Have you thought about getting backyard chickens? If you are interested in becoming a livestock or pet owner of these animals, there are some essential things you need to know about them before getting started.
Different advantages come with taking care of chickens in the backyard. But you need to know what these animals need and what you will need to do to help them thrive while on your property.
This is a Backyard Chickens 101, or the nitty gritty basics. I have included links throughout the post and at the bottom with more detailed and specific chicken topics.
Is It a Good Idea to Have Backyard Chickens?
The benefits of having backyard chickens are tremendous. These animals make great pets. While it depends on the breed, many chickens are easy to handle and enjoy being around human beings. They do not mind human interaction and adjust to it quite nicely.
- If you have chickens in your backyard, you can teach your children how to care for the animals, giving them the responsibility to feed them and pick up after them.
- Chickens lay eggs, which is another good reason to have them. Instead of going to the local grocery store and paying for the eggs you need to make different meals, you can collect the eggs from your chickens and use them.
- The eggs from your chickens will be much fresher than the ones you can purchase at the store. It will also save you a lot of money in the long run because the cost of eggs fluctuates.
- Besides laying eggs and being easy to care for, chickens are beneficial to the backyard because they keep the pests away.
They can prevent pests from taking over your backyard and potentially destroying any crops that you might grow. If you want to have a nice backyard full of beautiful chickens, why not take the plunge? You will not regret the decision to bring these animals home.
The Type of Shelter You Will Need When Housing Chickens
Above: This is my first “real coop”. I made a lot of mistakes. I can see a ton just looking at this picture but the girls were safe and happy. The neighborhood rats…they loved it too. I learned quickly, but often the hard way.
You will need to have the proper shelter for the backyard chickens if you plan to keep them on your property. The shelter should provide a safe and comfortable place for these animals to rest and lay eggs when ready.
- The backyard chickens will feel safe when they have the protective barrier that separates them from everything else going on outside. While they may roam around the backyard throughout the day, they will also seek shelter when they want to relax.
- You can purchase a chicken coop or make one using different materials, including wood pallets. If you would rather buy the coop, make sure it is big enough to house the number of chickens you plan to purchase and keep in the backyard. You do not want the chickens to run out of space because that will decrease their comfort.
- No matter which type of coop you choose, make sure it is right for your climate. This will keep the chickens protected from the elements, including strong winds and heavy rains that could cause them to feel uncomfortable.
Another thing to keep in mind when setting up a shelter for your chickens is that you will need to have a drainage area and proper airflow. You want to make sure the chickens can breathe easily and freely while they are inside the shelter. If not, they might not survive, and that is not what you want to occur when you decide to bring chickens home to keep as livestock or pets .
The Different Chickens to Consider Getting For Your Backyard
When raising chickens in the backyard, some breeds are naturally better to handle than others because of their temperament. If you would like chickens that will behave well and enjoy being handled, you should consider getting one of the following breeds:
- Sussex Chickens
- Silkie Chickens
- Rhode Island Reds (a personal favorite of mine)
- Leghorn Chickens
There are plenty of other breeds to choose from besides these four chicken breeds, but these breeds are known for displaying good behavior more than others. If you are not sure which chickens to select, do more research on their behavior and the number of eggs they lay to determine which ones you feel would be the absolute best fit for you to have in your backyard.
The right breed will make all the difference for you. If you have small children at home, you need to choose an easier breed because you would not want the chickens to scare the children.
What to Serve to the Backyard Chickens
What you need to know about food and water for your chickens.
First and foremost, fresh water is essential for the health of your birds.
Make sure to have the right foods available for the chickens to eat. You want to put them on a healthy diet to keep them in good condition and encourage egg production. Chickens can eat a variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
You can even give your chickens some leftovers from the meal that you have with your family for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For example, if you cut the crusts off your children’s sandwiches each day, you can feed the crusts to the chickens because they will enjoy them.
I highly recommend the Grandpa Feeder to keep your chicken feed safe from other animals!
How to Properly Handle the Chickens in Your Backyard
Always handle your chickens carefully to avoid hurting them. You need to make sure you know how to grab and hold the chickens, along with teaching your children how to handle them correctly as well. When you grab the chickens, use both hands.
Be gentle with the chickens, but hold slightly tight to make sure they do not escape your hands when you need to hold them. You want to have your hands over the wings to keep the chickens from flying out of your hands. Once you get the hang of handling these animals, it will come naturally to you.
Raising Backyard Chickens 101
Now that you have learned a lot more about chickens and what it takes to keep them in the backyard, you may be ready to go out and get some chickens to bring home. Make sure that you have the proper shelter and food to offer these animals.
If you are willing to put in the extra effort to provide the maximum level of care for your backyard chickens, they can thrive, produce lots of eggs, and provide companionship as pets to you and your loved one.
More on Backyard Chickens
I have been keeping and writing about a backyard flock for a long time. I hope these tips will help you in your journey to chicken ownership.
Fight Your HOA for Backyard Chickens
Secret Backyard Chickens How to Keep a Stealth Coop
How to Have Happier Chickens 11 Tips
How to Make Money with Chickens
Fresh Eggs Everything You Need to Know
Top Chicken Predators For Backyard Homesteaders
Why Hens Stop Laying
A Simple Guide to Raising Chicks