From collecting farm-fresh eggs to enjoying your birds’ big personalities, there are many great reasons to keep chickens in your backyard. Before you run off to buy your flock, however, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. To reap the benefits of backyard chickens, you must do your research to provide the best home possible for them. If you want to start your own flock, remember these three things to consider before raising backyard chickens.
Check Your Local Laws
A surprising number of places let you keep backyard chickens—even in big cities. Despite this, there are still local laws and regulations you will need to follow with your flock. For example, while many cities let you keep hens, a lot of them have bans against keeping roosters. You might also face rules regarding the size of your flock, where and if you can sell eggs, and whether you need a permit. Make sure you research the rules in your area so you can stay up to code and obtain any registrations you need to keep your flock.
Make the Coop Fit Right
Chicken coops come in countless shapes, sizes, and designs. It’s easy to get lost in creative coop ideas and forget about the basics. You need to make sure every member of your flock has enough access to food, water, and roosting space. The exact size of your coop will depend on the number of chickens and the different breeds you own. Generally speaking, you’ll need about three to five square feet of space per bird. You will also need plenty of nesting boxes if you want laying hens. Before you bring your new flock, figure out exactly how much space they’ll need and plan your coop accordingly.
Get the Right Birds
Just as coops come in a wide variety, so do the chickens themselves. One of the most important things to consider before raising backyard chickens is why you want to do it in the first place. Do you look forward to farm-fresh eggs? Are you in search of a family-friendly pet? Take some time to research the most popular backyard chicken breeds, each of which has a different egg-laying average, temperament, and other traits that make them unique. Determine the chicken breed that matches what you’re looking for so you can find the best fit for your backyard flock.