Others possess a small flock due to the fact it's just fun. One of my closest friends had chickens growing up, loved naming them (“Tommy the Rooster” and “Chicken Little,” correspondingly) and could not wait to begin her very own flock after purchasing her first house. thehappychickencoop.com has put together an awesome list of things you need to know before raising chickens in your backyard.
Getting backyard chickens for the first time can be an exciting and nerve-wrecking experience.
What if I forget to lock my coop at night? How do I stop predators attacking my hens?
These questions ran through my mind repeatedly when I got my first backyard chickens. I would constantly be checking on my girls every 30 minutes or so, to make sure they were still alive!
To help both, first time, and experienced chicken keepers, we’ve decided to get in touch with 47 backyard chicken keepers to find out exactly what they wish they knew before getting backyard chickens.
We asked them:
“What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you got backyard chickens?”
We received responses from 47 experienced chicken keepers and it’s time to learn the key things you need to know before you raise your own backyard chickens.
The 3 Most Important Things You Need to Know:
- ‘Chicken math’ and how to plan the size of your coop (10 Votes)
- Common chicken illnesses and how to treat them (8 Votes)
- How to protect your chickens against predators and rodents (6 Votes)
You can read the full list of responses below:
1. Build a Bigger Chicken Coop
I wish I had known about chicken math.
Plans for one or two chickens turn into three or four… or ten! But then you see another cute chick and get curious and before you know it- you have even more chickens.
The list of reasons goes on and on, which leads me to my point… Build a bigger chicken coop than you think you need – David B.
2. How Much Fun It Is
How much fun it would really be. I would have gotten them a lot sooner!
It really has been a blessing for me and my family and I really feel it has brought us a lot closer together – Marie P.
3. Chickens Are Much Tougher That People Think
Be flexible- Things will not work out exactly as you plan them.
Chickens are much tougher than many people would have you believe. Chickens were taking care of themselves long before they were domesticated and even today’s domesticated breeds can still take pretty good care of themselves with a minimum amount of help.
The main one- don’t crowd your chickens. The more you crowd them the more behavioural problems you are likely to have to deal with, the less flexibility you have to deal with problems, and the harder you have to work – Ridge R.
4. Research Common Illnesses
I have helped people with chickens for around 5 years then I took a break and now I’m starting up again.
I wish I knew how to keep chickens healthy! My first chickens got scaly leg and it was ugly– if you research these common illnesses before you get chickens you will be prepared for when they get ill – Liberty R.
5. Chickens Are Smarter Than People Think
How much personality these little girls could have. I learn something new every day from them. They are hilarious. And they are a-lot smarter than people give them credit for – Diana S.
6. Common Sense Goes a Long Way
The answer to the question of what do I wish I had known before getting backyard chickens is really a tough one when one delves into the minds of chickens.
I really wish I had known more about the pecking order. Really that is the one thing I seem to have had the most trouble with. No matter what tricks I have tried someone always seems to end up getting picked on more than what is reasonable.
However, common sense goes a long way with keeping chickens but having a great resource to look things up on and ask questions has really taught me more than I ever thought it could – Barbara H.
7. How Much Space Chickens Need
A year ago, my closest encounter with everyday chickens was at the supermarket. I had no idea about various chicken breeds, their characteristics, or even their feather colours. Definitely had no concept on where to house them, what to feed them, or what to do if they get sick.
I don’t think there was only one thing to know before raising chickens. To me, there were tons I wished I had known in the beginning. Particularly, it would be nice to have some quick rule of thumb recommended guidelines on chicken housing as a start – Yellow C.
Note: You can find the guidelines here.
8. Use Sand Instead of Sawdust
The best tip I’ve learnt is to use sand in the coop. It’s so much easier to clean, doesn’t smell and it looks nice. Plus, the chickens love to roll in it.
The other tip that I think is great is that I installed a poop-deck under the roosts in the coop. It makes cleaning the coop out so much easier. So far I’m having a lot of fun with the chickens and I learn something new every day – Shelley (37)
9. They Are Stubborn Creatures
It would be: how often chickens do the unexpected.
I wish I knew how hard it was to try to keep control of them. They go on the road over and over again, and eat things they aren’t supposed to. You think it would be so easy just to stop them. It isn’t! They are so stubborn – Carmen G.
10. Rodent Control
One of the biggest things I wish I’d known, well I knew but didn’t think I’d have a problem with is: rodent control. Mice, rats, chipmunks and squirrels are always around but they aren’t a problem until you HAVE a problem.
If you want to deter them, use an evasive weed such as mint plants. It’s a fast growing ground cover that will take over the run (and beyond) that rodents hate the smell of – Egghead J.