Raising chickens in your backyard is a fun adventure for many families. Some choose to raise their own chickens to save money, while others are motivated by health-consciousness and a desire for local, natural food sources.
In a recession or economic depression, the ability to raise some of one’s own food is an important survival skill.
To successfully keep chickens, you will need to do the following:
- Choose a breed of chickens. There are many different chicken breeds , and which ones you choose depens upon your purpose. Learn about the best laying hens , if you intend to raise chickens just for eggs. If you want a combination of meat and egg birds, you can mix your flock or use a good dual-purpose bird, such as the Plymouth Rock.
- Prepare your chicken coop and run. Keeping your birds safe from predators, both domestic and wild, is one of your main tasks when it comes to raising chickens. A sturdy chicken coop with nesting boxes for laying hens can be made of scrap material. It should be enclosed by or attached to a yard fenced in with chicken wire to keep chickens in and curious cats out.
- Purchase chicken feed and supplies such as a waterer and feeding tray. A bale of straw for bedding in the nesting boxes is a good idea, too.
- Buy your chickens and introduce them to their new home. Day-old baby chicks will need to be kept indoors or in a brood house kept warm enough for new chicks until they are old enough to live outside.
- Feed chickens daily and ensure they have a constant water supply. In the winter, check each day to make sure the water is not frozen.
- Collect eggs once a day when your hens are laying, unless you have a setting hen who is broody and will hatch fertilized eggs.