When I was a kid, one of my uncles, had a chicken farm in the backyard. Though as a kid, I wasn’t really a fan of chickens. I liked the eggs, so my aunt would keep me updated about what was happening with chickens.
The chickens used to roam around in the backyard feeding on weeds, small plants, seeds, and insects. They were very cute. This was the main reason for me to build my own backyard chicken farm.
Having a backyard chicken farm is both amazing and stressful, but it is always worth it. In this article, I am pouring everything I learned in the last 3 years. After reading this article you will be able to start your own backyard chicken farm.
Over the last 3 years, I have built up my own backyard chicken farm. I got my first batch of chicks in the month of November, three years ago. Since then, I have not bought any more chickens.
A backyard chicken farm has numerous benefits. For me, the most important benefit is not having to worry about the eggs. I come home, collect eggs and make some yummy scrambled eggs with veggies.
Backyard chicken farming is great for adults, who like to eat organic food. My kids love eating fresh eggs every day. My neighbours are also very happy that we have chickens in the backyard. They often come over to our house just to pick eggs. There are a lot of benefits to having a small backyard farm. I have laid everything down below. Let’s Start.
What is Backyard Chicken Farming?
Our ancestors used chickens as a source of food. Though now it has become more of a hobby rather than a necessity. As we all know, raising chickens at home is becoming very popular now.
This is because they are relatively easier to care for as compared to other pets such as cats and dogs. Not only this but there is no need for you to walk the dog or clean the litter box like in the case with cats. On top of that, they don’t make much noise and thus keeping them at home doesn’t cause any trouble for your neighbours and family members.
Chickens are also very friendly in nature. They will sit on your lap (well most of them) and enjoy being around you. This makes it easier for you to take care of them rather than taking care of an animal that is more aggressive in nature. Even when they get aggressive, they do not pose any serious threat like other animals. Since I have always had chickens, I never had to worry about kids playing in the backyard, while the chickens were still open.
Backyard chicken farming in simple words is a practice of raising chickens in your backyard as part of a hobby. It is becoming increasingly popular these days because people are realizing the benefits associated with it.
One of those benefits is that you will never have to worry about buying eggs from grocery stores again. You can hatch them and then raise them as much as you want. In fact, if you have enough space in your backyard, you can have an entire flock of chickens living there under your care.
It sounds amazing, right? To be honest it really is! Let’s move forward.
Why should I raise chickens in my backyard?
In order for us to answer this question, we need to figure out why people are shifting towards this practice. If you are wondering, then I can tell you very confidently that there are many reasons for the same. All of them are mentioned below in brief.
- Majority of people want to lead a healthy lifestyle, hence they prefer organic food options rather than processed foods available at grocery stores.
- It is also great for adults, who have busy lives to eat fresh eggs every day without having to worry about hygiene or other similar things associated with groceries stores.
- There are many health benefits associated with eating fresh homegrown eggs every day. Though I suggest you research about the same and see what benefits it has for you.
- A great benefit associated with raising chickens is that they will give you manure for your garden. This manure not only helps in growing your plants better, but it also adds to the fertility of your soil.
- It is really great fun. Watching the little chicks running around the backyard is very entertaining for both kids and adults.
- A small flock of chickens in your backyard will not only be beneficial for you but will also help in controlling the bugs and pests in your garden. This way you can grow fresh organic food, without worrying.
How do I get started raising chickens in my backyard?
I understand if you are a bit sceptical about the whole process of raising chickens at your place. I was the same when I first got started with it. But trust me, after having done this for years now, I can tell you – there is nothing to worry about.
All you need to do is make sure that you have enough space in your backyard, where they can roam around. They don’t require much care and will eat whatever they find outside their coop, be it grass or food particles laying on the ground, etc. As mentioned earlier, chickens are very friendly by nature and will not cause any trouble for your family members either.
You will need to make sure that their coop is safe and secure. Not only from predators but also from weather conditions like rain etc.
If you are thinking about raising them as pets only (which I recommend), then you can start with a small flock of 3-4 chickens in your backyard. This way it would be easier for you to properly take care of them. You can consider increasing the number if your flock is thriving well in your yard.
What are the costs of raising a flock of chickens?
This is another common question that people ask when they first start considering chicken farming as their hobby. Here is what you need to know about it:
- You do not need to invest much money in purchasing them initially. You can buy baby chicks or even fertilized eggs instead, which will help you reduce your initial costs significantly.
