February
19
2010

How To Raise Chickens – Getting Started!

 

Millie and her babies!

 

Are You New To Raising Chickens?

If you’re a beginner interested in learning how to raise chickens at home in your own backyard, then I’m glad you’ve found this website and I know you’ll want to keep reading…  

When it comes to keeping chickens at home most people I know would tell you that I am somewhat of an authority on the subject having raised chickens for the last several years.  I guess that it is safe to say that I know more about the topic then the average person…but it wasn’t always that way.  Before I completed my guide (CLICK here to take a look) I didn’t  have a clue how to raise chickens, I was no different than you! 

I got started reading a ton of books and magazines  but I found that most of them were not created for someone like me…a guy who only wanted to keep just a half dozen hens tucked away in a corner of his backyard.  I moved on to the internet but it was honestly overwhelming.  Not that there wasn’t good information on the web…there was.  But it was overload… there had to be a better way to learn. 

That’s about the time that I discovered the urban farm movement…a group of people like me that had an interest in farming and raising small flocks in urban and suburban environments.  They knew how to raise chickens and were willing to share their valuable information with me.  I spent a lot of time getting to know some of them, asked tons of questions, studied their methods and learned the skills I needed to get started on my own. 

If you would like to learn more about raising chickens at home be sure to sign up for my FREE “Incredible Chickens” Newsletter.  This popular e-mail series is loaded with lots of word-of-mouth tips, tricks and secrets about poultry keeping…knowledge that’s not really written anywhere…information that is next to impossible to find all in one place. And best of all…it’s FREE!.    (CLICK here to sign up.)

February
18
2010

Chicken Raising – Eggs or Chicks?

When it comes to Chicken Raising I always seem to get the same old question; should I start with eggs and incubate or purchase new baby’s?  The truth is you can start with either…you just need to weigh the facts and decide what is best for you.  Hatcheries provide just about every poultry breed available.

Starting with eggs…Fertilized chicken eggs of all types are readily available at many poultry suppliers.  They take only 21 days to incubate and you take an active role in their birth from the very beginning. There are several important facts to consider when making this Choice. 

  • Fertilized chicken eggs are not vaccinated against Mareks Disease or Coccidiosis, the two diseases most common to chickens.      
  • Temperature and humidity are the two most important aspects of the incubation process.  The incubation of eggs is perhaps the most difficult aspect for the novice.
  • Eggs in incubation can’t be sexed so you never know exactly what you’re going to get.  Most suppliers advertise a 50/50 split between male and female eggs.  (This is the ratio found in nature.)

Starting with live chicksChicken Raising really begins at this pointYou’ll save a little money starting out with this way since you don’t have to invest in the time and expense of an incubator, not to mention the learning curve.  Poultry suppliers are the experts at incubating and hatching eggs, except for a hen of course, and they do it very successfully.  

  • Hatcheries sell day old chirper’s shipped directly to your door.  You can purchase them “sexed” (male or female) or “straight-run unsexed” (a 50/50 mix). 
  •  Most come vaccinated against Marek’s disease and Coccidiosis, and come from a salmonella-tested breeding flock.  Vaccinations are very inexpensive and hatcheries usually guarantee the chicks health for a certain period of time.  
  •  If the size of the flock you want to keep is relatively low, you may have to search around for a hatchery that will sell you a small amount.  Most hatcheries have minimum purchase requirements up to 25 or more.  Splitting an order with another enthusiast is one way to mitigate the problem or if you are close to a hatchery you can just pick them up.  Feed stores and pet shops will carry them in the spring with no quantity minimums.

 These tidbits are from a guide that I put together for persons interested in chicken raising.  CLICK HERE to check it out.

February
14
2010

How To Raise Chickens – First Steps!

Several years ago I decided that I was going to pursue my dream of keeping chickens in the backyard of my suburban home.  Honestly, at the time I didn’t have a clue how to raise chickens, I just wanted a source of inexpensive organic and drug free chicken eggs. 

Now the closest thing to a chicken I’d ever kept was a parakeet named George who I recall taunted the family cat one too many times.  My great aunt had a chicken coop for years and I’m sure she knew everything there was to know about keeping them but she had been gone for many years.  Thankfully there was plenty of information available in the form of books, magazines and lots of web sites. 

Because I didn’t know where to start I decided to make a road map…sort of a guide of the things I would need to do.  CLICK HERE to learn more.

 Here are some of the most important items you’ll need to know:

  • Find out if you local government will allow you to keep chickens on your property… probably the most important thing that you should do before you spend any money.  Most municipalities have regulations concerning domesticated animals…make sure that they will allow you to raise them.
  • Put together a budget; include cost of your housing, feed, medicines…anything related to your new hobby …make sure that you can afford it.
  • Make sure that you have a good spot on your property to put your hen house.  You don’t want to put it too close to your neighbor’s home.  Hens don’t make too much noise but Rooster’s are positively noisy!
  • Decide which breed would be best for you.  If you want eggs you’ll need a breed called a “layer”.  They are bred to produce lots of fresh chicken eggs.
  • Do you have a little farmer in your veins?  Keeping a small flock does take some work and dedication.  If you’re not willing to tackle the daily chores like feeding and cleaning then this hobby might not be for you.

Do this first:

Start out at your local library by finding a book that has information on how to raise chickens that you can understand.  Take your time and study the material. 

If possible, visit a farm or find someone in your area with a backyard flock and ask a lot of questions.  I’m sure that you’ll discover that you have what it takes to be successful!