The Basics of Having Backyard Chickens

Have you ever wanted a pet chicken but were unsure if they were right for you or if they were even allowed in your area?

Even in urban areas, chickens make excellent pets. The most crucial thing to keep in mind before you buy your first chicken is the legality of keeping chickens in your area.

Chickens are excellent pets for the backyard. After moving to a tiny town with my spouse, I was eager to get my hands on my first chicken.

There were so many different feathers, egg colors, and temperaments to choose from that it took me a long time to narrow it down. To find my “ideal” chickens, I headed to my local feed store.

Because all of the chicks were adorable and cuddly instead of four, I took home 16 instead of four. Upon arrival at my house, I found out quickly that having a pet chicken was far more complicated than I had anticipated.

Do Chickens Live in Cities?

Surprisingly, many cities, especially suburban regions, allow for pet chickens in any case, it is imperative that you thoroughly examine your city’s regulations on the subject.

There can be numerous limits on the amount and sort of chicken a city will allow. For example, when it comes to hens, one city may allow a maximum of 10 while another may only allow 5.

If your neighbors don’t appreciate being awakened at the crack of dawn by the crowing of roosters, you may have difficulty owning one in many cities. Asking your city’s rules on chickens through email or phone is the best method to learn more.

The Best Chicken Breed for Your Backyard

How do you know which chicken breed is best for you?

There are several considerations to consider while deciding on the ideal breed for your family.

  • Is a chicken’s sex important?
  • Climate
  • Temperament
  • laying of eggs
  • Getting used to being confined
  • Special Qualities that Identify a Chick’s Sex

Sex-linked breeds of chicken may be a better choice if you reside in an area where they are not allowed. Crossing two distinct breeds of chicken results in producing a female offspring of one color and a male offspring of a different color.

You can nearly guarantee that the chick you’re purchasing is either male or female by doing this. Chicks can be identified in a variety of ways. Vent sexing, for example, is typically performed by professionals to minimize risk to the chick.

The form of their wings can sometimes identify male and female chicks. This procedure may be used only a few days old and with a few types of chicks. If you don’t see combs on the chicks or hear them crowing, you won’t know they’re different until much later

We like to get eggs for our family; hence we choose the Golden Comet variety.In addition to being certain that they are female, these hens begin producing eggs earlier than most other breeds and are known for their sweetness.

Climate

Various varieties have evolved, not just for their beauty but because they can flourish in varied climates.

Consider the weather where you live before looking at feather patterns or egg colors when selecting a chicken for your farm. When temperatures drop below freezing, chickens with thin feathers and small combs are at risk of freezing and suffering frostbite.

For chickens that live in warm areas, having a less dense plumage is desirable. If you’re trying to figure out which breed is right for you, keep in mind the terms “cold hardy” and “hot tolerant” when doing your study.

Temperament

Even though chickens are descended from wild Asian birds known as Jungle Fowl, they have been bred over the millennia to have varied looks and traits.

It’s one of those characteristics that are important. Some birds have been developed to retain their instinctive aggressiveness to protect them from predators, while others have been raised to become docile and affectionate pets.

If you’re going to let your chickens go free, you’ll want to choose a tough breed to defend itself against predators. These chickens, especially roosters, are likely to assault you and your other pets, so be careful. Choose a chicken with a calm disposition when looking for a pet or if the animal will be around children.

My favorite chicken in terms of disposition is Silkies. Despite their lack of egg-laying prowess and the fact that they have a hairy coat rather than a feathered one, Silkies are affectionate and gentle creatures who make wonderful first pets for youngsters.

Previously, Rhode Island Reds have been a source of antagonism for me. When my children were younger, the roosters would chase them and try to peck at them.If you spend a lot of time with your chicken, they will develop a unique personality to their environment.

A wonderful approach to get hens to trust you is to get them to associate rewards with you while they are young and interact with them. Tip: When handling a chicken that may seem upset, hold your palm over their eyes till they settle down and talk to them in a silent voice.

Egg Production

Consider whether or not egg production is crucial to you before making a chicken breed selection. Like our Golden Comets, some chickens are prolific egg layers with the rate of laying one egg per day.

