Raising Chickens – The 4 Questions You Should Ask At First
Raising chickens can be a fun way to provide your family with fresh eggs and food for far less than you would pay in the grocery store. Chickens are generally low maintenance and not very expensive to feed, plus it doesn’t cost a great deal to get set up for a chicken raising project. But before you plunge into this adventure, ask these four questions to get started.
1. What is the zoning in your city?
Check the ordinances in your city or town to make sure that it is OK for you to have chickens in your yard. You might also want to check with your homeowner’s association as well. As a courtesy you might also want to talk to your neighbors, promise free eggs, assure them that there will be no roosters, you know, that sort of thing.
2. Free range, limited range or completely housed?
There are three ways that you can keep chickens. Take a look at each description, along with the pros and cons.
Chickens are allowed to run freely wherever their little hearts desire.
Chickens have access to bugs in the yard as well as healthy foods. Chickens also like the outdoors so they will enjoy this freedom.
Chickens are messy and destructive. They will eat your flowers, new plants in your garden and leave their droppings everywhere. They can get in your neighbor’s yard and damage it. They can also get in the road and get run over.
Chickens are allowed free run within a confined area.
You are still getting the free range experience without the danger, mess or the neighbor issues (provided your fence is high enough or the run is covered).
Predators can still get to them (again, unless you have a covered run). The fence can be rather unattractive or costly if you want it to be attractive.
Chickens stay in a coop. They don’t go outside at all.
Predators cannot get to your chickens and your chickens cannot cause neighbor troubles. You can have a lot of chickens but maintain a low profile in your community.
There is not free range experience at all, no free range diet, no dirt baths and your chickens will be bored (chickens get tired of being “cooped” up too.).
3. Chicks or chickens?
There are advantages to getting chickens, fresh eggs almost immediately. But there are also benefits to getting chicks. You can handle the chicks while they are growing so they will be accustomed to being around humans. The only thing is, if you have chicks, you will have to have a brooder for them for a while and keep the temperature just right for them.
4. Do you need a rooster?
You do not need a rooster to get eggs. Chickens will lay eggs without a rooster. This is Lesson One in raising chickens. Next point, roosters are territorial and they tend to defend their territory. This means that every time you go to feed, you will likely have to fight a rooster to get in the coop or run.