Most homesteaders begin their journey by raising chickens. This is because chickens are one of the easiest farm animals to learn about, raise and enjoy. Not to mention that depending on the breed they provide plenty of eggs or meat for the homestead.
Raising chickens in your backyard has many benefits but it can also lead to a few problems if you don’t plan accordingly.
Here are 6 things that you should know before you decide to raise your own chickens.
1. How much space is needed for your chickens?
Chickens need room to move around for exercise and also to feed on small insects. Chickens like to roam around the yard freely but they must be protected from predators. You should plan for them to have at least 4 square feet per chicken in the run area and in the coop. Click here for more info on the space needed for your flock.
2. What type of chicken should you raise?
There are many different chicken breeds available. Are you raising chickens for the eggs that they will produce? Are you raising them for meat? Do you want them as pets?
Those are some of the questions that you will need to answer before you decide which breed will be best for your purpose. Here is an article that can help you pick a breed of chicken if you are looking for egg layers.
3. What type of chicken coop is needed?
You can buy or build a chicken coop to protect your backyard flock. The main considerations will be the amount of space that you have available and the number of chickens that you are going to raise. You also need to make sure that you have enough nesting boxes for your hens to lay their eggs in so that you don’t have chickens fighting over the boxes.
Click here for more detailed plans that will help you build a chicken coop that looks good and is easy to clean and maintain.
4. What should you feed your chickens?
Some people want to raise their birds as a free range flock. If this is what you want to do then you may want to create a garden area of plants that your chickens can eat.
If you decide to feed them commercially available feed then you need to make sure to get the right feed mix at the right stage of your chickens’ life, Click here for more info on common feed types.
5. Who will be responsible for the chickens?
Raising your own chickens does come with some responsibility. You have to make sure that your birds are properly fed and watered but you also have to make sure that they are healthy and well protected.
Click here for tips on protecting your chickens.
6. What to do with the chicken poop!
Let’s face reality…chickens poop. A lot! So, what should you do with all of that chicken poop?
Turns out that chicken poop is a great ingredient for compost! So even though it’s a nasty chore to clean the chicken coop you will get a great benefit from doing so besides the fact that a clean coop leads to healthy chickens.
Visit this link to learn how to use chicken poop to create your own compost for your garden.
So there you have it. Raising chickens in your backyard is a great way to provide eggs and meat for your family. It can also be a way to eat healthier by raising your chickens on organic feed. You can also use it as a way to teach your children responsibility.
Hopefully, now you understand why the majority of homesteaders start out raising chickens and can make a better decision when you decide to raise them too.