Other breeds of chicken lay between one and two eggs every week. It’s also possible that you’d want a specific egg color.

Note: There is no nutritional difference between eggs with different colored shells. It’s all about what the chicken eats, which determines the eggs’ nutritional worth.

The egg output of some chicken breeds decreases in the winter, whereas that of others increases. The amount of sunlight a chicken is exposed to effects the number of eggs they produce.

Adjustment to Constraints

While some chicken varieties have adapted to living in small cages, others are better suited to roaming free. You should choose a breed of chicken that does well in confinement if you just have a small amount of space.

A chicken can hurt itself or other chickens if it doesn’t feel like it has enough room. Create an area for the chickens to spread their wings and legs if you can.

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Highlights of the Show

The final step in choosing a chicken breed is to identify the most important characteristics to you. There is a wide range of colors and patterns to choose from for chickens. In addition to their wacky head feathers, polish chickens have frizzled, curly feathered feathers, while silkies are known for having fuzzy plumage.

Big chickens, small chickens, laced, barred, striped, speckled, and more may all be found here. Check out this list of chicken breeds compiled by Oklahoma State University to learn more about them.

How Much Room Do Chickens Require to Live?

The number of hens and the breed type determines how much space each needs. As long as they have adequate space to move around, take dust baths, roost, and be able to escape from other chickens if necessary, most chickens can survive in quite tight confines.

A chicken’s favorite pastime is pecking at things, and if they’re kept in a tiny place for too long, they can become bored. A daytime coop for chickens is a fantastic idea, as previously said. A chicken can roam around a backyard all day long if it is protected from other animals and there are no predators

A simple chicken run made of chicken wire can be erected to keep a chicken safe from predators while allowing it to roam freely. At night, chickens seek out the safety of their roosts and will often come back to their perches on their own accord. This makes gathering the chickens as the sun sets a simple task.

Putting together a Chicken Cage

The internet is rife with creative and eye-catching designs for chicken coops, and Pinterest is a great place to start. As far as making your chickens a comfortable and safe place to live, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do.

There are, however, a few considerations to keep in mind when designing a chicken coop:

  • Will the hens be protected from the elements in this way?
  • Is it easy to get to the eggs?
  • Approximately how many hens does it have the capacity to house?
  • Is there a place to sleep for it?
  • Is it capable of protecting the chickens from predators?

Taking into account the weather and the elements a chicken coop doesn’t make the chickens comfortable and safe, it doesn’t matter how cute it is. A heat light should be installed in your chicken coop if you reside in a chilly climate.

Keeping the heat lamp high enough is important so that the chickens don’t get burned by bumping into it. Also, be certain that the location of your coop allows you to plug in a lamp using an extension cord.

A modest fan can be put on to keep the chickens cool if you live in an area where it is particularly hot. Once again, make sure that the chord can be plugged into an electrical outlet and that all wires and cords are out of the reach of the hens.

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How to Get to the Eggs

Get a route to obtain the eggs without upsetting the birds before you start collecting them. Nesting boxes near the coop’s entrance and a tiny box with a hinged top on the back are common choices

Consider providing a nesting area for your broody chickens if you plan on hatching eggs, and make sure the area is large enough to accommodate a hen. A hen can get broody even if there isn’t a rooster around (sit on eggs to hatch them).

A rooster is necessary for eggs to be fertile because they would not produce chicks without one. Make sure to remove any eggs from the brooding hen.

The number of chickens in the coop.

A chicken coop should not be overcrowded. The pecking order of chickens is rigid, even though they are social animals.

The ‘hen peck’ at other chickens to demonstrate their supremacy over them and their place in the chicken hierarchy, and the other chickens will allow this to happen until they are ‘hen pecked’ to death by the other chickens.

Pecking can also be a sign of stress in chickens, whether that stress is caused by other animals outside, extreme temperatures, or boredom.

Chickens need their area and other things to peck at if they are to avoid being picked on. It is recommended that each chicken have at least 3 square feet per chicken and place hard fruit like apples and cucumbers to pack.If buying a chicken coop, follow the recommended requirements for chicken capacity.

