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Raising Chickens In Your Backyard

Apr 23, 2008
Do you have a desire to raise your own chickens in your backyard? The enjoyment you get from watching their antics to eating the fresh eggs is worth the efforts you put forth in getting ready to raise chickens in your backyard.

I am fairly new to raising urban chickens and when I began I was less than thrilled. It was not in my plans to raise chickens but divine intervention happened...

My husband works for the Department of Agriculture so is frequently in an environment with the opportunity to purchase multiple breeds of animals. In 2005, I attended an auction with him and saw some quail. I am an avid backyard birder, watching and feeding any bird that visits my yard. When I saw these birds I decided I wanted to raise some.

It was in early December and I was on one of my frequent trips for my job. I arrived home and I thought my husband was acting a little strange but being gone a few days what did I know. I was home about an hour when suddenly I heard a rooster crowing. I could tell by the sound that it was very close and had to be in our yard.

I ran out the back door and find a rooster and three hens. These chickens did not resemble quail to me. To make a long story short, I fell in love with these birds. They may be a little larger than what I was expecting but they are still birds.

That was the beginning of my daily learning experiences of raising backyard chickens. If you are thinking about starting a flock of your own, I hope you will be better prepared than I was. Listed here are some necessary items to start off successfully with your backyard chickens.

1. Housing from predators and the elements of weather. It doesn't have to be fancy but the chickens need a place to roost in the evenings and have protection from other animals. There are a variety of books available with plans for stationary or mobile coops.

2. Food--There are a variety of feeders available for purchase. We designed our own made from pvc pipe to ensure the hens do not scratch the food out on the ground.

3. Water--When I first started tending to my flock I had a round bowl filled with water. The chickens filled it with dirt daily since it sat on the ground. I found it is much easier to have a watering station suspended above the ground.

4. Storage for feed--I found the squirrels and rats love the chicken feed as much as the chickens do. We use a metal trash can to ensure no intruders have access to the feed. Make sure to use metal, we tried a plastic can on wheels at first and the squirrels ate through the lid.

5. Nesting boxes--These are not necessary but if you want an easy way to find your eggs I recommend either making them or purchasing your preference of style from your local farm supply store.

In the beginning it may seem like a lot to get prepared for your chickens but once you start raising your backyard chickens you will reap the benefits that chickens bring to your backyard. Once your flock is established, daily chicken care is minimal.

Today I have one rooster and five hens. I thoroughly enjoy feeding, watching, and tending to my flock. Not a day goes without a crow from the rooster in the morning and a visit with the hens.
About the Author
Carole DeJarnatt lives in Florida and raises a variety of hens, biddies, and a rooster. She shares her learning experiences and helps to educate others on how to get started and the many benefits of raising backyard chickens. Visit her website Fowlvisions.com where you will learn more about raising chickens and backyard birding. www.fowlvisions.com
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