When I started raising chickens a few years ago, it was all spur of the moment. I was gone on a business trip and when I came home there was a rooster crowing in my backyard. What was this?!? I lived in a subdivision, rural one most considered, but still a subdivision. And to top it all off, I asked for quail.
Well that was my beginning and little did I know there is much involved in raising chickens. For those of you who may be reading this and are considering raising your own flock of chickens, here are a few factors to consider:
- City chickens–If you live in a subdivision or in the city boundaries, check to see what the ordinances are concerning poultry or chickens. When I got my chickens, I found out later that we were not supposed to be raising chickens in our subdivision, especially roosters. I was lucky, my neighbors did not care so we got to keep ours. We have since moved and now my chickens are farm chickens with no rules or regulations.
- Meat chickens or laying chickens–Or both. Whatever the reasons behind wanting to raise chickens there are a variety of chicken breeds that are good for chicken eggs, hatching eggs, and meat poultry. There are a variety of sites on the internet that give good information about poultry breeds that will be good for your purpose. Some breeds are better developed for egg laying, while others are good for brooding and raising baby chicks. And there are those that are dual purpose breeds that are good egg layers and meat birds. When I first started my idea was to have egg laying chickens; I just can’t bring myself to eat one my birds yet. Now as some of the hens have matured and have stopped laying I am considering a pot of chicken and dumplings as long as my husband does the dirty work of preparing the chicken.
- Free ranging or confined–Depending on the environment you live in will determine your ability to free range chickens or provide a chicken coop with a run. All chickens require a place for protection and roosting at night from predators, so be prepared to provide a chicken coop. If you are free ranging, then a chicken run will not be necessary, but if the chickens stay in the coop and chicken run is beneficial for exercise. I free range my chickens so during the day if a predator is in the area they will run under the protection of a tree, building, or even back to their coops. If in a chicken run, you will need to provide a covering to ensure predators cannot get to your chickens day or night.
- Poultry supplies–There is a large variety of feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, storage containers, and more that are necessary when raising chickens. Do your homework and determine what type of supplies you want to offer your new flock. The best resources for that is another chicken farmer. They have probably been through two or three different feeders and such until they have come up with what works best for them.
These are just a few of the things you need to think about when considering raising chickens. When I began I learned daily about utilizing the resources around me to take care of my chickens. I used flower pot bases as feeders, until I learned I was wasting more food than they were eating. My husband quickly came up with something made from pvc pipe that helped to alleviate waste and we keep building more as we expand our flocks. We used low-profile buckets as waterers and I still do this if I run into situations where I have no waterer. You learn as you go.
I highly recommend raising chickens to anyone who asks. The entertainment alone is worth the experience. Not to mention the eggs we eat daily and the learning experiences of caring for and breeding chickens while hatching eggs every year. Perhaps I will find out about chicken and dumplings in the future.
Tags: raising chickens