How To Raise Chickens

Planning on raising backyard chickens? There's lots to know, but don't worry, we've got you covered. Learn the basics in this "How To Raise...
  1. BYC Support
    Raising Chickens 101

    So, you're interested in raising chickens? You've embarked on a fun and exciting journey! BYC (BackYardChickens) is FULL of great information. If your question isn't answered in our Learning Center Articles then we promise there is an answer on our chicken forum.

    Below are the absolute basics of raising chickens. For more detailed information please explore the rest of the site and join our forum.

    Why Raise Chickens?
    • Easy and inexpensive to maintain (when compared to most other pets)
    • Eggs that are fresh, great-tasting & nutritious
    • Chemical-free bug and weed control
    • Manufacture the worlds best fertilizer
    • Fun & friendly pets with personality (yes, you read that right)
    • See our poll on Why Do You Raise Chickens

    Are BackYard Chickens Legal in Your City?
    • Search our database of local chicken laws & ordinances
    • Double check your local city / town ordinances and homeowner's association
    • Make sure you have a good relationship with your neighbors (the promise of no roosters and free eggs helps!)
    • Read comments and post your ?s in our forum devoted to chicken laws & ordinances.

    Where To Get Baby Chicks & Chickens:

    How To Care For A Chick - First 60 Days:
    • You'll need a chick brooder - See our list of homemade brooders
    • Flooring - Pine shavings & corn cob bedding are best. Stay clear of newspaper since it doesn't absorb well and can be slippery.
    • Temperature - 90F (in the warmest part of the brooder) for the first week, decrease 5 deg. per week. Be VERY careful of fire hazards!
    • Food & water - chick crumbles / starter & a chick waterer (see our list of homemade feeders & waterers)
    • Play time - Play with your chicks when young to get the use to being around people.
    • More details: Article: How To Raise Baby Chicks - Forum Section: Raising Chicks

    Chicken Care After First 60 Days, General Chicken Care:
    • Once feathered out you'll want to move your chickens into a chicken coop! Rule of thumb is about 3-4 square feet per chicken inside the henhouse and 10 sq/ft per chicken in an outside run. Keep local chicken predators in mind and make a safe home for your flock!
    • Flooring - Pine shavings work best. You can even try the deep litter method for even less maintenance.
    • Food & Water - Most people go with formulated chicken layer feed / pellets. You can even make a homemade chicken feeder / waterer
    • Treats - Vegetables, bread, bugs, chicken scratch (cracked corn, milo, wheat)

    What's next?

    Now that you've skimmed the basics you might be ready to do a deeper dive into learning more about raising backyard chickens. We suggest the following:
    Learning Center Index:
    1. Getting Started Raising Chickens
    2. Hatching Eggs & Raising Chickens
    3. Housing & Feeding Your Flock
    4. Maintaining A Healthy Flock

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  1. Little Fuzzy
    Sorry anybody who saw my post on looking for a new home for a Silkie Roo you can respond to my Email.. I'm having a lot of trouble learning how to work this new format.
  2. Cluckcluck1215
    Wrong.2-3 sq feet in CooP?! No, 4-5.4-5 in the RUN?!Are you serious?Its 10-12!
      BantyChooks and ChickenMorals like this.
  3. bobhoke
  4. bobhoke
    Thanks for all the informtion
  5. jungleexplorer2
    A simple solution. Throw dirty eggs away or break them and feed them back to the chickens. Problem solved!

    Simple Rules:
    1. Unwashed eggs are safe up to 2 weeks without refrigeration. Much longer if refrigerated.
    2. Washed eggs must be refrigerated immediately.
      OG Anomaly and Lauren Kim like this.
    1. chickencheeper
      By washed do you mean rinsed in the sink to get dirt off the shell?
  6. RAnst4038
    You should have mentioned that because they are both predator and prey animals they have no scent.
    You have to bury your nose in there feathers to smell them. And then they smell as good as they taste.
      ChickenMorals and Lauren Kim like this.
  7. smilebrite
    Thanks for all the informtion since I am a newbie at this.pam v.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  8. chicks rock
    I live in charlotte and its almost winter. I might get chicks before winter. When would I be able to take them out to a coop.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
    1. chickencheeper
      Definitely get them in early spring(April) so you can put them in the coop (at eight weeks) during warm weather and you’ll be having eggs by October!
  9. vanbb18
    awesome really help just a few questions
    1. do chicks have to be covered at night
    2. do chicks get scared of headlights form passing cars
    3. where would i find a 100 what bulb
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  10. AliciaV
    Thanks for the tips they all came in handy. :^)
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  11. Dee Dee 2
    please read thread in forum re- Seven Dust
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  12. Juliana Marandu
    Just started keeping small scale layers I need a lot of your idea
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  13. Dan S
    Just got me two Americauna's from the local feed and seed. Super excited. Finally living a childhood dream.
      nanasacres, AudgeThis and Lauren Kim like this.
  14. bucksbiddies
    Very new to this computor thing.It took me two days to find what I was looking for and here it is! Hooray for me!!
      LindaNC 49 and Lauren Kim like this.
  15. Meadowlynn
    There is more to rearing chicken that is article says. Chicken are susceptible to any air born disease, the littler, has to be changed out in your coop, especially if you have egg layers. Depending on what type of chicken you have you also need different laying boxes at diffferent heights. Be aware of what kind of natural preditors you have in your neighborhood, some will come out during the day. And please make sure depending on where you live, that your coop has venting for air and /or heating for the winter. Please do you research. Find out which kind of birds work best in your area for your needs. Are they just going to be layers or layers and fryers?
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  16. Cindyearl
    I need help and enfo on how to raise Cornish X... I got 30 chicks... They are 4 days old now and I've lost 3 so far and worried about 1 more... I might of had to big of a heat lamp... I went and got a smaller one... any enfo is welcome...I love Chickens and eggs... Cindy...<3
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  17. TiffanyFalter
    I'm going to be starting with adult chickens, but they'll be making their own chicks before long, thanks for the info. I know about how many adults I should start with so as not to overcrowd my coop once they start multiplying.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  18. kayalover101
    That really helped.:)
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  19. chloechickens01
    This will help soooo much!! Chick days coming in 6 days in TSC! Can't wait for that!
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  20. jaydennmomo
    This will help me and Jayden so much ty!
      Lauren Kim likes this.

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