raising chickens

Should I Raise Chickens In My Urban Neighborhood?

Should I Raise Chickens In My Urban Neighborhood?

To Raise Or Not to Raise Chickens in the City

Should I or should I not raise chickens in my urban area?

For everyone that cannot decide whether or not to raise chickens in my local ne9ighborhood, let me assure you, it is not only beneficial in that you can get free eggs and other nice benefits, like free fertilizer, and keeping the yard bug free, it is also tons of fun as well as easier than one might think. All it takes is a little bit of research and some planning to get started. One of the first things that should be kept in mind and considered is that chickens are social animals and require the company of other chickens so, if you do decide to raise chickens in the city, you should get at least two chickens.

Here are some of the questions that you will need to answer first, and probably the most important, do the city ordinances, in the city I live in, allow me to raise chickens in the city limits? If the ordinances do not allow for chickens you will end up having to try to get rid of the chickens you have purchased, so before you purchase anything check the ordinances of not only your city but if you live in a deed restricted community you will need to check with the home owners association.

The next question, which will determine along with your local ordinances (some city’s limit the amount of chickens you can have), will determine how large a coop you can build or purchase. If you haven’t guessed it, the question is “How much space, do I need for a chicken coop?” The size of your coop will partially determine how many chickens you can keep because, overcrowding your chickens will adversely affect them, especially if you are raising chickens in the city for their eggs, unhappy or crowded chicken’s will not lay eggs on a regular basis.


Speaking of eggs brings us to the next question, “Why, do I want to raise chickens to begin with, is it for their eggs or is it for meat?” This question is important when determining what breed of chicken is best for you. Chickens bred for meat will reach slaughter weight in about twelve weeks and as with most chickens, will lay eggs at around six months old however, since bred for their meat the egg production may be spotty at best. Now on the other hand a chicken bred for her eggs will begin to produce around six months old and if kept happy and stress free, will lay at least one egg per day for many years to come.

Now you are probably asking yourself do I really have the time for taking care of chickens if I do decide to raise chickens in urban neighborhood? For my wife and I the chickens take less time to take care of them does my family dog or cat.  If you allow your chickens to roam freely in your backyard, they will keep the yard bug free, between feeders that will have to be refilled every two to three days and the bugs in the backyard, feeding is fairly easing. The only thing left is to make sure they have plenty of fresh water, we usually will give them fresh water every day. A clean place to bed down for the night that is secured so they do not get attacked during the night from wild animals. In our case we have two guard dogs that keep wild animals out of the yard from harming the chickens.

Conclusion

Chickens are fun and economical to raise. Just check all the ordinances where you reside to make sure you will not be breaking any laws. My friend lives in a gated home community and she was told that she could not have chickens, she has 10 chickens on her property and the way she has their coop designed no one in the community even know she has chickens. So if you are thinking about raising chickens just do a little research and if your city or home owners association frowns on the idea of raising chickens do some research I bet you can find a way to have chickens without anyone knowing you have them.

IF you have any ideas or thoughts on this drop us a comment.

 

Posted by Tom in chickens, Urban Homesteader
Raising Chickens In The Backyard For The Beginner

Raising Chickens In The Backyard For The Beginner

Raising chickens for beginners

Chickens are great for people that are looking to get back to nature. My family and I love nature and we love living in small town USA in the heart of central Florida. Chickens can be great pets, supply you with an ample supply of eggs, can be a great source of meat when need be, and can add a little extra income to the family if you decide to sell the eggs.

At our home we have nine chickens at the present time. They range from two months old to five months old. We started this batch of chickens from when they were one week old. We built our own coop and chicken run from scratch and it cost us about $150.00 and then I put on another chicken run to give the hens more room to move around when we are not home. This cost about another $50.00. So for $200.00 we have a large hen house and two chicken runs for them to play around in.

Disclaimer: I am not a chicken expert; my family and I am novice at raising chickens.