- There are many online websites available where you can purchase everything needed for your coop at comparatively low prices. These days, there are offers and discounts available for every product too.
- Many local dealers and manufacturers offer special discounts for wholesale poultry farming purchases. You can avail of these benefits too.
- You don’t have to buy all the equipment at once, in case you are in need of money for some reason. You can always purchase the things that are urgently required at that time.
- The feed is one of your biggest expenses in this business. The good news is that you will not have to invest much in it either. There is already specially formulated feed available for different types of chicken which you can use almost carelessly.
- The other thing that eats your money is medication when your livestock falls sick or contracts a disease. But again, there are many online sites where you get the best quality medications at affordable prices.
- There are many local businesses that offer special deals for poultry farming equipment. You can also get great discounts on bulk purchases of supplies like feed, medications, etc too.
- Once you have figured out what all equipment and supplies will be required to start, it is time to calculate the total cost. If you don’t want to start with a high investment, I will recommend you to just buy a coop and start with 3-4 hens.
Which Breed of chicken Should I get?
No matter if you are looking for an exotic breed or just a good old backyard breed, you will have plenty of options to choose from. When you are starting out on the right foot, the best breed to go with is by far the Rhode Island Red Chicken.
You can find them anywhere for sale and they are great egg layers as well as meat providers. Another popular backyard chicken breed is Barred Rocks which also make tons of eggs, but they require a little more care than the Rhode Island Reds do. The Buff Orpington variety is another great option that does well both for producing eggs and food too! They lay about 200 – 250 eggs annually which is on par with any other breeds mentioned before.
If you want some shades of color in your flock, consider choosing one of these rare chicken breeds for sale. They are beautiful, productive, and very low maintenance… Once you start, you will not regret it.
Before choosing the bread, make sure about the temperature and humidity in your area. For example, some breeds like the Ancona will do very well in an area with a dryer climate than others. Also, think about the coloring of the chicken because it may affect how hot or cold they can stand. Redbirds, for example, are very sensitive to low temperatures while white birds prefer warmer climates.
Tips For Building A Nice Chicken Coop
Now that you know what breed of chicken is best for your area and how much it will cost you to raise them, the next step is building a nice coop to keep them safe and sound. Here’s what you need to know about housing your livestock:
- You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on constructing a lovely shelter for your chickens. You can actually make one yourself by spending only a few hundred dollars. Just take good care while purchasing lumber, screws, etc because substandard material may not be able to withstand storms or predators.
- There are several places where you can buy cheaper materials for chicken coops. It is always better if you can purchase used objects because new products are expensive.
- It is important for you to design your coop according to the climate conditions where you live. Chickens cannot tolerate extremely hot or cold temperatures, therefore you need to make sure that they always have enough water and shade in summer while warm in winter.
- You should never keep too many chickens in a single coop because it may lead to the spread of disease through one another. If possible, you can keep only four chickens at a time if you want some extra cash by selling their eggs on a monthly basis. Also, try not overcrowding your chickens because it will be hard for them to move around freely without getting into each other’s way.
- The next most important thing is the ventilation system of the chicken coop. If you are living in a place where it gets really hot, then there should be enough openings for air to pass.
- Since chickens like to dig around, make sure that you cover the floor with some mesh wire so that they cannot scratch away all your hard work.
- You can plant ivy or any other type of grass over the soil surrounding the coop because it will act as an insulator and keep them cool during the summer months.
- You should also keep in mind that if you are building a chicken coop from scratch, you need to make sure it has the right type of roof because chickens might not be able to tolerate heavy snowfalls. Also, using cedarwood for the exterior of the coop is highly recommended as it repels mites and other pests.
- Chicken feeders come in different shapes and sizes. If you plan on having more hens, then I suggest going for one with multiple feeding stations. It will ensure that they all get to eat in turn, without having to fight over food.
- It is better if you can find a way to lock your chickens inside the coop at night because it will keep predators away and give them enough time to rest.
- A good way to secure your coop is by using hardware cloth (copper or metal mesh) at the bottom of the fence that will prevent predators like raccoons, foxes, etc from digging their way into your chicken run.
