Keeping your own chickens is a much better deal than it sounds. If you’re a regular egg eater, you would know how awful packaged store-bought eggs taste in comparison to fresh, farm reared ones. Rearing chickens requires some planning and execution, but it ultimately leads to great tasting food and a wonderful hobby.
First, let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll need to do to get started.
What you’ll need to begin.
Firstly, you’ll need to start with the infrastructure before you can even think of purchasing any chickens. You’ll obviously need a piece of land, and a hen house. You’ll also need a regular food and water supply system. The henhouse needs to be well maintained, clean (as clean as a coop can get) and most importantly, the optimum temperature for chickens to thrive in. Studies suggest that temperature fluctuations affect the mating patterns and even the egg laying patterns of chickens, and the ideal temperature is between 27°C-32°C during mating season. The chickens need to be fed in the open and allowed to move around, which means including a ‘run’ to your coop, which is just a protected area where your birds can stretch their legs and enjoy the sun. I’ve created an easy to understand infographic down below, so makes sure to check that out for a complete list of items.
Decide the breed of chicken that you want to rear. Different kinds of chicken have different variations in egg laying, number of offspring and even egg taste. The most commonly reared chicken is the broiler chicken, but you can decide to go for any breed you wish for. What should remain constant is the controlled environment in which you rear your chickens. Do some of your own research into what kind of bird you think best suits your local weather conditions and requirements.
5 benefits of keeping chickens.
So what are the advantages of rearing chickens, other than being easily able to use a lot of chicken-derived metaphors like, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”? As it turns out, there are quite a few:
If you keep your own bird, you don’t have to rely on the supermarket’s supply of eggs that has been processed in some farm upstate that you have not even heard of. You do not have to worry about sell-by dates or whether or not those dates are even true! Instead, you will get to enjoy farm fresh eggs, that haven’t been lying around in a factory for week. It’s really great to be able to pop into the backyard and pick up a few eggs fresh that day, and make a meal from them.
Come to think about it, you’ll not only be helping yourself, but the planet as well. By ensuring that the only place you have to go for delicious chicken is your backyard, you will reduce the trip to the supermarket and back plus the actual food transportation. How does this help? Well, what it does is reduces the carbon footprint that would have been caused by the emissions of the vehicles involved in the transport of the store’s eggs across the country.
You get to build a pretty chicken coop and feel the satisfaction of being able to do so. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one of the best parts. I love DIY and crafts, but it’s even better when you create something which will be home to your feathery friends. I’d highly recommend building your own coop if it’s possible. You’ll save yourself money, have a great experience, and be able to create a coop which is perfect for your lifestyle and your birds.
Know what you eat: It’s important to know what you’re eating. When you buy eggs from other sources, you do not know what processes it has undergone, what storage facilities have been implemented in and what the chickens were fed or injected with. Sometimes bad manufacturing and storing practices can lead to the contamination of chicken and their eggs, leading to the spread of food-borne diseases. Having your own chickens gives you the advantage of knowing exactly what your chickens have fed on, where they lived, and where they bred.
Once you get the hang of it, rearing chickens isn’t all that much of a task. Within three months, your batch could be thrice its number. It’s not unusual for chicken keepers to sell eggs to their neighbours. Unless you’re eating a handful of eggs each day, you might find that you have quite a few left over. If this is the case, consider selling them to your friends and family. This will help to cover your costs and even allow you to grow your flock.
Keeping your own chickens isn’t as difficult as it seems, it really is a simple hobby and one that is incredibly rewarding and tasty! If you’ve ever wanted to get involved then I’d highly encourage it. As promised before, here’s the infographic that I created to share with you and show you just how easy it is to build your own coop and get started in keeping chickens: