Hello From Kentucky!!
I am here to share my experience as a person new to raising chickens to possiblly prevent someone else new to the lifestyle from making some of the same costly mistakes that I have made . I am not one of those (No offense) Echo Friendly Patriots trying to convince you to recycle and save the world. Im just a common guy trying to make a living in todays economy. I will openly admit that I am new to raising chickens. But one thing I do understand is how to cut corners, and still have style.
I live inside the City Limits, so my chickens are not allowed to free range. So their entire diet is provided by me. The angle I first took on this was, if it aint chicken feed why feed it to them. That was on day one. I am now almost 3 weeks into raising them and understand a lot more. For anyone who does not have a dog, Chickens are an amazing garbage disposals. If you do not like to eat left overs, feed them to your chickens. Oatmeal, fruits veggis, Meat, even scrambled eggs. Sounds wierd but they love them. Mine are layers so I also feed them a 16% protien layer pellet mixed with cracked corn. Every once in a while I will even pop some pop corn for them and watch the games begin.
The chickens that I tend to are accually my mother in laws chickens. She is just not near as mobile as she used to be and has me take care of them. I custom built the chicken coop for them. Her house has a full walk out basement and a deck on the upper level. I fenced this in with chicken wire and put a door on the outside to enter that way also. I built them a roost and put a few nest boxes in. One thing to remember when keeping chickens is they like to have a space to eat, a space to sleep, a place to lay thier eggs, and something to do. They are almost like people. When building a run ( which is an area for chickens to be outside while still contained in a coop ) the main thing is safety of the flock. I built mine out of all chicken wire. THIS WAS A MISTAKE!!!! Chicken wire is great at keeping chickens in a pen. But it is terrible ar keeping anything out. My dog barked at a hen and she floged him. The chicken was on the inside of the coop, the dog was on the outside. My dog lunged at her, stretched the wire and came in the coop. Luckily I was there and only suffered a loss of one chicken. I then reinforced the bottom of my "coop" with steel wire. 1" x 2" grades. that now comes up about 4 feet high. Since I have done that she has tried a few times to get in but is un able to do so. Chickens are flying birds. So If you have a run there needs to be a roof. A tarp or wire, just something to keep them from flying out of a coop. So far these are the biggest lessons I have learned. I will update this as I learn more. So untill next time. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your chickens.