Raising Backyard Chickens
I want to start off by saying we are *learning* on the go about how to raise backyard chickens. I want to share everything as we do it. Am I the expert? No. And I would love any tips from my readers if I am doing something the wrong way.
The girls and I came back from a trip to baby chicks. Actually, they are 3 weeks old now. Finding chicks in the “off season” (which is June to October) is hard, but my husband had found some while we were gone. We have a total of six chicks. 4 are White Leghorns and 2 are Spotted Leghorns. They don’t produce the beautiful colored eggs; just plain lighter eggs. At full size they will be around 3-4 pounds and are not usually used for poultry meat.
We decided to buy chicks instead of grown hens because we want to get used to each other. I want the girls to see, touch, play with and feed them every single day so they are comfortable around them. I also want the chicks to be very used to human touch. I also wanted to control where I got the chicks and which kinds. I have been told that if you buy from a local source, the chances of them being born from a mother who was treated humanely and not pumped with growth hormones is much higher. Hens don’t like to be alone. They recommend that you have at least 3. I am still not sure why he got SIX, but it will be fun and we have the room.
Right now their “home” needs to be kept at a very warm (actually kind of hot, 90 degrees) temperature which is perfect for the weather right now. They are not in their chicken coop in the backyard quite yet, but in their baby carrier with their water.
We are doing this for a few reasons: #1 For fun #2 To further teach the girls WHERE their food comes from #3 Because the Free Range Organic Eggs I buy cost too much! #4 We just adore animals #5 We have the room! #6 They are great for fertilizing the garden soil and keeping tabs on all those bugs!
The girls and Tyler named them: Athena, Audrey, Belle, Buttercup, Lilly and our favorite chick, Piper.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on our process with raising backyard chickens. Wish us luck!
Added Notes: There is a very particular way you need to keep chicks. I did not go over this. Make sure that your other animals (3 dogs in our case) have NO access to the chicks and make sure your city’s zoning laws allow for backyard hens.