How to Keep Chickens: A Guide for Beginners

You don’t have to wait to have a homestead to keep chickens. Keeping chickens is possible in a rental home, starter home, or your ideal dream home. Don’t let myths about keeping hens prevent you from having them.

If you didn’t grow up having chickens, you might not even know where to begin. This quick guide is to help you prepare yourself on how to keep chickens.

How to Keep Chickens

There are many things to consider about having chickens. When it comes to raising farm animals, chickens are fairly low maintenance. Since they are smaller, they are easier to move around if necessary. Chickens are a great starter animal for getting yourself acquainted with raising livestock.

Starting at the beginning is the best way to start. Do your research. Think of having chickens as having any other pet. They require daily needs that have to be met.

Consider who will take care of them if you are out of town. Know that they are a commitment.

Basic Needs

You can break down how to keep chickens in your yard by their basic needs. They will need food, shelter, protection, and room to roam around.

Food

If you will be eating eggs from your chickens or eating your chickens themselves, it’s important to consider what food you are feeding them. Not only do you need to look into the food, but how you will be feeding them too.

While chickens can eat some garden scraps and are good for waste reduction, they need their own food supply too. It’s best not to feed them too many scraps.

Chickens forage and eat grass and insects. Aside from this, feeding them pellets or meal is necessary.

Chicken Feeders

Chicken feeders are good to consider to prevent food from scattering everywhere. If food is all around your yard, this invites pests like cockroaches and rats. It also promotes more waste which can cost you money.

Purchasing a chicken feeder to prevent rats and waste is an important part of having chickens.

Water

Hens get their water supply dirty. Once it is dirty, they tend not to drink from it. To prevent this, having a raised water dish by the entrance of their chicken coop or chicken run will let them have access to water without you having to replace it all day long.

Shelter

It’s important for chickens to have shelter. When it comes to how to keep foxes away from chickens, their shelter comes in handy.

A chicken coop is the enclosed shelter where hens lay their eggs. A chicken run is an outdoor enclosure where they roam around. To ensure foxes don’t make their way into the enclosure, you can raise their area off the ground so predators cannot dig their way inside.

Locking your hens inside their coop at night will allow them to be safer from predators. Laying something like bricks along the outside of the run and coop helps to prevent foxes from digging their way into the enclosure.

Continue Researching

When in doubt, continue researching. It can be overwhelming reading all of the information out there about how to keep chickens. Trust yourself and your ability to learn as you go.

You don’t need to know every detail before you get started. As long as your chickens’ basic needs are met, the rest will come through trial and error.

If you want more tips on how to properly maintain and care for animals, read more on our ‘Pet Care’ page.

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