What made you want to get chickens?
For some reason, I have always loved the idea of having my own chickens. I love to cook for my family and others, and dishes made with fresh eggs just sounded better. My husband and I are both small animal veterinarians, so I thought for sure we can do this!
I still decided to read up on the subject before we dove in. The book I found the most helpful was A Chicken In Every Yard, by Robert and Hannah Litt. Even as a vet, I had forgotten so much and knew so little about basic husbandry for poultry.
Where did you get your chickens?
We purchased our first four chicks in May 2015 from a seller on Craig’s List. I had been researching breeds a lot, so I knew what we wanted. We started with two Easter Eggers, one Rhode Island Red, and one Chocolate Orpington
Dr’s tip: When ordering chicks, beware of “straight run” which means you get what you get in terms of gender. Some hybrid breeds can be sexed by color, but most require an expert to tell the sex.
Does your neighborhood have restrictions on keeping backyard chickens?
How did you care for the young chicks?
When did you move the chicks into their coop?
Seeing as we are not handy people (literally we could not build a bird house) I hired a contractor to build our coop. You can easily find free coop plans on the net. For this, I have one word: Pinterest.
I would also strongly suggest using Hardware Cloth for the sides and to line the bottom of the entire enclosure. Chicken Wire is NOT sturdy and can easily be chewed through by predators!
Do you let your hens free range?
What has been the most fun thing about owning backyard chickens?
What has been the most difficult experience with owning backyard chickens?
What about keeping chickens with other household pets?
We have had a hawk swoop down twice, but the girls are expert hiders. Our kid’s trampoline provides wonderful shade and security! If you are worried about dogs or other wildlife, I would suggest building a huge run off your coop so your girls have plenty of room to scratch and stretch their legs.
Are you happy with your decision to get backyard chickens?
Any tips for a first-time chicken owner?
Our girls also love leftover food from us (fruit, veggies, cooked pasta, bread), so we waste less. I would suggest you do your research first, especially to be sure they are allowed in your area…then get pecking!
I’m ready to get pecking! How about you?