6 things you need to know to raise chickens in your backyard
Look around you, you will see chickens in almost every backyard nowadays. The need to find an alternative source of cheap, high quality meat and eggs is what has led to this now popular trend. Still, there are people who don’t know that backyard chicken farming is allowed in major cities.
However, before you take the bold steps to raise chickens, here are six things you need to know:
1. Is it legal and will my neighbors like it?..? It is true that most metropolises allow inhabitants to raise chickens in their backyards. It is also true that there are metropolises that do not allow chickens to be raised in backyards unless they are authorized. You will most likely be allowed to raise chickens, but it’s always good to confirm.
You can also work on modifying the rules through consensus building to make it easier to raise chickens in your area. You can start by educating people in your area about the benefits of raising chickens at home. Don’t jump until you find out what your neighbors think about it. Chickens can be noisy; therefore, it only makes sense if you address the concerns of your neighbors. If you are allowed to raise chickens, give them free eggs from time to time.
2. Where do I get the chickens and roosters?..? There are a wide variety of places where you can buy your chicks. However, the best places are breeders that have a good reputation. If you’re serious about raising backyard chickens, don’t start with adult chickens. They are expensive to buy and maintain. When you buy chicks, make sure they are vaccinated against common chicken diseases.
You don’t need to buy a rooster. Hens will produce eggs, regardless of whether or not a rooster is present. Generally, fertilized eggs are not nutritious. You should only buy a rooster if you want to produce your own chicks. Also, the roosters are noisy and your neighbors may not like it.
3. How do I know that all the chicks I have bought are hens?..? When you are raising chickens in the backyard, you will want to have only chickens. However, chick sexing has a 10% margin of error, so there’s a chance you’ll end up with a rooster or two. The rise in popularity of backyard flocks has seen a similar rise in roosters. Buying a rooster is unavoidable, what you have to do is make plans well in advance; instead of releasing them all, look for farmers who are willing to buy them.
4. What happens to hens after they have stopped laying?..? This can be equated to the problem of the invisible rooster. Chickens have a lifespan of about twelve years, but only a productive life of between six months and two years. After this, you can be sure that there will be a noticeable drop in egg production. If you want to have a constant flow of eggs, you’ll need to bring in new hens and plan for the old hens at the same time. Most people will not want to start raising chickens that are not producing eggs. This leaves you with only one option; selling them to buyers who can turn them into stew meat. You can also let them keep the new hens.
5. How much space do I need?..? You know you have enough space and that is probably why you want to raise chickens in your backyard. Most cities require that your coop be at least 20 feet from an occupied residence. You can provide two to four square feet of space per hen and leave plenty of room for them to roam outside. Remember, the more space you have, the better it is for you, as you may want to introduce additional chickens.
6. Where do I get food to feed the chickens?..? Where to get food for your chickens should be the least of your worries, thanks to the chicken’s ability to eat a variety of foods. You need to stop throwing away leftovers if you have chickens in your backyard. It can be difficult to get enough vegetables to feed your flock. However, you can always buy commercial feed at your local feed store where it is readily available.