How to Keep Chickens in a Backyard

Chickens are great to have and lots of fun too! Once you've gotten started, they're super easy to take care of! Here's how you start!

Steps

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    Find somewhere that sells chicks (baby chickens). For example, check at a local farm or farm supply store.
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    Find a roomy box with air holes. Make sure it is inside and away from any predators like cats, dogs, wild animals, etc. A custom box or small tool shed works well.
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    Hook a heating lamp near the top of the shelter ensuring heat throughout the box/shed.
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    Layer the bottom with paper towel (for easy cleanup). Then evenly spread wood chips or hay on top of th paper towel making almost a litter box.
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    Set something stable in the enclosure that is high, but not too high. Something like an old milk crate will work.
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    Go to your local farm supply store and purchase a water and food bowl. (The biggest ones they have) also by some chick feed. Make sure it is for CHICKS!
    • You're ready for your chicks! You can put them in now! They are very fragile and you must be careful.
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    Check on them frequently insuring a constant supply of fresh food and water. About everyday change the bedding and clean the box/shed. (NO SOAP)
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    Continue this until your chickens are 6 weeks old.
    • by now you should have your outdoor chicken coop done. 4 square feet inside the coop, and 8 square feet in the outdoor enclosure PER CHICKEN! Make sure nothing can get in. Or, if your chickens are free ranged, chicken proof your yard by removing anything that they could eat that would kill them and making sure it is predator free. You still need the same amount of indoor shelter though.
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    Inside the shelter you need the water dish, food dish (switch to adult feed, 24% protein), and a nest filled with hay/wood chips for each chicken.
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    Place the chickens in here now.
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    Feed your chickens. You can give them all your table scraps except: eggs, poultry, beans, onion, grapes, chocolate, or anything dessert like.
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    At least once a day, check on your chickens. Collect the eggs. They will not lay eggs for awhile, but to train them to lay in the nests, put golf balls where you want them to lay the eggs.

Tips

  • Watch for predators and make sure your birds can be locked in the coop safely every night. You should also do a head-count regularly, especially if there are known predators in the area.
  • If you have gardeners in the area, they will probably be interested in any extra manure you have.

Warnings

  • Roosters can be aggressive. Roosters also sometimes cause hens to act nasty.
  • If you have a rooster, the eggs can be fertilized and can be chicks. If you only have hens, the eggs are all for eating.

Article Info

Categories: Chickens