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How To Raise Chickens

Planning on raising backyard chickens? There's a lot to learn, but don't worry, we've got you covered. This article covers all the basics.
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    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 - 90 to 100 deg. 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 2-3 square feet per chicken inside the henhouse and 4-5 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. 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.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  2. 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.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  3. smilebrite
    Thanks for all the informtion since I am a newbie at this.pam v.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. AliciaV
    Thanks for the tips they all came in handy. :^)
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  7. Dee Dee 2
    please read thread in forum re- Seven Dust
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  8. Juliana Marandu
    Just started keeping small scale layers I need a lot of your idea
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  9. Dan S
    Just got me two Americauna's from the local feed and seed. Super excited. Finally living a childhood dream.
      Lauren Kim likes this.
  10. 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!!
      Lauren Kim likes this.

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