Raising Backyard Chickens Made Easy
Chickens, silly, fun and lay a really good egg
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...
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
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!
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
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!
Have you ever had back yard chickens?
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..."
Do you find that fresh eggs taste better than store bought?
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?
Daily Requirements (with estimated time required for a flock of thirty-five hens)
- Morning (5-10 minutes): Collecting eggs, checking and filling the water and feed (as required) and opening their hatch to their outdoor enclosure
- 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!
- 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!
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!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Lou Cannon