As people are learning more and more about where food comes from, there has been a greater focus on the wellbeing of the animals that produce our food. It has become increasingly popular for people to raise their own chickens.
There are numerous benefits to these backyard creatures and you have the security of knowing you are benefiting from happy, healthy, antibiotic-free chickens.
Compared to other animals, chickens are relatively easy to take care of. They’re a great form of chemical-free pest control, and chicken waste is one of the world’s best fertilizers.
Eggs are one of the main reasons people raise chickens. It’s great to be able to enjoy and share the eggs with friends and family. The yolks of home-raised chicken eggs are a much richer yellow and have much better flavor than store-bought eggs.
Buy your chickens as young, day-old chicks. You will need to set up a safe space for them. The floor should contain pine shavings or corn cob bedding. This is especially important for chicks.
Baby chicks need to be kept warm with a warming light at 90-100 degrees F for the first week of their life. Every week, this temperature can decrease be about 5 degrees F. They will also need food and water. It is important that they are allowed some time to play and get used to their human owners. In addition, its good to remember that determining the sex of baby chickens is difficult. It is likely you will get a rooster in your bunch. Having a rooster could be illegal in your city.
Once they are adults, your chickens will need a coop. This should provide two to three square feet of space per chicken and be able to protect them from predators. Their space outside should have around four square feet per chicken. The chickens need regular food and water as well as treats in the form of vegetables, bread, or bugs.
While they don’t need a lot of space, your chickens will produce odors. Regular maintenance can mitigate some of this, but anyone who embarks in chicken ownership should know that while they are generally low-maintenance, their coop will need to be cleaned weekly in order to prevent disease. Chickens generate a lot of waste, and they can’t be house-trained or litter trained, so that waste will be everywhere they go.
If you have a dog, keep in mind that some dogs have a high prey drive and can chase and possibly catch your chickens if they’re not protected in their coop.
If you’re ready for the commitment and you have the space, backyard chickens can be a great addition to your urban garden.