How to take care of my new pet chicken
Once you have built a nice coop for your chickens, the next step is taking care of them properly. Here’s what you need to know about the proper way to feed and take care of them –
- It is best not to let your chickens roam around because they will eat up all your plants. Instead, choose a specific area in your backyard where they can stay and dig around in search of worms and bugs.
- Make sure that you provide them with enough shade during the summer months because too much exposure to sunlight may make them sick. During winter months when it gets really cold, make sure that they always have access to fresh water and warm shelter where they can stay comfortably.
- Provide your chickens with enough space between them and other birds. They may not get along well with other chicken breeds. When they roam around in your backyard, keep an eye on their movements so you can intervene whenever there is a scuffle or fight among them.
- Keep a careful count of the number of eggs you collect every day so that you would know how many to take out for breakfast every morning. Collecting too many eggs will be more work for you because you would have to clean the hen house at least twice a day instead of once. To make sure that your hens stay healthy, make it a point to give them fresh water and food every day.
- Chickens need lots of attention from their owners because if they don’t receive enough human interaction, they would start to peck at each other. Make sure that you spend time with them every day because this will keep them happy and healthy.
- Meals for chickens need to be prepared specifically for them so make sure that the chicken feed and water are always clean and fresh. Change their food and water every day so they can stay healthy and free from diseases.
- Expect that they will leave some droppings on the floor especially when you find it difficult to catch them. They may be able to fly over your fence, so make sure that you keep them in a closed area with no way out.
- When picking up eggs, always store them back inside their coop because if they are left outside for too long, the chickens may trample all over them and destroy their shells.
- At least twice or thrice weekly, you would need to remove their waste from around the coop so that it won’t start to smell bad. Proper disposal of chicken droppings is also essential because these can cause diseases among humans who inhale them.
Safety tips for keeping your chicken safe from predators and pests
- Always keep an eye on them to see that they are properly taken care of. Chickens don’t need much work when it comes to taking care of them because all you have to do is make sure that they always have access to fresh water and food.
- When in doubt, always consult a vet or a professional chicken raiser who can give you advice on how best to take care of your chickens. This will help ensure their safety and well-being.
- Birds especially chickens become very good pets if people just treat them nicely. It may be difficult at first, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, things will start going smoothly. Just remember that being with your chickens is all about taking it slow so you won’t have any problems with them, no matter how wild or crazy they may seem.
- You don’t have to let your chickens run around the whole backyard because all you need to do is provide them some food and replacement water supply every day. This way, they won’t roam around anywhere else but inside their coop or chicken run.
- The only thing that you should be worried about when raising chickens in your backyard, are predators like some wild cat breeds, dogs, foxes, wolves, etc. Also make sure that if ever they get out of their boundaries, there shouldn’t be anything for them to eat or drink on the other side. It would also help if you increase the height of your fence to keep them safe.
- Always be wary of any signs that may indicate that there are pests around the area. Those who live near forests or jungles should take extra caution because these areas are infested with wild animals like snakes, bears, and other creatures which scare away chickens or prey on them if ever they get an opportunity to do so.
- Keep track of the time when you feed your chickens in the morning and in the evening. They shouldn’t have anything before it’s time for their meal, but after every feeding session, you can let them roam outside.
Through proper care and accommodations, you can actually raise chickens in your backyard. But if ever there are some changes to the way you deal with them, it would be best to seek the assistance of a specialist who knows how they work before things get out of control.
To summarize all the information given above, the following are the core things that you have to keep in mind when raising chickens.
- If you want them to live a long and healthy life, it would be best that all their needs are met. Make sure that they always have access to food and clean water before anything else so they can stay happy and free from diseases.
- Chickens are not very demanding when it comes to taking care of them because all you have to do is come up with a schedule for feeding time, replacement supply of water, cleaning the coop every now and then, etc.
- If ever there are some signs that predators could be lurking around your area, take extra precautions by making your chicken run higher or increasing their fence’s height. Also, take note of the time when you feed them and try not to let them roam around outside before their scheduled meal times.
- Whenever in doubt, always ask for help from a specialist so they could give you some tips on how to care for your chickens properly. If ever there are other problems that may happen because of your inexperience, nothing will go wrong as long as you trust and listen to those who know better than you do.
Backyard Chicken Farming is a great way to have fresh eggs without having to go out and buy them from the store. With just some basic knowledge on how chickens work, you can raise your own flock of backyard chickens with minimal effort + it is a lot of fun.
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