Keeping Backyard Chickens

We've kept a small flock of chickens for almost ten years. Chicken are my FAVORITE animal to keep because a. they are relatively easy, b. you can fill up the feeder and waterer and leave for the weekend, c. they live on our waste and produce something useful. There are so many possibilities for chicken coops, as you'll see in the lessons below. The main thing to worry about with chickens is protection from predators. 

*We don't keep roosters because you don't need them for eggs, they are noisy, and they can be aggressive. They do help protect the flock and you can't have babies without them.

1. Find out which breed of chicken is right for you with this questionnaire. Click here.

2. Housing can be simple. Every Chicken House Needs a Feeder, Waterer, Perch, Laying Box and at least 3 square feet per bird. The below example is more like a chick Tractor which can be moved to fresh grass every few days.

3. There are Hundreds of Ways to Design or repurpose for coops. Click here to see some great examples.

4. Mail ordering Chicks - The most exciting day of raising birds is when they arrive at the post office! Here is how to set up a brooders and what to do when the chicks come home.

. Predator Protection is key. I used to love raccoons - until we got chickens. Neighborhood Dogs, racoons, Hawks, Foxes and raccoons have all contributed to our continual renewal of our flock. I've never had to deal with a chicken getting too old. Here are some of our tips:

  • Automatic door on a timer at night

  • Fishing line criss-crossed over the top of the run help with birds of prey

  • We've put shiny things like old cds around that flash and keep hawks away

  • Motion sensor lights and, when necessary raccoon traps

5. Feeding Your Chickens - Healthy Birds needs to peck and scratch in the dirt and eat bugs! We built a "Chicken Moat" around our garden to help with bugs. Our chickens eat all our leftovers. We keep a small bucket on the kitchen counter and everything except onion, peppers and chicken goes to the birds. We supplement with grain, but the bulk of their diet is free ranged or leftovers.

Here is a great article on feed and supplements.

6. Raising Meat Birds Start to Finish Click Here.

7. I love talking chickens! Jump on over to the Facebook Group and ask any questions.