deserve it. Blessed.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Very informative - my aunt raised chickens and the eggs were fresh and delicious - nicely done! ~~~Blessed~~~

    • profile image

      pinoyrecipe 5 years ago

      such an informative lens, i might think of having a small poultry farm here in my place too. :-)

    • profile image

      pinoyrecipe 5 years ago

      such an informative lens, i might think of having a small poultry farm here in my place too. :-)

    • profile image

      stillrunnin88 5 years ago

      Great lens. I have 6 chickens and they are great.

    • lucky izan profile image

      lucky izan 5 years ago

      My parents used to raised chicken on our backyard, but since they sold the house now we're no longer keep the chicken. Nice Lens

    • SellClean profile image

      SellClean 5 years ago

      This looks like a lot of fun. My grand parents had chickens when I was a kid. Loved going out each day and collecting the eggs.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      I would love to raise chickens, but I'll have to stand on the sidelines for this one. Great lens and info. Congratulation on your LotD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a brilliant lens - thank you. I've had Australorps, Rhode Island reds and Buff Orpingtons and have enjoyed keeping backyard hens. Your lens is so good and informative I could see it as an ebook.

    • profile image

      tomprat 5 years ago

      Great lens. We have enough room to raise chickens and would love to but I don't think our neighbors would let it go. Unfortunately we haven't had the smoothest of relationships with them.

    • profile image

      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such an useful Lens about raising chickens!

    • profile image

      Ladybird 5 years ago

      Congrats on getting LOTD. Very intetestng lens and lots to think about before getting chickens.

    • profile image

      MsShari 5 years ago

      I went to school with a family who had a rooster and some chickens in their back yard. I thought it was really wierd. After reading your lens, I have to admit, I don't think it was so wierd after all!

    • profile image

      Sandic 5 years ago

      Cute Lens!!

    • kgracie profile image

      Kieran Gracie 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Useful and comprehensive Lens, bookmarked for future reference. Living in an apartment at present so no chance of keeping any hens, but who knows what the future holds? I grew up on a farm in Ireland and loved the whole chicken rearing experience.

    • profile image

      burntchestnut 5 years ago

      Love this lens! You cover many topics essential to making a decision to raise chickens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens. The more people know about and get experience with family flocks the better. As additional resources, please consider including 3 books: (1) City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Biomass Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers. (2) Chicken Tractor, the Homestead (3rd) Editionâboth by Patricia ForemanâanMMaster Backyard ChiFYI Master Backyard Keeper Classes are offered at www.ChickensAndYou.com.

      Thanks for the information and service you are providing!

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I really enjoyed reading your lens. If I didn't travel so much, I might consider having my own but I don't think I'd be up to preparing them to eat. I get to enjoy the work of other people by going to my local farmer's markets and getting free ranch chickens and fresh brown eggs. Yum! I'm glad there are people like you that take the time to raise these wonderful creatures.

    • CottageHomestead profile image

      CottageHomestead 5 years ago

      Wonderful! We started out with hens in town before we moved to the country. Our first chicken house was a dog house. :)

    • profile image

      julia007 5 years ago

      Very useful article about raising chickens!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      We have too many predators in the area to raise chickens. My brother in central California has lots of them, though. You never see bugs at his place! Congratulations on the LOTD honor.

    • profile image

      animalsafari 5 years ago

      Raising chickens or bringing up chickens at your back yard either as a hobby or just for the love of the cute little chickens is just amazing. The site of your first laid eggs then comes the chicks is just wonderful. Beautiful Lens about raising chickens

    • profile image

      ricardolamb 5 years ago

      miniature dinosuars that give us eggs! really good information. Squidoo is an amazing place.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      This is a super lens full of great info and I LOVE keeping chickens. My only problem with buying baby chicks is I can't eat the boys once I find out I have too many roosters. Sigh. Love my hens and their eggs but they are truly pets, each and every one of them. Thanks for all the info, d

    • dpgibble profile image

      dpgibble 5 years ago

      We have a flock of around a hundred birds which we have built up over the last year or so to augment our blueberry patch sales. The egg production pays for the feed and some of the accessories, but we do a lot of scrounging. Your lens is thorough and covers things we had to learn the hard way, Keep up the good work!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I grew up with chickens on a farm and we tried them again a few years ago when our daughter was young and my husband was a big kid, but not for me. I admire you for appreciating all the positives, of which there are many. Congratulations on your Lens of the Day and Purple Star recognition of this lens. Blessings.

    • profile image

      DecoratingMom411 4 years ago

      You made raising chickens sound so fun.

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      I enjoyed to read your lens. Great information!

    Click to Rate This Article