Backyard chickens for beginners guide that will help you get things right from the start. We will go over what are the best chickens that are easy to keep and will lay eggs consistently. We’ll also review how to care for them and what housing you should make for them.
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Backyard Chickens For Beginners
I’m here to share some tips on Backyard chickens for beginners. Keeping chickens in your backyard can be very rewarding. I know. I grew up with chickens! My grandma had chickens when I was little, and we have chickens now that I’m married. We’ve had them for many years.
One of my first memories of school is when we went on a field trip to the local chicken egg farm, and I brought home my first chicken in a paper bag. That was so exciting. Grandma put it in with her chickens, and the hen lived a long, happy life on her farm.
You can start hatching them yourself or buy them at the feed store.
Now that you have chicks, what do you do now?
Not to worry! I have some tips to share with you that I’ve learned over the years about keeping chickens in my backyard.
Getting Started With Backyard Chickens
When starting with backyard chickens, you will need the following items. Here’s a list to help you out.
- Chicken coop
- Fencing for around the coop
- Water bucket
- Straw or bedding for nests
- Chicken feed and layer crumbles
- Floor bedding, but not needed. We like to add raked-up leaves from the yard in the fall.
- Chickens or baby chicks
If you decide to get baby chicks, you will need the following because baby chicks are just like any other baby. They need special care until they reach adulthood.
- Brooder box for baby chicks, size depends on how many you get. Don’t overcrowd.
- Heat lamp for baby chicks
- Baby chick waterer
- Baby chick food bowl
- Chick Starter food Non-medicated
- Baby chicks
Why Do You Want Backyard Chickens?
So why do you want chickens in the first place? And do you have the time to spend with them? It would be best if you asked yourself the following questions before getting your chicks or chickens:
- Why are they being raised by you? – meat, eggs, or pleasure?
- Do you have enough room in your backyard for them?
- Who will take care of them on a daily bases? Feed, water, gather eggs, put them up at night, let them out during the day?
- Do you have enough extra time to spend with them?
- When required, are you prepared to “clean out” their coop?
- If you take a trip, who will watch after them?
- Are chickens permitted, and if so, how many?
These are simple questions that need to be addressed first. And they may seem trivial, but many people do not know how much time and effort goes into caring for hens, and the animals suffer in the end.
There are some disadvantages to raising chickens, but I think it’s worth it. Like any other pet, chickens require care and attention. Can you provide it during the winter when the snow is deep, and the chickens require fresh water?
Best Chickens For Beginners
You’ll want to pick a chicken breed that is easy to care for and lays eggs regularly. Chickens need to rest during winter, so don’t expect your chickens to lay eggs then. We usually buy eggs from the store in the winter months. And save money on grain, too, by not buying laying crumbles at those times.
But they will pick up egg production when spring rolls around. Some folks add a light to the coop in the winter to keep production up. But we don’t do that because we care about our flock and want to give them a healthy life here on the farm.
Here’s a chicken breed list of easy-to-raise birds
- Rhode Island Reds
- Buff Orpingtons
There are many breeds of chickens. These are some of my favorites for beginners.
Buying Your First Flock of Chickens
You can buy eggs that you hatch out yourself, chicks, pullets, or adult birds. I recommend buying pullets; these are under one year old and the easiest for beginners to start with for your backyard.
Hatching eggs are a little tricky and need special skills for success.
Adult birds are great if you already have a caged-in area and a place for the hens to lay eggs, provided that you have a secure coop to keep the predators away.
Chicks are a favorite and the best choice for newbie chicken enthusiasts. And they are fun for the family to enjoy. Not to mention the cheapest way to get started with backyard chickens.
How Many Chickens Should You Get?
Standard hens will lay between four and five eggs a week during the laying months of the year. So for a family, I suggest you get at least six hens to start with in your flock.
That should give you around sixteen eggs a week on average. If you think you will need more eggs weekly, then buy more hens, depending on your needs.
Where Is The Best Place To Buy Chicks
You can check with your neighbors, and they might be able to point you in the right direction. But you can also get them at the local feed store.
How To Tell A Healthy From A Sickly Chick
Pick healthy-looking ones to have the best results. Don’t get the chicks that are sitting by themself and looking sleepy or reluctant to move. Those are the sickly chicks. Also, check to see if they have any blockage on their butts. Or weird discharge around their eyes or nose area.
What Do Chickens Need In A Coop
1. The coop must be weatherproof
2. The coop must have good ventilation
4. Nesting boxes for the eggs
5. Plenty of roosts for sleeping
6. Fenced in an area where the chicken can free range during the day
7. A Secure coop to protect against predators
How To Raise Chickens For Eggs
Now that you’ve decided on the chicken and what you need for the coop. Let’s dive into how to care for the chicks once you get them home. First, you’ll need some type of Brooding Box to keep them in for a while.
This can be any cardboard box or tall plastic container. I use the plastic kind. It’s much easier to keep clean. Be sure the box is draft-proof because cold drafts can quickly kill chicks.
You will want some type of bedding or covering for the floor. You want to make sure the floor isn’t slippery for the chicks to walk on. I use paper towels when they are a few days old, then move to pine shavings.
Baby chicks need lots of warmth. Otherwise, they will get sick very quickly. I used a lamp with a heat lamp bulb. Just make sure that the heat lamp isn’t touching anything flammable. You don’t want your house to catch on fire.
When you search the feed store for chick food, you will be stuck figuring out what type to buy. Here’s a handy chart to help you out.
- Baby Chicks: Starter/ Grower Food
- Pullet to Pre-Adult: Chicken Food
- Adult: Chicken Food with a mixture of Layer Crumbles
Medicated Chick Food
Medicated/Unmedicated Food only use as needed. Why start a baby chick off on a medicated food if they don’t need it?
Water is essential for baby chicks to keep them alive and healthy. When the chicks are tiny, you can add small pebbles or marbles to the water dish. Then take them out as the chicks grow. You also want to check the water several times throughout the day and change it often. Those things can get nasty pretty quickly. Having the wrong water bowl in the brooder box can spell disaster.
Keep Things Clean
You will also want to clean the bedding at least every other day. To keep bacteria at bay. Also, wash the feeder and waterer at the same time. Remember to wash your hands too.
When To Move The Chickens Outside
Move baby chicks outside when the weather permits. I like to move mine when they fly around quite a bit in the brooding box. That’s a sign to me that they are ready to move out. But I don’t put them with my adult chickens yet.
They are introduced to the flock in a section of the coop that’s caged off from the adult chickens. Then after a couple of months, I’ll move them out into the flock. I will watch them over the next few days to ensure everyone is getting along ok.
Have you heard of pecking order? Well, chickens have a pecking order, and the young pullets must work things out to fit into their pecking order if I see someone not getting along. Then I will move that chicken to a different coop or trade it to a friend.
You’re reading this because you are thinking about getting chickens for the first time and thought it would be a good idea to look up some backyard chickens for beginner’s guides to help you out.
If you have room for some chickens in your backyard. I think they are a lot of fun to have around. Me and my husband love them. It can be hard when one of them is lost to a predator, but that’s part of it.
The best part is the fresh eggs for your family and the meat on the table.
If you like this, then you might also like to read>Tips On Raising Chickens In Incubator
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