Have you ever considered getting back to basics and raising chickens for eggs in your backyard? With this highly technological world that we live in now, it just seems impossible that there are still some simple and natural things that people are longing for. Probably because of environmental and economic changes, as well as the frantic pace of life that people are feeling now, they are now looking for more earthy, healthy and natural activities and pastimes to pursue. Far from putting up with powdered eggs, people are now appreciating the taste of home grown chicken eggs that have been freshly laid by healthy, happy, free ranging chickens.
In some places though, it can be near impossible to source free-range or organic eggs. If the place in which you live is simply is too urbanized and there are no farms nearby but if you are interested in getting non-store bought or cage chicken eggs, why should you not raise a few chickens of your own so that you can have those healthy chicken eggs?
You might think this prospect sounds appealing and it sure can be tempting to jump right in and get started, especially if you love eating eggs or cooking with eggs, and are serious about your health and consuming whole and organic foods. But make sure you consider the variety of things that can impact on your ability to take on backyard chickens – such as where you live and what you do for a living. Can you imagine keeping chickens too?
Raising Chicken For Eggs – How Hard Can It Be?
Chickens are said to be one of the easiest farm animals that you could take on. They are relatively easy to care for and their food products, housing requirements and other requirements and accessories do not cost as much as those typically required by other farm animals.
Assuming that you are solely raising chicken for eggs, and are not planning to have to kill them for a food source, you won’t have to face this fact of life – that chicken meat from the store does actually come from a live chicken! Many say that if we had to kill our own meat, there may be more vegetarians in the world! Since probably most urbanised folks would find doing this very hard to deal with, raising chickens for eggs is quite a non-contraversial pastime.
So, it might be easy to take care of chickens and collect fresh, healthy eggs – but will it be possible to get a permit to raise them where you live? There are some cities right now that do not allow people to have their own small backyard farm, which means that they cannot raise their own chickens. If you are not sure if your city does or does not permit this, double check before your arm yourself with a load of baby chicks that you might not actually be able to keep.
Another point to consider is whether you will be able to get grown adult chickens at the ‘point of lay’ (of the age where they are ready to lay eggs). Should you have to buy your flock when they are still chicks, there is a reasonable amount of close attention that they need to reach an age where they are independent and not needing close attention and care – like most babies. Since there is a possibility that they will die if you do not care for them as much as you should, it may not be an option for you to have your own flock if you do not have the time to take care of several chicks for a few weeks.
Urban Chickens or Urbanized Owners?
If you have not ever even been on a farm or you have not experienced taking care of any animal, then you’ll have some learning to do! Fortunately most people have some idea of caring for a living creature, but if you have unexpectedly “inherited” some chickens (it happens!) or jumped into chicken ownership without finding out enough about it first, then you’ll benefit from reading on…
Do you already know how you are going to feed and water your chickens? Hens cannot survive without water for a long time which means that you should be consistent in your feeding and watering schedule. A change in schedule will likely disrupt the peace, as chickens will go to lengths that you might not expect when in search of water when they are thirsty. If your lifestyle or work schedule takes you away from home for long days or overnight stays – or longer – you’ll need to have a chicken sitter.
Those who are determined to raise their flock from chicks can arrange for the chickens to have their own coops once they’re old enough, but as chicks, they will need warmth, protection, a cosy box and close monitoring and attention.
There are also some who feel that their chickens will be happier roaming around their available garden area, but if you live in a city, this might not be advisable. Chickens can fly – they will not fly as high as other birds but they might be able to fly over your fence and go through your next door neighbor’s window. It will not be a pretty sight! They can also fly into the mouths of dogs and fall prey to other dangers.
If you do decide to let your chicks roam around, remember that you should secure the area first so that they will not be able to get through other spots that might make you lose sight of them forever. Be careful not to place them near prized flowers or plants that you would like to bloom in the future. They are notorious for pecking prized plants and turning over garden beds in search of worms.
Whilst you are raising chickens in order to have eggs and while you may fall in love with your chickens, and be happy to have them as pets, there will come a time when they are past their egg-laying life. At this time they’ll still require the same care and food, so that’s another aspect of keeping chickens to consider at the outset.
How Do You Know Which Breed of Chicken to Get?
There are a wide variety of chicken breeds available that you can choose from. Thanks to the internet it’s easy to research the breeds of chickens available and you can determine which are commonly kept in your area and so likely to do well. Check out our article on the various breeds of chickens that have been developed. This article is useful because it lists the breeds in categories of what they are best suited to, for e.g. eggs, eggs and meat, or showing. Obviously research and choose the types which you think will be best for providing your needs.
Raising chickens for eggs, for meat production or simply as pets is a truly enjoyable and rewarding pastime for many of those who choose it. Like any pet, chickens are a commitment for their lifetime and require care and responsibility on the part of their owner. But they expect little and give much, so if you’re at all inclined to keep chickens, you’re sure to find it very rewarding.