Here are some frequently asked questions with answers about how to raise chickens in your very own backyard.
What kind of coop should I get? There are so many types of chicken coops. Since your chickens will be living in your backyard, I would suggest getting a smaller coop, for you probably won't have too many chickens. It will need a run, because chickens need room to graze. It will need a nesting box, as a place for them to lay their eggs. It will need some kind of perch, because chickens love to perch. And it will need room for them to sleep, they prefer to sleep somewhere soft. Just look online at chicken coops, and you will defidently find the right one for you. I would suggest going on mypetchicken.com
How do I let my chickens graze if I don't have a fenced in backyard? Easy! You should probably buy a pen. Most types of dog pens will work just fine. Just make sure the pen's walls are high enough so the chickens won't fly out.
What kind of treats should I give my chickens? Chickens love almost anything. I tend to give my chickens scraps of food, like corn or any type of veggies. You can buy some meal worms and oyster shells as protein. My chickens love bird seed, like the type people put in bird feeders.
What feeder and water bowl should I use? I have found that it is easier if your feeder is off the ground. I have hung mine up with twist ties. For water, I just use one of my dogs old water bowls. It works fine, just make sure you refill the water so it stays clean. You can find all the supplies you need at any local farm animal type store. Or, see what you find at petsmart, it might work just as well.
What type of chicken should I get? If you are raising backyard chickens, I would highly recommend getting Easter Eggers. They are beautiful and very friendly. But, they are pretty hard to sex, as are most chickens. I have heard great things about Rhode Island Reds too.
What should I do with my baby chicks? Baby chicks can't live outside until they are at least 7 weeks old, depending on the temperature in your area. So, instead of buying some elaborate thing for my chicks, I just kept them in my bathtub with a heat lamp attached to the shower head. Put tape on the drain, so no bedding will clog it. Fill the bathtub with bedding about four inches high. This worked great for me. The temperature should be at around 95 degrees when first starting, depending on how young your chicks are. Mine were two days old. Once they start getting feathers, you should try to lower the temperature by either moving the heat lamp farther away from them, or just turning the lamp off for a few hours during the day.
What do I feed my chicks and chickens? Give your chicks Chick Food and Chick Grit. Give this to them for about three months. When you are ready to switch to adult chicken food, there is no such thing as Adult Food. You have to pick out the type that is right for your chickens, depending on what you have your chickens for. I use a type of food that helps with egg production. Also, keep giving them Grit. Grit is like little rocks, it helps the digest food.
Are my chickens eggs safe to eat? Yes! As long as they have a good diet, fresh water, and clean coop, there is nothing to worry about. The only thing that would make you sick from eating chicken eggs is Salmonella, but you are more likely to get this from eating eggs you buy at the grocery store because those eggs probably come from factory farms, which are very unsanitary. Factory Farms treat the animals poorly, for they only care about production. Your eggs are safe to eat. The yoke will probably be a deeper yellow, because they are natural, but they will taste so much better.
Is it Illegal to have backyard chickens? It all depends on where you live, and the laws for your state.
What is an easy way to clean the run of my chicken coop? Honestly, if your chicken coop is just on grass, the grass will probably be gone in about a day or two and you will be stuck with dirt and feces. I put my whole chicken coop on stepping stones, like the type you may see in a garden to create a path. This way, I just lift up one end of the coop by propping two corners up on bricks, and hose off the floor or the coop. In this case, my chickens don't have grass, so I bring them out into their outdoor pen for about five hours every day.
Why clip my chickens wings? Clipping the wings just means cutting a little bit off the first few feathers on the wing, making it harder for them to fly. I like to just clip one wing, so that they fly sideways. You should clip their wings every few weeks, or whenever they fly out. But, if you have nothing for the to fly out of, then there is no reason to clip their wings that often. And no, it doesn't hurt unless you clip too deep. I would suggest just using an old pair of scissors, and cutting about an inch off the first four feathers. It works if you spread out the wing.
The coop is up on these blocks
An extra lock I added on the doors to keep out raccoons.
Feeder, off the ground