People are becoming more aware of the benefits of raising backyard chickens. In many places, you can start your own flock right in your backyard. Fresh eggs daily, fresh meat, help in your garden, and free compost are just a few reasons to keep chickens in your backyard. Before going out and buying chickens to set free in your backyard, there are a few things that you need to prepare for, such as what type of shelter and how much space they need, food and water, and egg collecting.
The first thing to think about when considering keeping backyard chickens is shelter. You can choose to let your chickens free range in your backyard or keep them enclosed in a chicken run (an outdoor area they have access to), but regardless, you need to have a chicken coop. A coop is a structure where your chickens live, sleep, and lay eggs. It’s their safe place to hide from predators and bad weather. To keep your chickens safe inside of the coop, it’s wise to cover any windows or openings with a strong wire mesh and invest in an automatic coop door. The Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door has a light sensor that opens the door at sunrise and closes at sunset. It’s also sturdy and predator-proof to help keep your chickens safe.
Inside the coop, you will need to provide nesting boxes, an area to roost, food and water, and outdoor access. You’ll need to make sure you have enough space in your coop to accommodate the following for your chickens:
- Nesting Boxes: The general rule of thumb when it comes to the number of nesting boxes you need is to provide one box for every three to four hens. The nesting boxes must be accessible at all times for hens to lay. They also need to be easily accessible to you to collect the eggs. There are ways to build your coop so you can access the eggs from the outside via the door, or you can just go into the coop and collect them. Keep softwood shaving, hay, straw, or some other organic bedding material in the boxes to prevent the eggs from cracking and also to keep them clean. Run-Chicken Nesting box has a special plate that prevents eggs from falling to the floor. It provides a private nesting area for your hens with plenty of room for comfort and a feeling of security.
- Roosting Area: You also need enough space for a roosting area inside your chicken coop. Chickens like to roost when they go to sleep; it’s an instinct to avoid predators. You can check your local farm equipment store for ready-made roosts, or you can also use branches, broomsticks, or wood. Just be sure to provide enough roosting space for all of your chickens to roost comfortably.
- Chicken Run or Outdoor Area: A chicken run is the enclosed area attached to most chicken coops, giving them access to the outside. Giving your chickens access to an outdoor space is necessary for their digestion and overall health. Read more tips on how to keep your chicken healthy. Chickens are early birds; they get up at sunrise and like to start their day as soon as possible. If waking up with the roosters sounds less-than-appealing to you, don’t change your mind about starting your backyard flock just yet. The Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door is a unique, battery-powered, automatic chicken coop door that features a light sensor that automatically opens the door at sunrise and closes at sunset. Modern technology can guarantee that the coop door will always open at the crack of dawn without you having to get up. It’s also great because it automatically closes before night, ensuring your chickens are safe from predators.
Food and Water
Backyard chickens don’t need much attention. They like to scratch and peck at the ground, eat, drink, sleep, and dust bathe. But you must provide your backyard chickens with the proper amount of food and water each day.
- Food: Your backyard chickens need access to their food throughout the day. An average chicken consumes around 1.75 pounds of food per day, so be sure to have enough feeders to accommodate all of your chickens. A good rule to abide by is that one large feeder is good for 8 to 10 hens.
- Water: Be sure your chickens have access to their water all day. Clean water must be available to all your chickens to ensure they are healthy and hydrated. There are many different types of water systems, so be sure to do your research to find out which one is the best fit for your needs. I use five-gallon buckets with cup attachments, and the cups refill after they reach a certain level. There is one cup for each chicken, although they don’t all drink at the same time.
Daily Care and Gathering Eggs
Some breeds are considered egg-laying machines. But some other factors also play an important role in how many eggs a hen will lay, for example, temperament, size, age, health, and safety. You’ll need to collect your eggs at least once a day, ideally around the same time every day. Doing this can give your chickens a consistent schedule, and you’ll know how many eggs to expect. Collecting your eggs every day (or even twice a day) will ensure that they are clean and fresh. A daily routine is beneficial when caring for your chickens. Feeding them, collecting eggs, and changing their water at a consistent time every day will help ensure that everything is done daily, your chickens are happy and healthy, and your eggs are in peak condition.
Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens
Raising backyard chickens has many benefits, such as helping to improve your mental health and providing you with a daily supply of fresh eggs. According to Next Avenue, raising chickens is a powerful therapeutic way to help people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and even dementia. The day-to-day, routine tasks that come with taking care of chickens can offer comfort to those who need a set daily routine, and did we mention that chickens are also great companions?
We all know the major benefit of raising backyard chickens is the abundance of fresh eggs they provide. Did you know that store-bought eggs can be up to two months old? Eggs can be sold up to 30 days after they’ve been packaged in the carton, but they also have up to 30 days to be packaged after they’ve been laid. That seems like a very long time when you can get your own fresh eggs every single day. Here is a list of delicious omelets you can make next time you have plenty of eggs.
Another benefit of raising backyard chickens is that they are great helpers in your garden! Chickens love to eat all of the little pests that can destroy your garden. They’ll spend hours pecking, picking, and clawing the ground to find all the bugs they can. Their manure is also an excellent fertilizer for your garden, and it can be used in composting. Best of all, though, you can use your chickens to clean up the remnant of your old garden. After your vegetable garden dies out in the late fall/early winter, you can let your chickens loose in it. They’ll clear out any remaining vegetables, fruits, weeds, and plants. They’ll also scratch and peck at the ground, helping to till it and mix it up, all while fertilizing it. Chickens are one the most valuable animals in our lives and our gardens or backyard. Do you agree?
More Tips to Keep Your Chickens Safe and Healthy
- Invest in a spacious, sturdy, and safe chicken coop. Your chicken coop should be big enough to provide space for food, water, nesting boxes, and a place for the chickens to roost. It’s wise to consider covering any windows or openings in the coop with wire mesh to keep predators out.
- Invest in an automatic, predator-proof coop door. If you don’t want to “wake up with the roosters,” an automatic coop door may be the best way to go. Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door is the number 1 choice in the US. These doors are predator-proof to keep your chickens safe during the night. You can also customize the opening/closing time to better fit your schedule, making it a great time-saver.
- Invest in an Automatic Food and Watering System: If you don’t think you’ll have the time to ensure your chickens have fresh water and food daily, consider an automatic food and water system. There are many guides on how to make these yourself, or you could go to your local farm supply store and purchase one. These will save you time and help ensure your chickens have adequate food and drinking water for longer periods.
- Be prepared for bad weather. There are going to be days when you have bad weather, and it may not be wise to let your chickens free range. A cool way to keep them entertained if they’re going to be “cooped up” all day is to hang a cabbage from a string inside the coop. The chickens will peck at it all day, helping to keep them entertained.
There are many things to be aware of when raising your backyard chickens, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. They provide you with a never-ending supply of fresh eggs, they can help you in the garden in many ways, and they are great companions. We firmly believe that anyone can start their own backyard flock, and caring for backyard chickens is, in many ways, one of the most rewarding experiences. Do you need some ideas for chicken names? Check this Ultimate list and find the best one for your hen or rooster.
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