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The first thing you should do is research and understand the laws about raising chickens in your community. These may contain rules about permits, fees, number of birds allowed, enclosure requirements and coop location limits. You city’s municipal code can likely be accessed online: search under both Animals and Zoning once you find it. You should also check HOA or subdivision rules, if applicable.
It might come as a surprise how many options you have when it comes to your chickens’ breeds. The Australorp breed does well in all climates, has high egg productivity, and is easily handled; while the American Bresse has excellent egg production but can be flighty. To see a comprehensive list, including what behavior and egg production to expect with each breed, check out backyardchickens.com.
Proper chicken care is key to maintaining a backyard coop. Consider the time and commitment involved before you embark on your backyard chicken journey. You’ll need to provide food and clean water daily; as well as provide a clean and protective shelter and chicken run. For chicken nutrition info, check out the Humane Society’s webpage. Consider also that your chickens may require an occasional trip to the vet if they become ill or injured.
A proper chicken coop will provide insulation from cold, shade from heat, and protection from danger. You can build your own coop or buy one from a supply store. Make sure your coop has good ventilation and clean straw. Hens will need a nesting box for laying as well as a place to perch when it’s time for sleep. Ensure your egg-laying pals are safe from potential predators, too: including your other pets, like cats and dogs.
Your chickens will need access to a spacious area of the yard during the day so they can dustbathe, scratch and forage. A chicken run should include grass as well as dirt or sand; it should also be fenced in for safety. Make sure to inspect this fencing periodically for any gaps where predators might enter.
Clean your coop and run often to ward of bad smells and flies, which can create health concerns for your chickens. Poultry can carry Salmonella or other harmful germs. Follow these precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce your chances of contracting an infection from contact with your chickens, equipment or eggs.
Once you know all the details, becoming a backyard chicken farmer can be enjoyable for your entire family. It’s an educational and fun hobby for children and adults; and you’ll enjoy the farm-fresh eggs and the sense of accomplishment that comes from watching your flock thrive with proper care.
Content from Farm Bureau Financial Services