Go Green: How to Get Started with Backyard Chickens
Every spring, newly hatched chicks covered in yellow down bask under warming lamps at feed and supply stores around the country. (File photo by Kat Lawrence)
Some people can’t resist the latest spring fashions. Others plant flowers in profusion.
Then there are those, like me, who are highly susceptible to the cheerful chirping of newly hatched chicks. Every spring I hover near the big tubs and troughs at the local co-op, alongside young children begging their parents for “just one” chick.
Like many things in life, having chickens is more complicated than one might think, especially when it comes to protection from predators. Young chicks need warmth, special feed, and grit to help them process their food. As chicks grow into pullets and then mature birds, their feed and space needs change. And, of course, the internet is filled with sometimes conflicting information about what is best for backyard chickens and what breeds are suitable (are you raising chickens for eggs, meat, both or simply as a pet?).
As someone with 13 hens that live a luxurious country life in their custom-built poultry palace, I can assure you that having chickens is fun, entertaining, and rewarding, but it is work. I once read chickens are less work than a dog but more work than a cat, if that helps. But knowing what is required before you bring home a sweet bundle of fluff will make the experience more pleasant.
And remember, chickens are social creatures that thrive in a flock, so you can’t get just one. Wink, wink.
Subscribe to Extension for Real Life
Fill in the information below to receive a weekly update of our blog posts.