Raising chickens can be a great way to make sure you have access to the freshest eggs that you know were raised humanely. It’s important to note that chickens need space to roam, protection from the elements, and protection from predators. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t break the law by keeping livestock in your neighborhood or city if it is prohibited.
Check Your Local Laws
Your city ordinances should define the restrictions on keeping chickens in your backyard. It’s also a good idea to be on very good terms with your neighbors if you’re planning to put in a coop. Be ready to share some eggs! In addition to checking out the rules for your city, county, and state, be ready to review any rules in your homeowner’s association. As a general rule, the newer your neighborhood, the more impact HOA restrictions will have. If you need to petition to amend the HOA documentation, get it done before you buy your birds.
Materials You Need
You will need a chicken coop for the chickens to live in safely. If you have some carpentry skills, consider building a coop on wheels that you can move to a new stretch of grass to allow your chickens to roam free-range. If you build your coop with clearance and a door, you can shut up the chickens at night and avoid the risk of predators. Chickens can eat a lot of bugs, so you can feed them well and get rid of lawn pests. Depending on where you live, you may need a heated water bowl and other winterizing precautions. There are different types of chicken feeders, and which kind you get will depend on how many chickens you have. Chicken feed can draw rodents, so be sure to keep the major feed stocks shut up in sealed tins or buckets.
Comfort and Lighting
Cold weather can be very hard on chickens and can even kill your little chicks. In addition to a heated water bowl, be sure to invest in heat lamps so you can warm up the coop on the coldest nights. Adding a window to your coop is a good idea to collect solar warmth; just be sure to open it on the hottest days. There are also of course health concerns you will need to address over time. Look into wormers and other dietary supplements to help keep your hens healthy. As hens age, the quality of their eggs may go down. Be ready to bring in younger hens if you notice blood spots in the eggs or a lower production rate.
Raising chickens for eggs is a great way to reduce your food expenses and improve your diet. Welcome to managing livestock and participating in agriculture! Raising chicks is a great way to teach your children about responsibility and food.
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