Raising Backyard Chickens  

Whether you are trying to save a bit of money by raising your chickens for meat and eggs, or looking to add some organic home-grown food to your table, raising chickens at home is a great way to start.


Anyone can raise chickens, but you need to live somewhere that has the space for them.


A moderate-sized backyard would be fine for a few chickens, though many cities do have bylaws that would make this illegal. Check out your city rules before trying to raise chickens in an urban yard.      


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HousingYour Chickens 


You don't need acres of farmland if you want to raise chickens, but don't cram too many of them into Housing Chickensa tiny pen either. Stressed chickens don't lay too many eggs, and they will fight more when crowded. A secure little house should have at least 6 sq ft of space per chicken. More room is better if you can manage it. Your chickens should have a sizable fenced pen so they can move around and get some exercise and fresh air. Allow for about 12 sq ft per chicken, for the outside area. Letting them roam free is better, but be prepared to lose some chickens to loose dogs or cats. And free-range chickens might end up in your neighbors yard.

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Feeding Your Chickens Backyard Chicken


Feeding your backyard chickens is a bit more complicated that just tossing them some corn. Make sure you have decent food for them and they'll stay healthy for you. A mixed feed is best, containing cracked corn along with a number of other whole grains and feed pellets. It should have good protein content too. You can save a bit of money on your chicken feed by feeding your backyard flock leftovers from the kitchen. That's right, you can toss your vegetable cuttings, fruit cores and even leftover pasta into the chicken pen to give your birds some variety and extra nutrition. Leave them fresh water at all times too, preferably in a shallow chicken waterer.

More information about feeding chickens



So What Breed of Chickens? 


This question might take a bit of research before you can decide on what breed of chicken you want to raise. There are many dozens of different chicken breeds, each with its own unique qualities. Chickens that you might buy from a local farmer will likely be mixed breeds to some extent. Hopefully, he'll have a rough idea what kind of birds they are. If you want backyard chickens for eggs, try to get Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas or Leghorns. Most common breeds today are classed "dual purpose", meaning they are acceptable for either meat or egg production. Dual purpose birds would be Plymouth Rocks or Wyandottes.

More information about chicken breeds


 Raising Chickens without a rooster?


Need a Rooster? 


You may have avoided raising poultry because you were worried about the noise of a rooster. You'll be happy to know you don't need a rooster unless you plan on hatching out chicks from your eggs. For someone just learning how to raise chickens, you will probably not be doing any chick hatching just yet. So just avoid a rooster for now.




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