Thursday, May 26, 2016

How to Raise Chickens

What comes first the chicken or the coop? So when you want to start raising chickens for eggs there are a few basics things you want to think about, plan for ahead of time and then get your chickens. I had been planning for several years, so that when we moved from an area that wouldn't allow any farm animals to the country I would be ready to rock and roll. Raising our own chickens allows us to have eggs all the time and the capability to raise our own chickens from chicks, since we have a rooster. For me, this was the quickest and easiest meat resource to be prepared. 
What type of chickens do you want? Yes, try to think ahead, Personally I knew I wanted chickens that laid large brown eggs, friendly temperament & cold weather hardy. I also knew I wanted pullets (chickens close to being ready to lay). Then when chickens were available to me, I checked the breed and knew if they were meeting my check list. Also I would caution you on getting chickens on Craig's List, Online yard sale posts and such. Simply because if you are specifically wanted to raise chickens for eggs, you want to insure that the chickens aren't over 3 or 4 years old, when they start dropping their egg production.
Before you bring any chickens home, it is really helpful to have someplace for the chickens to live. You can build your own coop or buy something pre-made. I suggest that you weigh out the costs, time, materials & labor. i have seen some really fine coops or tractors people have built. if purchasing a kit, read the reviews. Buying a inexpensive coop, may not be worth it if it falls apart within a few months. 
We opted for a fairly expensive, but extremely durable pre-fab chicken coop the 
Formex Snap Lock Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House. For us it was a great choice & I absolutely love how easy this is to use and clean. In fact we just bought another smaller version, since we are expanding our flock.

Know what you will feed them & have it on hand when you bring them home. Odd as that may seem, I see people leaving the Tractor Supply Store with their cute little impulse buy chicks and NO food. Now, I am not trying to be all judgy, I mean they may already have feed at home. 
personally I went with a soy-free, non-gmo feed. We travel a couple hours to get this from Sunrise Farm, Stuarts Draft, VA.

There are some other items that are helpful to have on hand when you start. Galvanized trash cans with a lid for feed & pine shavings (bedding). TIP: On the lids, where the handle is attached, we have found that there are two small holes that allow water to get in the cans if they sit outside exposed to the weather. Just this week, we sealed the holes with RTV (Room Tepurature Vulcanizer)
Water fount
Also, it is nice to have a good chicken book(s) on hand. I have several. You are able to find this various items at your local coop or Tractor Supply Store. I have personally found that prices are often better online & are delivered, which is a bonus for me since driving to the city and hauling stuff home can be time consuming. 

Last, but not is o.k. to have some fun items as you are beginning to raise chickens. My favorite fun item I have are Slogger Boots with a chickens on them. They just bring me great joy. Of course you don't have to have chickens for the fun boots!

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
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