If you think you hear chickens clucking behind your neighbor’s fence, you just might be right. Chickens are no longer relegated to farms and ranches way out in the country.
Today, urban families are choosing to raise small flocks of chickens for the organic eggs and meat they can provide.
These eight tips on raising chickens will help you decide if chicken keeping is the right next step for you and your family.
1. Not all chicken breeds are beginner-friendly
As Poultry Australia points out, chickens literally come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
But some breeds are easier to keep for first-time chicken keepers. And some breeds may be harder in warmer or colder climates.
It is important to study your options and select a breed of chicken that will do well based on where you live and what you have to offer.
2. Chickens need predator-proof chicken housing
The unpleasant truth is that lots of animals besides humans find chicken eggs and chicken meat delicious.
Local urban wildlife will definitely notice when you have chickens on your property. The threat becomes especially severe in winter when other food sources are scarce.
You need to ensure you provide predator-proof wooden chicken coops for your birds that keep them safe during the day and night.
3. Chickens need other chickens for company
Chickens are intelligent birds with extroverted personalities. They are very capable of bonding with humans, especially if you raise them from the egg.
But chickens still need the company of other chickens to thrive in a captive setting. As Australian Handyman highlights, you should always plan to keep two or three chickens rather than only one.
4. Chickens may not be allowed in every area
As The Old Farmer’s Almanac warns, different provinces may have different regulations about where chicken-keeping is permitted.
This is of greater concern if you live in a suburban or inner-city area. It is especially important to check local regulations if you want to keep a rooster with your hens.
Either way, you definitely want to check with your local council before investing in the supplies and materials you will need to keep chickens on your property.
5. Chickens can be expensive to keep and care for
It is true that you may never have to shop for fresh eggs again after adding chickens to your family. But you are unlikely to experience economic savings from chicken-keeping.
The costs can add up with each bird you keep, especially if a bird becomes ill and needs veterinary attention.
From chicken feed and bedding to a chicken-sitter when you need to travel, it will be important to consider whether this is a good time for you to invest in keeping your own chickens.
6. Eggs are more challenging than baby chicks to raise
It is certainly easy enough to acquire your own fertilized eggs to incubate, hatch and raise. In many cases, you can even order your eggs online.
But there is a lot more that can go wrong when you are trying to incubate a chicken egg, hatch the newborn chicken, and raise it than when you simply invest in a healthy older chick or even an adult bird.
One lovely option is to check with local rescue charities to see if any adult chickens need a new forever home. But if you want fresh eggs, be sure to check to be sure the chickens are still laying well before you make the commitment.
Many first-time keepers assume that chickens just stay in their coop all the time. But actually, chickens should be allowed to run around, free-forage, and socialize for a period of time every day.
This means you need enough room for both the secure overnight coop and a day play area.
8. Chickens and dogs often don’t mix
If your family also includes a pet dog, keep in mind that many dogs will chase or attack chickens.
Even if you are sure that your pup would never do such a thing, it is worth testing out your theory before you start keeping chickens.
Matt McGrath is an avid traveler and a prominent writer in the blogging community. He has been to more than 50 countries. While he loves discovering new cultures and adventures, he is also passionate about sharing practical tips with his followers. If you love to travel and adventure, we recommend that you read and follow all his articles! More about him on his website – http://mattmcgrath.me/