The price of organic foods is going up quickly and this may have you wondering how to save. One option is to have your own egg producers right in the backyard. Raising backyard chickens has become more and more popular. Read on to learn a bit more about how you can make your backyard into a chicken friendly area and the benefits of such a change.
Backyard chickens not only offer free eggs on the daily basis, but can be good for the soil as they create natural fertilizer. If you decide to raise chickens in your backyard there are a few things you should know: such as creating a shelter for your new feathery friends, what to feed the egg creators, and how to care for your new additions.
As this is becoming more and more popular there is a great deal of information available on the type of chickens you may want and what is best for your area. However, the basics are the same. Owning around three hens will provide a family of four with plenty of eggs, but these eggs will create a bit of work for you and your family. First find out if owning backyard poultry is legal in your area, some places do not allow such additions. If it is legal then you need to determine if you truly have the space. Each chick will need about two square feet within the henhouse and 8 to 10 feet of room in the yard. This allows them to socialize and move around. You will need a henhouse and plans are available online for a number of structures. These can range in price from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, so choose wisely. Make sure the coop sits off the ground so the hens have a place for shade when they are outside. Additionally, make sure that if you buy chicks you are willing to have them indoors for a few months to get them used to human interaction and until they are big enough to care for themselves. This can be a few months.
The backyard chicken coop should not be taken on lightly. These are living beings that must be cared for, fed and watered daily, and sheltered at night. You will need to invest in poultry feed as well as scratch grain. You can supplement your hens’ diet with fruit and vegetable scraps from your meals, but this should not be their primary diet. Fresh water should be made available and the area should be protected from predators, especially at night. These are just the basics. Read up on backyard henhouses before making the leap, even if you do love fresh eggs.