Raising Backyard Chickens Quick Start Guide

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Raising Backyard Chickens Quick Start Guide

Raising Backyard Chickens
Raising Backyard Chickens Quick Start Guide

So you are interested in raising backyard chickens?

Whether this is your first flock or you have had backyard chickens for years, we will cover everything you need to know about raising backyard chickens in this easy quick start guide.

We have had flocks of chickens for about 6 years.  We started with 6 , the minimum to purchase in the state of Maine.  We now have 4 chicken coops and specialty breeds in which we raise for hatching chicks and farm sales. It can be addicting so be prepared!

Raising Backyard Chickens

Let's first start with the basics.  Chickens will need adequate shelter, often referred to as a "coop", chicken grain and water.

1. Adequate shelter-   Decide how many chickens you want and then build BIGGER. Not because chickens require a lot of space, but because they are addicting. It is a fact.  Once you get into raising chickens you will start to notice all the different breeds and you will want more.  Make sure your coop floor space is 2 square feet per bird. So if you want 6 chickens the floor should be 12 square feet. This is just an estimate, but is best for health and cleanliness.

Other coop considerations

  • have at least 1 window
  • water resistant outside walls (exterior paint works well)
  • enough roost space for each bird to sit (roost)
  • nesting boxes- at least 1 per 4 birds
  • door for the chickens to go in and out

TIP*  Before designing your coop, first decide if you would like your chickens to free range or if you will attach a fenced in pen called a "run".

BETTER TIP-  I know you have seen all those fancy coops on Facebook and Pinterest.  Do yourself a favor. Skip it. Save your money to buy grain and more chicks.  Your coops will NOT look like that after a year.

Raising Backyard Chickens

2. Chicken Grain -  for hens to lay eggs they need a high protein diet that comes from Layer Grain.  The grain comes in a few forms-  pellets, crumble and mash. It is your choice which form you use, however there are some things to consider.  Pellets are larger pieces, best for full grown birds. Crumble is great for bantams and juveniles.   Mash is usually given to chicks or used mixed with water to hand feed sick birds.
Raising Backyard ChickensFor chicks-  when you are raising chicks you will need to purchase a chick feed. This chick feed has vital nutrients necessary for the chicks to grow.  There is usually a medicated and non medicated version. If you plan to raise organic eggs and chicken, opt for the non medicated.  A chick starter kit is also highly recommended, it will come with everything you need to start your chicks including valuable information and tips.

Raising Backyard Chickens

Water-  Chickens need to have access to fresh water all day long. Constantly. Even during the winter. This can make it difficult during the winter, but there are some great DIY water warmer projects out there.  If chickens have food and not enough water they can experience issues like impacted crop which can be fatal.

Of course these are just the absolute basics to start with.

There is a lot more to know and that is why decided to launch a new site called Let's Chat Chicken!

 

Raising Backyard Chickens

Raising Backyard Chickens