8 Things You Need to Know About Raising Chickens

Posted: 03/16/12 10:00 AM (Modified: 03/16/12 10:00 AM)

Last week I posted a picture of some chickens I spotted at a local store in town on our Facebook page. I noticed quite a few people were asking about the chickens so I asked one of our readers and faithful volunteers to write up an article letting us in on what we need to know about chickens. My husband grew up with them and tells me on a regular basis that we'll own some one day...I'm on the fence about the whole thing personally only because I'm pretty sure I'll be the one cleaning out the chicken coop everyday.

For those of you who are thinking about raising your own chickens, check out what Brandi O had to say:

{8 Things You Need to Know About Raising Chickens}

  1. When to buy chicks? Check at your local farm/feed stores in March & April. They will usually have a variety of breeds. There may also be local hatcheries or farmers that you can buy chicks or even hens from.
     
  2. What to buy? I highly suggest that you shop around and research breeds before you purchase your chicks/hens. Not all hens have a high yield of eggs. If you are only wanting to have laying hens, make sure you only purchase PULLETS and NOT STRAIGHT RUNS! Pullets are females only but straight runs can be male OR female.
     
  3. How many should you have? Keep in mind the area in which you are going to keep them. They don't require a lot of space but do need plenty of room to stretch their legs. Laying hens generally also lay one egg per day so depending on how many eggs you want to get a day, that will help determine how many chicks/hens you want to get.
     
  4. What are the basics that you need for chickens? To have chicks/chickens you will need a hen house/coop that has watering trough, feed trough, nesting boxes and roosting bars. We also have an old swing set frame in our chicken run because they like to roost outside at night in the warmer months. Depending on how you choose to keep them (in a run or free range) you will need a fully enclosed run area where the coop is located or a you can have a chicken tractor which is basically a portable chicken run with coop. You can do an online search of chicken tractors to get a better idea.



     
  5. What do they eat? You can purchase chicken feed and chicken scratch at your local farm/feed stores. Chicken feed runs about $12-14 for a 40lb bag and chicken scratch is about $11-13 for a 50lb bag. In the winter months you need to feed them cracked corn cause it helps keep their body temperature up. They also need LOTS of water, grass, weeds, worms, bugs, grains, etc. I spoil my hens and give them night crawlers, grass clippings, hay and I have been known to warm up some oatmeal for them during the winter and Gatorade in their water in summer.
     
  6. What about selling eggs? Fresh farm eggs are the only way to go in my opinion! We sell our eggs for $1.50/dz or $1.25/dz if you have an egg carton to give me. This way I am not trying to find cartons and I end up just recycling them with my customers. I have heard of people who sell their eggs for $2-$2.50/dz but we don't sell ours to make money on them just to help pay for feed.
     
  7. How hard are they to take care of? My 6 yr old daughter is in charge of our chickens! She feeds them, gives them water, gathers the eggs, helps clean the eggs and puts them in the cartons. She LOVES her job! I take care of the “dirty” stuff but she is responsible for everything else!
     
  8. What are great resources? Trust me, I am NOT an expert on raising chickens! Here are some great resources to help you get started and to maintain your chicken crew:

Backyard Chickens

Homesteading

My Pet Chicken

Chicken Breeds

Safely Preserving Chicken eggs

Buying Live Chickens

Chicken Coops

Huge thanks to Brandi for sending in some great information about chickens! If you have some tips to share, feel free to post them and let us know about your experience!

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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Mar 16, 2012 12:22 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

If a person is thinking about having chickens inside the city limits, you might want to check the city ordinances to see how many chickens are allowed in town. Someone in my local town had to many and they received a hefty fine for having to many. Also, this applies to other pets, such as, dogs, cats, etc. Also, do research on how to keep the chicken coop clean, because you do not want city neighbors calling in with complaints about the smell. It doesn't take long for the smell to aquire and once again there is a hefty fine for that as well. I hope this information helps.

Mar 17, 2012 09:03 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

You can have up to 6 hens inside Tulsa city limits. No roosters though!

Nov 1, 2012 07:39 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

how much do they eat. the 40 lb bag would last about how long if feeding say 4 chickens?

Nov 1, 2012 07:39 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

how much do they eat. the 40 lb bag would last about how long if feeding say 4 chickens?

Nov 19, 2012 11:11 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

whats the best chicken wire for the chickens

Nov 25, 2012 08:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

40 lb should last about a month for 4 birds. I have 7 hens and 2 ducks so my math might be a little off

Dec 4, 2012 10:05 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Great information. Beautiful picture of the Chicken Keeper! I am gonna try my hand at raising chickens now.

Dec 27, 2012 07:52 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Does anyone know where I can find information on the city rules for Midwest City and chickens? I think they are the same as Tulsa, 6 ladies and no roosters, but I want to confirm that before I start building my coop.

Jan 7, 2013 02:02 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

It's best to check with your city for the laws. -Jessica

Feb 8, 2013 04:43 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

We had chickens (in the quasi-woods) growing up. They really aren't very hard to take care of, like they don't need to go to the vet unless they're sick. We let them roam around the yard all day eating bugs to supplement their feed, and changed out their hay when it looked dirty. The main downside was that they poop everywhere so if you want them off your nice deck/patio you're gonna have to fence it. Also if you are mixing ages of new chicks with hens be aware there will be a new pecking order that leaves the chicks covered with scabs for awhile, so you'll need to provide some sort of hiding place while they get used to each other. Very nice, tame pets and free fresh eggs are the best :)

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