How To Raise Chickens

How To Raise Chickens In Your Backyard

Raising chickens in the backyard has become increasingly popular. All kinds of people are now wanting backyard chickens for for food as pets, for eggs, for meat or as a source of compost. My city has just passed an ordinance allowing for people to do so, and other cities may allow it as well.

I don’t know much about keeping chickens myself. I’m a city girl, but I did have friends and family who were farmers and they had chickens. I at least have the experience of going out to the hen house to collect eggs. And I had a pet chicken as a child. This was very cool. Otherwise I have a tendency to think of chickens as a source of compost or food.

I will tell you this that raising chickens requires the same three things that raising any other animal does. They require a source of shelter, food, water.

There are all kinds of chicken coops that will fit inside the backyard. You can probably find plans for chicken to construct or buy. And many of these plans can be found online. As well as instructions for building a chicken coop.

If you are interested in having chickens in your back yard garden, check whether your city will allow it. There are likely feed and tack stores where you live where you can buy the feed.

According to Colorado State University, chickens will produce eggs for two to four years and produce better in summer than winter. You will likely get 1-2 eggs a day from each chicken.

Chickens need a continuous supply of food and water. The water should be between 32-80 degrees. There should be a free supply of feed with extra calcium, 16‐18% protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. They chickens will also eat kitchen scraps of veggies and fruit. Also, they eat grass clippings, bugs and worms. In cold weather, they should have high energy feed. Chickens have gizzards which help them grind the food, so you should give them gravel or something else rough, like grit, to help with grinding their food.

Provide the chickens with a place to run, like a pen, and provide around 10 square feet per chicken, and have some soil for them to take dirt baths in. You can clip their wings to keep them from escaping.

A coop is needed to protect the chickens from heat, cold and predators, you should use high carbon bedding like straw or wood shavings. This gives them a place to roost and lay eggs. They should be kept clean so the eggs will be clean.

Other Considerations

Chickens can be noisy, so warn your neighbors in advance.
You should always wash your hands after handling the chickens.
Also, think about what you will do with older chickens that are no longer laying eggs. You can keep them as pets, use them as food or give them to a rescue organization.

For more information:

Home‐Produced Chicken Eggs” CSU Extension factsheet

CSU Veterinary Extension Avian Web Page