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In this article I would like to share some things that you may want to consider before getting into chickens. Chickens can be lots of fun, entertaining us with their funny antics and different personalities. In addition to this they provide us with healthy eggs and meat and are one of the easiest of all livestock to raise, also requiring the least amount of space among livestock. A big thing to consider is that, more so than dogs and cats, chickens may bind you from going on vacation, or what’s more, ever leaving your place for more than a twelve hour period. Chickens need a safe coop to sleep at night, lay eggs and be protected from weather and predators. If you allow the chickens to free-range, then they must be locked in the coop at night to keep predators out and let out during the day again to free-range, thus the bind for not being able to leave. However, this may be remedied with an automatic door set on a timer, these can be expensive though. Another good option would be to attach a predator proof run to their coop and keeping them in there while you’re not home to allow them free-ranging privileges. Also, chickens may bother neighbors, roosters crowing in particular. But hens may also utter an “egg song” before and after laying an egg. The volume of this “egg song” varies widely amongst different chickens. They also sound loud distress calls. This would most likely only be a concern in more urban settings though. Another factor is that chickens will be another hole in your wallet; Initial startup costs can be quite high if everything is bought new. Coops, runs, fencing and equipment, it all adds up. But as already stated these expenses are all a onetime investment. After startup, costs aren’t very much, considering your flock isn’t very big, of course. The reoccurring costs consist mainly of feed, worming supplies and some minerals/supplements. You should refer to another article I’ve written entitled “reducing feed costs, tips and tricks” for some tips and tricks to help you if your feed costs become too much of a burden. If you garden, then you may have to keep your chickens penned up during certain parts of the season. Chickens will eat tender greens and ripe produce and also destroy small, young plants with their almost incesive scratching while looking for food. They will also form dust holes in the garden. These dust holes serve as dust baths and places where they bathe in the sun. Chickens may also hang out and roost on porches and decks. This is most often a problem with guineas, but if your chickens develop this bad habit, which they often do, it can sometimes be hard to break and you may have to consider closing in the area. Chickens will also dirty a lawn with feathers, droppings and bare dust holes; this can be a real problem if you like a well-manicured lawn or use your lawn often. Dodging dust holes and getting your shoes plastered with chicken poop is not at all enjoyable, to say the least. If you live in an area where there are other chicken owners than you may have to deal with your chickens always hanging out at the neighbor’s place. Possibly moving in with their flock, and even if they don’t move in, they may start laying there. If you do happen to get any eggs, and you want to hatch your eggs, you may end up getting mutt chickens, if the neighbors have a rooster of course. Sometimes, neighbors won’t even tolerate your flock venturing onto their place Like anything in life, chickens have their pros and cons. Hopefully this article helped you to decide whether or not chickens are the right choice for you. If you happen to be undecided, then I strongly recommend that you give them a try for a better idea of what it’s like raising them. They are generally really easy and inexpensive to raise. Chickens can be a very fun and productive addition to any home, but remember that they are still animals and need to be given the proper care, attention and dedication any other animal merits.