My tips and tricks on how to get started with chickens. Including whether or not you should start with chicks, choosing your bread, and checking your local ordinances.
I grew up on a small hobby farm. My sisters and I grew up on 20 acres of property where my dad maintained a beautifully tended garden and my mom raised a coop full of chickens. My husband and I were not ready to buy a farm when we bought our first home. With Noah and I both still in school and working full-time we felt that we didn’t have the time to take on such a big commitment. So we bought our town house conveniently located only four minutes away from my work. Needless to say old habits die hard and we couldn’t resist welcoming a small flock of hens onto our budding urban homestead.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN GETTING CHICKENS
1. Starting from Eggs, Chicks, or Hens
One of the first things you need to consider is where you want to start out with your chicken journey. Noah and I didn’t want to worry about raising little chicks this time around so we bought 3 hens from a local farm called Zoe Farms. When I was little my mom would order eggs and hatch them in an egg incubator. This was a fun and educational experience for us little ones and definitely something I want to do with our kids someday. You can get an incubator for around $100 and use it over and over. You could also opt to buy chicks from a hatchery and raise them up using a brooder. Consider how much time and money you want to invest. We bought our 20 week old hens for $20/bird which is a lot more than a chick would cost but we figured this way we wouldn’t have to buy any of the equipment you need for raising hens and we would be getting eggs right away.
2. Local Ordinances and Laws | Can You Have Chickens In Your Area?
Make sure to see if chickens are allowed in your area, especially if you live in an urban area. Our city is very chicken friendly and only requires that you keep your coop at least 50 feet from other residences. These laws typically vary by jurisdiction. If you want to check and see if chickens are allowed in your area, look on your local health and zoning boards’ websites to see if there are any regulations regarding keeping chickens on your property.
3. Choosing Your Breed
People who are new to chickens may not know that different breeds have different traits. Some breeds such as Buff Orpingtons are known to be broodier. I was looking for chickens that are both good layers and friendly. We ended up ordering 1 red island red, 1 barred rock, and a golden laced wyandotte. I’ll admit that I went with three different breeds because I wanted a colorful flock!
THANKS FOR PINNING
OUR CHICKEN COOP
Noah’s grandparents gifted us their coop which is the perfect size for our small yard. Our coop is rated for up to 6 chickens. I was afraid that might be too many for our small coop so we decided to stick with 4 hens. The 3 we ordered and a leghorn hen that came with the coop. We hope to add a run soon to make sure that they have lots of dirt to peck around in. Luckily, so long as you only want to keep a few chickens, you can find very affordable coops. Ours is similar to this one.
We are excited for the many eggs to come this summer!