Friday, April 5th, 2013...9:46 am

Raising chickens in your backyard

Our Chicken Coop by furtwangl

A very popular trend today is raising chickens in one’s back yard. Lots of people like the idea of having chickens in the yard because they eat insects and can help rid the lawn of ticks. When you raise just a few chickens, they can become pets. And think of the wonderful fresh eggs one gets from the hens. Some of the chickens even hatch Easter egg colored eggs.

When I was a child, every spring my parents would get a big box of baby chicks from the chicken hatchery. I loved the fluffy yellow babies that chirped in the box- we kept them in the house for warmth; but once the chicks started shedding their yellow down and started getting feathers, I must confess to losing interest in playing with them. Not all the animals on the farm are considered playthings. But a cousin who raises a few chicks on her property in Maine says her chickens have grown up and are family pets.

If one thinks one would like to raise chickens in your garden space, first check to see if your town or city allows chickens before you start buying or building a chicken coop and ordering the chickens. Each state has an ordinance about farmyard animals in the back yard.  As cute as chicks are, chickens are noisy- especially if you get a male rooster. Chicken manure makes a great fertilizer, but it stinks- especially when it gets wet. And chickens can get diseases. You must keep your chickens in a clean environment- which means work. Never get invested in raising animals before doing research on problems you might have.  (see here)

Another thing one has to consider before one starts to raise backyard chickens- there are many wild animals that get into your yard that like to eat chickens as much if not more than humans do. (see here) In this GardenLady’s back yard, I am happy to see hawks. But if I were to have chickens, the hawks would be well fed. In my cousin’s backyard in Maine, she lets her chickens run free. But she has been saddened by the fact that foxes get into her yard and a number of her chickens have been lost to them.

But if, after reading this post about the problems you could have, you decided that you do want chickens in your backyard; you have checked and the laws in your state allow them; and your neighbors are happy with the idea of chickens living next to their property, read this how to keep your chickens healthy and happy.

Good luck.

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