Raising chickens in your backyard is legal, affordable, and beneficial for most Americans. So, it is no wonder 13 million already do!
It is an ideal hobby or pastime for those with children. Not only can they learn where their food comes from, but they can also learn responsibility and care.
But how would you even start raising a chicken? Isn't it difficult and time-consuming? Read this guide to find out how simple raising a chicken can be!
Choose Your Chickens
First, you need to know what breed and age of chicken you want to get. Chickens are available in four different age groups:
- Hatching eggs
Hatching eggs are fertilized eggs and are almost ready to hatch. Chicks are very young chickens and pullets are chicks aged four to six months. Adults are full-grown hens.
If you are a beginner, it is best to get chicks.
That way, you do not have to deal with the incubation of hatching eggs which can be tricky. And adult hens tend to eat a lot. Chicks are the cheapest option as well as the easiest.
These are the different types of chicken breeds:
- Heritage breeds
- Dual breeds (meat and egg)
- Egg-laying breeds
- Meat breeds
You also need to decide how many chickens you want as well as the breed of chicken. If you decide on an egg-laying chicken breed, you can determine your number by how many eggs you might want per week.
On average, one chicken lays four to five eggs a week, but it is best to get more than one. Three is a good number to start with when you are raising chickens for the first time.
Buy or Build a Coop
Next, people who are chicken raising need to have a chicken coop. Beginners can follow chicken coop plans to ensure you include everything necessary.
Regardless of whether you are following a plan or making your own, consider the following:
- Safety of your chicks from predators
- Weatherproof materials and ventilation
- Nesting boxes
- Pen/roaming area outside of the coop
- Large enough for all the chickens
Always be mindful of the temperature inside the coop, too.
Organize Food and Water
The last main consideration when raising chickens is nourishment. When you get your chicks, find out if they are vaccinated for coccidia. If they are, then you will not need to buy medicated chicken food.
Depending on the age of your chicks or chickens, this is what you should feed them:
- Newborn chicks = 20% starter feed mash
- 2-3 month old chicks = 20% starter/grower crumbles
- 4-5 month old chicks = 16% finisher crumbles
- 5+ months = 16% layer feed pellets
Once you have adult hens, you can feed them a variety of foods as well as pellets. Chickens can eat pasta, raisins, cereal, banana, and green veggies.
Make sure your chickens have a constant supply of water. You may need to teach young chicks how to drink. And you can add vitamins to their water to make sure they stay healthy.
Raising Chickens Made Simple
Raising chickens is not easy, but it can be simple and worthwhile. As long as you do your research and have the time to care for them, having chickens will be one of the most fulfilling things you ever did.
For your soul, and your belly!
Want to learn more about farmyard pets? Browse our website for more tips and advice.