Interested in raising chickens for eggs, but don’t know where to start? Trying to figure out what to feed chickens, or where to buy chicks? You’ve come to the right place! Let’s talk about what you need and how you can get going on your new backyard project.
Raising Chickens 101 – Covering The Basics
Whether you are planning on selling the eggs for profit or just want a few eggs to feed your family. it’s important to start with the basics. So we’ll start at the beginning with an introduction of raising chickens for beginners.
The Space, Supplies, and Time Requirements for Your Hens
- You will need a chicken coop that is large enough for the chickens to live in and for you to work in. You need to be able to go in there and collect the eggs and shovel droppings. It needs space for a feeder and containers for water as well as nest boxes. This does not have to be expensive; you can build it yourself.
- Along with the coop, chickens need an area where they can run around and stretch their wings. Hopefully you can let them use your backyard for this. Fence off all or part of the yard (whatever you plan to use) so predators can’t get in.
- Every day your birds will need food and water. You can pick up a 50-pound bag of feed for around $20. Note that chickens will eat practically anything, but that does not mean that they should. They need a high-quality poultry pellet as their staple, but they should also be given grain and fruit and vegetable scraps (which should be fresh). Ground up egg shell powder makes a great calcium supplement when they are laying.
- Anywhere from two to six chickens is a good start. Chickens like to socialize, so aim for four to six if you can (and never just one chicken on its own). This will give you plenty of eggs. You can expect around an egg a day from each hen during, spring, summer, and autumn! When you are first starting, you should probably buy chickens that are ready to lay eggs. As you gain experience, you can consider buying chicks or chicks still in the eggs.
- You need to be prepared to spend the time to feed your chickens, shovel droppings, and collect eggs each day.
Where do you buy chickens in the first place? You may find them for sale at local markets, or you can order them online. You will find that they are surprisingly inexpensive—only a few dollars each (most of your money will be spent preparing your coop and backyard). Chickens generally live for 10 years.
It does take a substantial amount of time, work, and commitment to start raising chickens in your backyard, but after the initial investment, it is actually quite affordable. Over time, of course, you will save a ton of money on eggs. You will likely also have enough to give out to members of your community. Raising chickens is also rewarding in other ways. If you have children, it is a wonderful way to teach them responsibility and kindness.
Raising your own chickens for eggs is very rewarding and one of the most common pursuits of the sustainable lifestyle.
Ready to give it a try? There are tons of resources online to walk you through every step!