Backyard chickens: How to know they’re right for you

If you’re anything like me, you have a pretty healthy obsession and you’ve already done a ton of research deciding whether you should take the plunge on backyard chicken-ing. I mean, I’m a librarian, so I’m excepted to do research and this weekend, I got to participate in some fieldwork of sorts by chicken-sitting for some friends. And, it was the best weekend ever:

Broody chicken
Broody chicken

But seriously, if you are considering backyard chickens, I suggest first checking with your city ordinance. Most of the time, these are easily accessible online – however, if you have any issues finding yours, ask the librarian at your public library, or just let me know and I’ll try to find it for you! Try to find information on: How many chickens are you allowed to have (if any)? Are you allowed to have a rooster (no? That’s probably a good thing)? etc. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have some girls in no time 🙂

Pretty girl
Pretty girl

Then, consider the amount of space you have. Chickens are pretty awesome in that they don’t need a HUGE amount of space to be able to thrive, but they will need a safe & secure coop to go home to at night. Have fun designing yours before getting some chicks – don’t worry, you’ve got all winter to figure it out!

My friends just let their chickens run around their yard during the day while they’re home. There’s some great benefits to this such as bug control, fertilized yard, and delicious eggs. You want to make sure the chickens get plenty of time out of the coop and either free-range or in a moveable run to give them exercise and diversify their diet and the taste of their eggs. So, when planning out your coop, figure out what setup works best for you.  Right now, I’m in the middle of the planning process myself, designing a coop, and choosing some breeds, so stay tuned for future posts on this!

DSC_0825

If you haven’t figured out breeds yet, you might want to consider looking into breeds that are good with children/families. I’m in the market for dual-purpose (i.e. good layers, good meat) chickens that are good with children and are more sociable (because I love to snuggle them). Once you figure out what you want out of your backyard chickens, the quicker plans start coming together.

Currently, Jason and I are looking at getting the following:
Buff Orpington
Delaware
Rhode-Island Red (even though a bit aggressive, I want to raise one with the others to see what happens)
Golden-Laced Wyandotte
Golden Polish (for fun 🙂 )

But once you’re finished with all of the hard stuff, ask yourself this: Do you love chickens? I mean really love chickens? Do you also love eggs? I bet you do.

Delicious chicken treat!
Delicious chicken treat!

I made this chicken treat for my friends’ chickens because I seriously can’t get enough of seeing them jumping around and pecking and playing. Maybe this will get old once I have my own flock? Somehow, I doubt it. Anyway, I made this tasty blueberry oatmeal from some leftover blueberries from last weekend’s cake-making and quick-oats.

The girls
The girls

Obviously, they loved it. They were pecking through it and picking out all the blueberries and tossing them around. What fun!

See, I can't help but snuggle them
See, I can’t help but snuggle them

So, if you think that you’re ready to try out some chickens, I want to know about it! What breeds are you considering? Have you designed your coop yet? Are you getting chicks or started pullets?

 

 

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