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Raising Backyard Chickens Made Easy

Updated on April 5, 2016
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Raising chickens is a simple task that everyone can enjoy!

Here chicky-chicky-chicky! Get your feathers into my life!

Thinking about getting into raising your very own back-yard chickens? Ready for a reduction of bugs lurking around your property, free fertilizer and fantastically fresh eggs??? It all can be yours for just a couple minutes a day!

Having backyard chickens on your property does not take very much space. They thrive well in a small coop and will produce eggs that are tastier than anything that you can find on the grocers shelf. The amount of time and effort that they require is minimal, literally only taking a few minutes a day to tend to -- Which is time well spent, when you think about what you get in return! Fresh eggs, live entertainment and free fertilizer where ever they go!

They are so simple to keep that if you have children, they can easily tend to your flocks needs at nearly any age! Our youngest child was four when we added our feather babies to our back yard, and though we didn't intend for our little cluckers to be her responsibility, she relished and grew from tending to what she considers to be 'her babies'!

Now my own daughter is growing up with her own feather friends...

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Memories from my childhood

Of my feathered friends... And the value they added to my life

When I was little, my grandparents had a 10 acre hobby farm in a Northern Canadian community. It was cold. Really, really cold! Yet they were able to grow some of this and raise some of that... Chickens being one of those 'that' that I am talking about.

Being an only child I spent a lot of time alone... It was lonely on many levels, yet when I got to Grandmas house, I knew that I had about twenty friends waiting there for me. They were my magical friends, provided for my breakfast and provided fertilizer for the yard and gardens. Though at the time all I cared about was the treasure hunt for eggs and that they always seemed to want to follow me no matter where I went.

Did you know???

You can check to see if an egg is safe to eat, or if it has gone bad by placing it into a container of cool water...

If the egg is good -- It will stay at the bottom of the water

If the egg is starting to get old (but is still good) -- It will still be at the bottom of the water, with one end up

If the egg has gone bad -- It will float

Embrace your new feather babies - They may start out as chickens, but will become family members!

VERDUGO GIFT Mother Hen & Chicks Country Garden Sculpture Set
VERDUGO GIFT Mother Hen & Chicks Country Garden Sculpture Set

There are more than one way to add chickens to your home... A flock that gives back to you and a touch of flare that can go anywhere...

 

Where dreams start...

We bought a small plot of land with the dreams of Hobby Farming... Chickens were one of the first five things that we ventured into. The cute little fluff ball, day old chicks that arrived were comical to watch, sweet to hold and great to experience!

As the chicks grew from adorable little balls of fluff, into little hens, they relied on us to feed and water them and would all rush over to us with excitement. when we would go close to where they were kept. They bonded to us be cause we sustained their life, we bonded to them because we couldn't help it!

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What you need

Getting yourself ready to have a flock of hens requires minimum effort and preparation...

Chickens really do not require much of a financial investment to get into... Hens will live relatively simple lives and really a few necessities such as: a coop to bed down in at night, a roost to relax on, a few compact spaces to lay their eggs, along with a feeder for their pellets (one that will not allow 'droppings' in it) and a water supply that they won't be able to contaminate or drown in.

Coops can be easy to create using nearly any covered, weather safe, space -- An old garage or a tool shed both make a perfect starting point

Roosts can be made using a thick branch from a tree, old broom handles or even 2x4's that are secured in place... Try crisscrossing them within your coop!

Nesting boxes can be made from anything that is around the right size... The boxes need to be small, normally double the size of your (full grown) hen. Using something like small crates, that are about a foot and a half wide work great (we nail a board to the front to make sure that the eggs don't fall out and break). Or you can even use small plastic bins!

Water and feed containers may be something that you might have to go out and purchase to save the feed and water from getting spoiled by contamination, or dumped by excited birds

Hanging Poultry & Gamebird Feeder with Feed Pan, 30 Lb Galvanized Steel
Hanging Poultry & Gamebird Feeder with Feed Pan, 30 Lb Galvanized Steel

We purchased a galvanized steel feeder that we knew would outlast many plastic products... And got one that was a large capacity to reduce the amount of times we would have to fill it up... If you choose one that hangs reduces the chance that the feed will get spoiled...

 

Key Supplies for Feather Babies - That will keep them happy, healthy and egg productive!

