Chickens 101: Part I
“But Why Would I Want Chickens?”
By D. L. _______
If you’re reading this, and, like me, have little or no farming background, you are probably thinking: why would I want to keep chickens?
There are many reasons. Fresh eggs, (free) entertainment, and fowl company are just a few. Contrary to what many people think, chickens are no harder to take care of than a hamster, cat, or dog. I am quite young and I take care of 13 chickens (more on the way!) Chickens are beautiful, not extraordinarily expensive, and fun.
Fresh eggs: The reason most people invest in a flock of hens. Fresh eggs are healthier, taste delicious, and are generally exciting. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you you’ll save money by keeping hens, but if you want cheap eggs why not just get them at the store?
A small flock of 4-8 (or more) chickens can be kept in a small backyard. Many people keep chickens in urban areas! If you live in an apartment, have no backyard, but really would like a fun pet, a pair or trio (one rooster and two hens) of Bantams (miniature chickens) can be kept in a 24” x 24” rabbit cage, provided they are fed fresh greens daily and kept clean.
In fact, I have a pair of beautiful Serama chickens in a cage in our kitchen now! Despite the fact that the rooster, Rochester, crows really early in the morning! (Naturally, his mate’s name is Jane Eyre)
If these anecdotes have piqued your interest, you are probably thinking, “So what do I have to do to take care of a flock?”
As with all animals, chickens need
Food: chickens feed can be bought a feed store or Tractor Supply Co. Not hard to find.
- Housing (a coop)
Water: comes out of a tap.
Housing: Here is where there are many options. Chicken coops can be scrap wood shanties or painted estates. Prices range from almost nothing (under $100) if you build it yourself from salvaged material to thousands of dollars. I will give a few websites to look up a few premade ones.
For 3-5 chickens:
The plastic ‘Eglu’ coop (high cost) ~ www.omlet.us
A low cost option ~ www.premier1supplies.com (click on “Poultry” then “Coops”)
Here are some more websites to research. I hope this article has gotten you at least somewhat interested in chickens! Part II will be about some different breeds and how to raise chicks…..
General chicken information:
Photos of many different breeds:
www.feathersite.com (click on “Poultry Page”)
Free chicken e-book:
www.awesomepoultry.weebly.com (You can see photos of my birds!)
Keep Chickens! By Barbara Kilarski (You.Must.Read.This.Book!)
Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds by Carol Elkarius
Your Chickens: A Kid’s Guide to raising and showing by Gail Damerow
Chicken Coops by Judy Pangman
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