Studies show that eating one or two eggs a day can help improve your heart health and manage cholesterol levels. Not to mention how delicious they can be added to all kinds of meals!
But getting your hands on eggs can sometimes be more difficult as stores face shortages. That is unless you have your own source and supply right in your backyard. Fresh eggs take your dining to the next level, which is why chickens have become such a popular addition to many homes.
Figuring out how to raise chickens can feel overwhelming at the start. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do before picking up your chickens so you can have the most success possible!
Do Thorough Research
Before adding anything to your life, it’s important to do some thorough research so you know what to expect and can determine if you can handle the change. This is especially important when the change involves living creatures, like chickens.
Start your research by finding out if you can even own chickens where you live. Some cities or HOAs have ordinances that prohibit this kind of livestock from residing in the area. It would be a huge waste of time, effort, and money to figure out you can’t even have the chickens in the first place!
Next, you’ll want to look into the overall estimated cost, details about maintenance, and a general idea of what to expect.
Taking the time to research what raising chickens is like will help you make an informed decision so you can have a great experience moving forward.
Create an Outdoor Space
In order to have happy home chickens, you’ll want to make sure they have adequate space to do everything they need to do.
Chickens need some space to roam and move around during the day. A general rule of thumb is around eight square feet per bird in the chicken run. This gives them adequate space to get the movement they need without feeling too crowded. Crowded birds get stressed which can affect their ability to lay eggs, so plan accordingly.
You’ll also need a chicken coop so your birds have somewhere to go at night and when the weather is colder. This should have hay or straw so they can create their beds for laying.
Setting all of these spaces up ahead of time will make your transition to raising chickens smooth.
Pick the Right Breed
You might be surprised to know that there are a lot of breeds of home chickens and they all are very different from each other. It’s a good idea to get a basic overview of all the types so you can choose a breed that makes sense for your area and situation.
It can be fun to find a breed that will lay colored eggs, like the olive egger which produces a beautiful green-colored egg. You can even mix a few breeds together to get a variety of colored eggs every day!
Gather Necessary Supplies
The last thing you want is to bring your backyard chickens home only to realize you are underprepared to take care of them. Avoid this struggle by gathering all the necessary supplies well in advance. Things like the coop may be obvious but make sure you don’t forget some of the other essentials.
Compile a stock of chicken food and a water dish to start with. This way you won’t have to scramble and find something to feed your birds in the beginning.
It’s also a good idea to prepare for other times of the year by having bedding material and a heat lamp on hand. Check with other chicken owners in your area to get ideas of items that they’ve found helpful when raising their birds.
Establish a Veterinarian
While chickens are fairly low-maintenance animals to take care of, they do occasionally get sick or injured. These stressful situations aren’t the time to find a new vet and set up care for the birds.
It’s much better to establish your care and relationship with a vet as soon as you get your animals (or before!). This way you know exactly where to take them when an issue arises. And you’ll also be able to get advice on the best care practices and ways to help your chickens thrive in their new environment.
One of the best ways to find a vet is to talk to other animal owners you know to get personal recommendations you can trust.
Develop a Care Routine
Happy, comfortable chickens are the best egg layers so you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure they stay that way. Developing a care routine helps you maintain that status quo for your chickens.
Your routine should include replacing their food and water every day at the same time. This will help your chickens know what to expect and keep them from stressing about getting enough. It will also prevent you from forgetting to tackle this job every day. Once your chickens are laying, this may also be a good time to collect the eggs as well.
The chicken coop won’t generally require any daily maintenance but it’s important to do regular cleanings to clear out the bedding and start fresh. Keeping a list of tasks that need done and scheduling them will ensure your coop lasts for years!
How to Raise Chickens at Home
Once you learn how to raise chickens at home, it’s easy to see why so many families have added these animals to their lives. They are a fun pet that also comes with the huge benefit of regular, fresh eggs on your table!
Before making your final deacon, it’s important to commit fully to raising these animals for an extended period of time. It may take a while before you start seeing regular egg laying, so you have to be prepared to be patient. The longer you have your chickens, the better it will be for everyone!
Want to learn more about raising animals at home? Check out our other articles today!