When we were getting ready for our chickens we converted an old 10x14 foot building into a coop, used branches that were about 4 inches in diameter and constructed the nesting boxes from old lumber that were were not using...

Then we set about researching and acquiring the proper feed and water systems that would fit the needs of the 27 chickens that we added to our backyard.

Go with galvanized --- they are built to last!

Miller 9835 5-Gallon Galvanized Poultry Fountain
Miller 9835 5-Gallon Galvanized Poultry Fountain

Bigger is better! No matter the size of your flock!! Chickens need water at all times to stay healthy... The bigger the waterer, the less chance that your chickens will run dry and you will save time by not having to fill it up daily, like you would have to with a smaller one

 

Have...

Have you ever had back yard chickens?

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Coops are an absolute must have...

Coops are where your chickens will spend a lot of time. Open the door in the mornings and they will scurry around, snapping up bugs, munching on grass and enjoying the breeze.... The best part? At dusk they will migrate back into their cozy home all on their own -- so all you will have to do is close up the door and call it at night!

Buy a premade coop - It will simplify the "how the..."

Little Cottage Company Gambrel Barn Run Coop 6'x8' DIY Chicken Coop Kit
Little Cottage Company Gambrel Barn Run Coop 6'x8' DIY Chicken Coop Kit

Looking at a larger flock? This building is like the condo of all condos for chickens! A basic design that will get great reviews from both people and chickens

 

Do...

Do you find that fresh eggs taste better than store bought?

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Chickens - Time requirements to tend to them

-- What is the time investment that they really require??? And how difficult is it to tend to them?

EASY!

Daily Requirements (with estimated time required for a flock of thirty-five hens)

  1. Morning (5-10 minutes): Collecting eggs, checking and filling the water and feed (as required) and opening their hatch to their outdoor enclosure
  2. Afternoon (1-2 minutes): Second round of collecting eggs, plus opening up to coop to let your chickens free range in your yard.. Don't worry! They will come back to the coop on their own at dusk!
  3. Evening (5-10 minutes): Again... Round three of collecting eggs, checking and filling the water and feed (as required) and closing up the coop for the night

TIP: The larger your feed and water containers the less you have to fill them!

Keeping the coop clean:

From personal experience, with flocks ranging from seven hens up to about forty this task is best done every week or two -- the more 'droppings' that you hens drop, the heavier the duty of cleaning the coop -- REALLY! That stuff gets heavy!

For our current flock of 35 we ideally like to get-er-done and muck the coop out, every ten days or so... This will require about a twenty minute commitment to muck out the old, check the roost and nesting boxes, as well as replacing the old bedding with new...

TIP: When mucking out the coop: put a tarp down and pile the discarded bedding onto it... The tarp can easily hold two or three wheelbarrow loads and it is easy to pull! We load the discarded bedding into our compost where it is magically turned into rich compost in no time!

Letting your chicks roam -- will pay off in delicious eggs!

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Number 1 Rule for Raising Backyard Chickens:

The most important thing for anyone to abide by who is going to raise backyard chickens, is simple: JUST ENJOY THEM! They have personalities, can show affection and are just unique and fun pets... you might just be surprised to find out that your chickens become your backyard pals that have the benefit of being able to deliver you a fresh and healthy supply of eggs!

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Thanks for some good tips; I have only been raising chicks a few months and I had no idea about the eggs and I have found one out of place a few times and wondered if it was just dropped or been there awhile and now I can water test them!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very useful and informative hub on raising backyard chickens. Reading this reminded me of my grandma when we (me and my siblings) were kids. She had a few chickens and roosters. We used to enjoy going to visit our grandparents during the holidays.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 2 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      My sister just started raising chickens. I'll send her this hub. Thanks

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      i used to grow chickens too and even killed them and plucked them and clean out the inside. The dirtiest part of the work.....but they taste really good...YUMM

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      Chickens were always in our backyard until fairly recently when some dogs got in and killed the last of them. Nice lens and a great reminder of how fresh eggs become part of the garden harvest when chooks are on the scene,

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      We got chickens last and we love them. One gives brown eggs one gives blue!

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I really like the chicken coop you feature with the chicken run underneith it. That is decorative as well as practical. I would love to have my own chickens. Then I would know that the eggs were organic and responsibly produced.