Are you considering keeping a few chickens to get fresh eggs for the table? Before adding chickens to your homestead, I want to mention a few issues we’ve encountered over the years with our chicken coops. Let’s take a look.
Disadvantages Of Keeping Chickens
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There are disadvantages of keeping chickens. Don’t get me wrong, I love our chickens and would never be without them. My husband and I have kept chickens on our farm for years and enjoy them immensely. But with all things considered, there are a few things you’ll need to have in place before you bring home any chickens to the farm.
What Are The Cons Of Having Backyard Chickens?
Here are ten reasons why you might not want to keep chickens
- Fencing and netting for chickens
- Fly problem
- Daily feeding
- Draws preditors to property
- Cleaning coops regularly
- Attachment to the chickens
- Too many roosters
- Losses from preditors
- Winter- Water, Either break ice twice a day or use an electric water bucket.
- Chickens need to be let out during the day and put up before dark each night. If you want healthy chickens.
Fencing And Netting
The first thing you will need is proper fencing for the chicken coop. Keeping all fencing repaired is essential to keep predators out. Also, you’ll need netting over the top of the chicken run to keep large birds from swooping in for a snack.
Flies can be a problem if you don’t keep the coops clean. They can be a nuisance, especially if the coop is close to your house.
Chickens will need to be fed daily and also gather up the eggs. If you have children, this could be a chore for them to do on the farm. Giving them the duties of chicken keepers can help them build self-esteem and become good caretakers of animals when they grow up.
But if you don’t have any kids around to take care of the chickens, then that leaves just you to go out and do the feeding each day and gather up the eggs—something to think about when it’s raining outside, and you’re late for work.
Draws Preditors To Property
Chickens smell delicious to hungry animals, especially when it rains. The smell carries into the night. If you want to keep chickens on the farm, you will most certainly draw predators to the property whether you want them or not. That’s something to think about.
Cleaning Coops Regularly
It’s not a fun job cleaning the coops, but necessary if you want healthy chickens. We like cleaning the coops each Fall and Spring, sweeping out the old bedding and replacing it with new bedding on the floor, and fresh straw in the nesting boxes.
Attachment To The Chickens
If you are like most of us, you can’t help but grow attached to your feathered friends and think of them as pets, especially when you’ve hatched them yourself from a cute little chick.
When you are attached to your chickens and treat them like your pets, it can be emotionally devastating to you and your family when a raccoon mom slips into the coop at night with her hungry babies and kills every last one of your pet chickens. This terrible tragedy has happened to us more than one time.
Too Many Roosters
For whatever reason, we always seem to raise more roosters than hens. You can cull those roosters or sell them. We can’t cull any to eat. We are terrible farmers. Lol!
Your neighbors will be pleased if you keep the roosters to a minimum. Good thing I live way out in the country. Mine love to crow at 2 am.
Losses From Predators
Losing a chicken now and then is to be expected. But when you lose the whole coop in one night can be tough. It’s essential that the coop and fencing are secure from predators. Monitor any places that need mending and fix it pronto.
During the winter in Southern Indiana, we have many nights when the temperature reaches below 30 degrees, and all the animal waterers are frozen. You must either go out to the coop twice a day to break the ice and refill it with fresh water or install electric water buckets.
I work at home, so I’ve chosen to bust the ice twice daily because we have too many coops for electric water buckets, and the tall ones are really gross after a few days.
Giving Chickens Excercise
Chickens need to be let out of their coops each day and put up each evening before dark. There must be a secure door on the coop and the fenced-in area where they free range. This can be a disadvantage if you don’t have a lot of space. But your chickens will be much healthier and happy if they can be let outside each day or at least on the nice days to get some sunshine and scratch around a bit.
My Chickens love to scratch around for bugs in the ground during the day. We placed a big tree limb in the area so they could be more protected from hawks and owls and stretched netting over the top of the run.
How Many Chickens Should A Beginner Start With?
When we buy chickens, we like to start with a couple of dozen. But if you have a small coop, twelve would be an excellent start.
What Do You Need To Start Backyard Chickens?
You will need to buy a coop to keep the chickens in, some fencing, so they have a place to run, and a container for water and feed. Here’s a handy checklist.
- 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.
What Is The Best Chicken For Beginners?
I love Wyandotte chicken’s blue eggs. They are so wonderful. The Silver Laced Wyandotte, Ameraucana, and Road Island Reds are my favorite. These lay medium-sized eggs that are perfect for eating and cooking in the kitchen.
What did we learn? What are the disadvantages of keeping chickens? I honestly think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to keeping chickens on a farm. A homestead needs to be self-sufficient in feeding your family. That being said, raising chickens is much easier than raising a cow. You will get food daily from your little feather friends, and if you do a little planning, keep your chickens protected from predators. Your rewards will be given out daily with wonderful fresh eggs for the table.
Keep your pet chickens to raise more chicks and eggs. And if you are worried about culling for meat in the freezer. You can buy a dozen feeder chickens just for that purpose and get them processed in as little as six months.
As far as the coop and fencing go, you’ll need to deal with that if you’ve chosen to live on a farm anyway. And chickens are the easiest of all farm animals to take care of as far as I’m concerned.
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