How much work involved in raising chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aliceb, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. aliceb

    aliceb In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    Hi, I'm new to chicken raising. Actually, I don't have any chickens yet. I'm debating about it with my husband.

    Here's the situation: He works full time, I work part time and am raising our 14 month old son who is somewhat demanding. We've been blessed not to have to send him to daycare [​IMG] . We have 3 cats and 1 dog. We're also considering having another baby maybe in the next year or two. He thinks that it would be too difficult to raise chickens because neither of us has alot of time to tend the flock.

    We live on just over 1 acre and are zoned agricultural/residential, so there's no problem with space or laws. My plan is to wait maybe another 6 months or so, hoping that my son will grow out of his demanding phase by then, and then getting maybe 2 or 3 hens, no roos. I guess the main debate we're having is exactly how much work and time is involved in taking care of 2 or 3 hens? Things like how often does their coop need to be cleaned, how often they need to be fed/watered, etc. Also, are there any concerns with me if I'm pregnant, like if I can't be around them while I'm pregnant or anything like that?

    I would love to hear input from you all. Thanks [​IMG]

  2. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma

    Chickens are absolutely wonderful. I have 35 full grown chickens and a brooder of 60-80 chicks usually. It takes about 20-30 minutes a day to feed, water, spot clean, and just watch them run around. Chickens are soo easy to raise!

    Having 2-3 hens would need like a 4x4 or so size coop and a 4x10 or so run. They won't eat a whole lot especially if you feed scraps with layer pellets! Your looking at <5 minutes a day or work for them!

    For a very docile breeds Orphingtons, Easter Eggers, and Barred Rocks and very good layers and also well tempered! Have fun with it!

  3. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Do you or your husband have 5 mins a day? If you build or buy a chicken tractor with wheels for moving once a day and that has a slide out poop board - emptied every couple days, use a 3-5 gal bucket with water nipples - will only need to be filled 1-2 times a week, a large hanging feeder will need to be filled 1-2 times a week. Outside nesting boxes for eggs - once a day. You might need to change out shavings in coop and clean nesting boxes 1-2 times a month. You wouldn't be going in the coop/run and if you wash hands should be safe for you and your young son. I have 26 chickens and chores takes me 5 - 10 min a day. They are pretty low maintenance IMHO
  4. aliceb

    aliceb In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    This is what I've been trying to tell him. He hasn't yet learned to say yes dear you're right lol [​IMG]

    Oh another thing we're debating is how noisy they are?
  5. Shannon33

    Shannon33 Songster

    Feb 23, 2010
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I agree with what everyone else said. If you have a nice little set up and just a few birds it's almost no work at all. As to noise, I guess it depends on the bird but I rarely hear mine (except the rooster of course, lol ) and they are pretty close to the house. The only time I hear them is when they get excited about something, and it never lasts long.

  6. Buff-Island-Australorp

    Buff-Island-Australorp Songster

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bixby, OK
    You'll find yourself "accidentally making time" for your chickens. They won't make you wait till tomorrow to do laundry or mow the yard. Therefore, you have time. They are about the least maintenance animal around, besides a cat.
    The hardest part is when they're chicks. They do need a little more tending to then. But, once they get to adolescent stage and beyond, they pretty much are able to raise themselves. All you gotta do is make sure they have food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep & hang out.
    Cleaning the coop doesn't have to be alot of work either. Sounds like you have plenty of time to read up on things around here, and prepare yourself in advance.
    If neither of you are capable of building a tractor, coop, and/or run yourselves, you can find something reasonable maybe on Craigslist, or elsewhere, already complete and ready.
    Something else to keep in mind....if you're wanting eggs right away, I suggest buying adolescent birds, or some that have just started laying, or will be soon. If you want to raise them from chicks, it will seem like forever before your first egg. (that's what I did)
    Buying grown chickens are more expensive, (around $10 to $20 per bird in my area on C-list) If you want chicks, you're looking at $2-$4 per bird (maybe cheaper). Usually, chicks are sold in the spring time only at a local feed store. You can look around on C-list though....alot of people are incubating and raising theirs all year long. If you buy from a hatchery, they ship them in the mail, and you have to order a minimum of 10 I think.
    Good luck....I'm having a ball with mine.
  7. aliceb

    aliceb In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    Thanks! I've heard that they 're alot of fun to watch. I think we do have the time to spend like 15 minutes a day or so for them (that's my son's attention span). I'd like to get chicks to start. I know I'd have to wait for eggs but that's fine. The eggs are only half the reason for us anyway. I'm interested in them as pets since I've heard that they have fun personalities. Plus, I think it'd be a great learning experience later on for my son to be able to see where his food can come from and that you can take care of something and have it provide food for you.
  8. Flawedatdesign

    Flawedatdesign Chirping

    May 18, 2011
    Dixon Missouri
    Well I have found that I just added 5 maybe 10 minutes into my day with my chickens. I get up check the inside dogs cats ferrets turtle and any other critters I forgot to list food and water then out side we go. I stop and play with the outside dog and then head for the chickens. Takes little time to grab the feed scoop and fill the dishes and give fresh water. the 5-10 mins is me sitting there just watching them lol:p
  9. S.L.Swope

    S.L.Swope Chirping

    Apr 13, 2011
    San Antonio
    I'm in the same boat as you. Only less pets and slightly older son and my husband sounds like yours when it comes to chickens. I've been on here alot doing my reading before I go get mine.[​IMG] Good luck convincing your hubby mine is still rather unhappy about the idea but I think he's coming around to the fact that I'll probably get them anyways sooner or later:idunno can't help myself when I want to do something I usually do and the people on this forum deffinatly dont help his cause! Great place for information:thumbsup

  10. RiddleMe

    RiddleMe Songster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Central Oregon
    We just got our chickens this year and my DS (17 months) loves them! He's actually the reason we got them (at least that's my excuse), last summer at the fair he was fascinated by them. When we are outside playing, he likes to wander over to the run and watch the chickens, throw them treats or even go in and hand feed them treats. I actually have sanitizer right outside the coop/run and as soon as we come out of the run, he's learned to hold up his hands for a quick squirt and rub. As for "chicken chores", 5-10 minutes a day tops and that includes the odd jobs like sweeping out the storage half of our coop to keep the dust down.

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