Raising chicken from babies

When we purchase our chicks I waited until I could purchase then when they were sexed. This means that there is a very good chance that I will not be purchasing a rooster. Where I live my neighbors probably would not enjoy hearing a rooster at sun up or any other time of the day. I have been fortunate so far that I have not brought home a rooster yet. Where I purchase my chicks I always ask to make sure that they feel confident that there are no roosters in the mix.

Chickens first few weeks

For the first three to four weeks after they come home we keep the chicks in a large rubber made storage container, depending how many you bring home will determine how large of a container you will need. They are way too young to put in the coop when they first arrive at home. While in the storage container I have a bed of pine shavings or shredded newspaper about two to three inches thick for them to run around on and to sleep on at night. Being here in Florida we do not need any heat lamp for them to stay warm but depending where you live you may need to purchase one to help keep them warm till they are a couple months old.

Chicken feed

For the first three months chickens need what is called chicken starter food or sometimes called starter crumbles. I personally purchase starter crumbles that has additional nutrients mixed in for healthier chickens. Most starter crumbles contain about twenty percent protein. Starter crumbles can be purchased in both medicated and unmediated varieties; I personally use the medicated formula. Chickens can get an intestinal disease very easily that can be deadly and this is where the medicated feed comes in to help protect the chicks from catching this deadly disease.

When chicks get about eight weeks old then I switch them to grower chicken feed which contains less protein usually around 16 – 18 percent protein. I will keep them on this till they reach about 18 weeks old, this chicken feed is not medicated.

When the chickens reach about 18 plus weeks old I will switch them to layer feed. Layer feed is 16 – 18 percent protein but it also contains calcium the calcium is for helping with eggshell production.

I may catch some flak from some of you readers out there but I do give my girls cracked corn with their feed, about a 50/50 mixture. I have done this with all my hens from the time they reach about four weeks old till present. We also give them treats like meal worms and food scraps from the dinner table. We are not production farmers and we do have good solid and healthy chickens that are spoiled.

Chicken treats

You will see all over the internet about giving your chickens treats. Some people are in favor of giving them treats and others will say that it is not good for their diet. In our home we do give treats to our girls. Treats can range from various items but we give ours insects that we come across in the yard or we give them dried meal worms that we purchase at our feed supplier.

Chicken eggs

There is a question that I get asked all the time, “do I need to have a rooster in order to have eggs”? The answer is simple – NO! If you are wanting to increase your flock by having baby chicks from eggs then you will need to have a rooster, but No rooster is needed for just having eggs. The first time that I went to cook an egg from one of my chickens I could not believe how much richer and tastier it was than the eggs that I use to purchase at the store. You will really love the eggs that your girls will leave you when you start raising your own chickens.

You’re yard

If your families are the type that have a manicured lawn you may think twice about having chickens. Chickens will destroy a yard in no time if they are left free to run around. Chickens love to dig, just like dogs. Chickens will scratch and dig everywhere looking for insects they love to take dust baths. Now don’t let this discourage you from raising chickens, there are ways to keep them contained from ripping apart your lawn.

Now if you are like us and don’t care as much about our backyard as we do our front then chickens can be your best friend. You see chickens eat anything and everything, our back yard has a tremendous amount of weeds, ants and other insects. Our girls feel like they are in heaven when we let them out to run around, they love eating the weeds, and digging up any hills but we do have to be careful because they will eat other things that are not has healthy for them like trash.

My babies

Many of you may think that I am a little crazy but you will see if you decide to raise chickens you will get attached to them like your own children. You will find yourself naming them and talking to them just like your children and of course you will spoil them.

Raising chickens is not rocket science but it does take a little trial and error before you figure out what is best for your girls. Just like having children, you can read books and get advice from people but the best way to find out what to do is just jump right in and go for it. Here are some good resources for getting started raising your first flock of chickens.

       

 

 

Posted by Tom in chickens, Homestead