Termed COVID chickens, beginning backyard chicken coops, saw a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby, but there’s a lot you need to know before adopting a flock of your own.
This guide will go over the basics of raising and caring for backyard chickens.
Where To Start
Raising backyard chickens isn’t an impulse decision. But, first, you have to answer some questions for yourself.
- Why do you want to raise chickens?
- Do you plan to raise chicks?
- Do you have the time to spend with your chickens?
- Who will take care of your flock when you are away?
- Are you prepared to get your hands dirty?
Unfortunately, some people don’t realize just how much time is needed to raise happy and healthy chickens. As a result, they get overwhelmed or underestimate the work, and their animals suffer. If you know that you are up for the task, let’s continue.
If you intend to raise chicks, find out what breed of chicken is best for you and the supplies you’ll need. Here is a basic checklist:
A brooding area: A box or pen with at least 18-inches tall and draft-proof walls. Each chick needs at least six square inches of space, but this will increase in time. The area should also have soft bedding like pine shavings and a floor they can easily stand/walk on.
Chick starter feed: To start your chicks outright, you should provide them with vitamin and mineral-enriched chick starter feed with complete proteins and amino acids.
Clean water: Unsurprisingly, chickens are not the cleanest animals. They need a fresh supply of clean water every day.
A red brooder lamp: This is a heat lamp that is on at all times that keeps the chicks at a steady temperature, around 92°F.
Backyard Chicken Coop Requirements
You don’t need acres of land for a backyard chicken coup. A plot size around six feet by ten feet at minimum is typically enough for six chickens. A coup, meaning the building, is where the chickens will spend their time at night or during sub-spar weather conditions.
The building should be water-proof, ventilated, temperature-controlled, roosting bar, and have a nesting box. The chickens should have enough space to run and be able to access their food and water easily.
Without enough space, chickens can become aggressive toward each other or become stressed. You can buy pre-built coops or find DIY plans to build your own organic chicken coop.
Keeping Your Backyard Chickens Happy
Just like a cat or a dog, chickens need proper care and attention. This means entertaining them with treats and toys for chickens and having predator-proof areas for them to roam.
You can use a large plastic bin or kiddie pool to build them a dust bath. Dust baths are how chickens stay clean and fend off mites and parasites.
A Brief Guide on Raising Chickens
As you can see, raising backyard chickens is not as simple as it may seem. So before this project, make sure you have the space and time required to home a happy and healthy flock.
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