Backyard chicken raising need not be a backbreaking and arduous activity if done with a good plan at hand. If you have a ready budget, it doesn’t cost too much to purchase a ready-made coop for your little feathered friends. If you don’t have the budget but have enough time, then you can build your own coop with a little help from a DIY handbook.
But even before you purchase the first yard of chicken wire to start your backyard chicken-raising project, it helps to check out 10 vital considerations to ensure the success of your project.
Breed. Your reason for wanting to establish a backyard chicken project and your place of operation are vital considerations in your choice of chicken breed. A leghorn, for example, makes a good egg layer and can thrive in both warm and cold weather. If it’s just hobby that you want, then you might want a bantam. There are different chicken breeds to choose from, depending on your requirement. You can get good advice from your local hen supplier and from poultry farmers in your area.
Quantity. Keep at least three hens for a flock. The number of chicken you can keep depends on the size of the area in which they can exercise, roam around, forage and nest comfortably. At least 10 square feet per head is a good rule of thumb.
Time. Decide how much time you will have available. Tending chicken, free range or not, requires a small time commitment from you for feeding, cleaning out the coop, and other jobs. Allow 10 or 15 minutes for a small flock.
Housing. Your birds will need safe places to roost and nest in, particularly at night when they are particularly vulnerable to predators. Your chicken house design should allow easy cleaning and egg collection without causing too much stress for the layers.
Security. The birds must be safe from predators, including cats, dogs, rats, wild animals, snakes and birds of prey, like eagles. Your cats and dogs may look real cuddly to you, but they could also be real threats to your flock.
Health. Hens can get sick quite easily, so you should find out what diseases are likely in your neighborhood. An epidemic could wipe out your entire stock in one sweep. Speak to the vet and exchange notes with other chicken raisers in your area for information.
Government regulations. The government is always there to keep order in our communities. You need to comply with all applicable laws for keeping backyard chickens in your locality. A quick visit to your local town hall for planning can keep you from trouble and may even help you in the future.
Diet. Keep a generous supply of chicken feeds, grains, greens and fresh clean water. Protein is particularly important. Your flock may or may not get a generous supply of protein foraging in your backyard, if they are free ranged. But it’s best that you consult your local feed supplier for advice on this. If you are away for a day or more, you should consider investing in automatic water dispensers for your hens.
Weather and Climate. There are certain breeds that are ideal for warm weather and there are others that are more comfortable in cold weather. Make sure that you choose the right breed for your kind of climate. You might want to choose a breed that can adapt to both warm and cold weather. Just make sure they are protected from hot, midday sun and they are able to keep their feet dry.
Neighborhood. You might need to reassure some of your neighbors about possible noise and smells from your poultry to get their support. Keeping your place clean and sharing your fresh, free range eggs with your neighbors can work wonders!
These considerations are not that difficult to do and take just a little common sense to apply. If you follow them, then you’re on your way to becoming a successful chicken raiser.
by: Bill Bailey
About The Author
There are Tons of Chicken related websites that claim to offer visitors great chicken coop plans, but few seem to offer little more than a single basic design. However one of the Newest and Most complete chicken coop design guide websites online has been endorsed by hundreds of chicken owners worldwide so far and contains a wealth of chicken housing data and related information that is well worth reviewing. (http://www.easydiychickencoop.com)