The capacity of chickens is usually broken down into two categories, one for standard-sized chickens and one for bantam-sized chickens. Penned-up hens require more coop space than free-range chickens since they spend most of their time in the coop at night.

Poultry Cages

When the sun sets, chickens’ natural tendency is to seek higher ground. This is to avoid predators, which they have done since they were first domesticated.

It’s reassuring that even if chickens are free to roam during the day, they tend to return to the same secure haven at night. You and the chicken can rest easy knowing that no predators will be able to threaten them while they are sleeping in the chicken coop.

A Defense Against Other Animals for Coop

Wild and domesticated animals alike are always looking for a quick and easy chicken dish. Chickens have few natural defenses, making them easy prey for other predators. It has been our experience to cope with predatory animals such as bobcats and other night-time creatures.

If you want to keep your chickens safe, you must remember that animals might attack from all angles. The ground should be covered with chicken wire to keep your chickens safe from predators.

This will prevent animals that like to dig and burrow from getting into your chicken coop. You should also cover the cage’s top to prevent anything.

Again, chicken wire is my go-to recommendation. Room to roam is essential for most poultry.

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Securing the Future of Free-Range Egg Production

Free-range chickens were formerly a part of our family’s farm. I was awed by how much room they had to roam and scavenge for bugs and plants.

To keep animals from assaulting them, we set up an electric net outside of their property most cases, hawk attacks were avoided if the hens had someplace to hide.

However, the local stray dogs discovered an all-you-can-eat chicken buffet after one of the children neglected to plug in the fencing. It was a scene straight out of a horror film.

Electric fencing has advantages it’s easy to carry.

When it’s plugged in, it works great and it provides your chickens with the widest range of roosting options.

Consider the following while deciding whether or not to employ electric fencing:

  • the fence’s height and space between each post
  • where you get your electricity from
  • water accessibility for chickens

There are various options for livestock fencing, but it’s crucial to choose one specifically designed for poultry. To prevent a chicken from squeezing or perhaps flying over the fence, this will ensure that the fence spacing isn’t large enough.

Chickens can leap tall fences by flapping their wings and launching themselves from a higher perch despite their limited flying abilities. Electric fencing uses a variety of power sources. In addition to plug-in options, solar power is also a possibility.

You can only keep your hens where an electrical extension chord can reach, which is a problem with the usual plug-in power source. A solar power source is more flexible, but it can only be used with enough sunlight to power it.

Keeping Chickens in Your Backyard Is a Good Idea

Having chickens in my yard has been a joy.

They work wonders against pests. There are no spiders, scorpions, or centipedes in my house while they are allowed to roam around my yard

This is a fantastic little garbage disposal for the kitchen. We have a lot of fun giving them vegetable scraps, both my children and myself. To them, watermelon rinds are extremely delicious. They make excellent first-time companions. For starters, our youngsters are given the task of caring for our hens as their first job.

They are taught that animals require food, water, and a clean environment in which they can thrive. ‘Seeing how many eggs the chickens produce in one day fascinates the youngsters.

The charming little chicks’ development into giant balls of feathers is a favorite part of the show for the younger audience members. Their excrement is an excellent source of fertilizer.

Having backyard hens means that we can leave them alone for a few days when we travel. They don’t even realize that we’re gone if we replenish their food and water dispensers before leaving.

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Backyard chickens have several drawbacks.

With backyard chickens, there are a few downsides.

  • Without frequent cleaning, the coop might develop an unpleasant odor.
  • Ants are drawn to their food.
  • They have a nasty habit of yelling at each other.
  • The rooster crows throughout the day, not just at dawn.
  • They defecate on everything.
  • Fingers are their favorite target.
  • In addition, they can draw a lot of flies.

As long as the hens have enough room to roam and aren’t under any sort of stress, they’ll typically be able to coexist peacefully.

Make sure to check out your local feed stores like Tractor Supply or an internet chick breeder to choose the suitable chicken for you and your family. Check out this essay from the University of Florida on the basics of chick care.

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