Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Considering Backyard Chickens? Read This.

A hen nesting
One of the most common questions asked by people who are new to the urban chicken concept is, "Why would people in a city area want chickens?" The answer is surprising a sympathetic combination of two ideas: to bring back a simpler time with healthier food. This great article from the Examiner discusses some of the education needed to convince city-dwellers that backyard chickens are not a crazy fad. In fact, chickens fit pretty well with a busy lifestyle and a smaller yard. They are inexpensive to keep and can provide endless entertainment for a family with a sense of humor.

So you're ready to try it? This helpful guide offers a good overview of the steps involved, but make sure you're ready by asking yourself some important questions.

-Supplies. Am I willing to invest in the tools I need to raise chickens healthfully and successfully? You'll need chickens (of course! Be sure to check out the "Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken Chart" to research what breeds to buy), a coop (we like ours quite a bit!) to house them in, and quality feed. You may want time-saving tools like egg washers. Are you ready to purchase all of these supplies to get your backyard chicken adventure off to a great start?
-Time. Just like the family dog or cat, your chickens need you for food and water. This article in CNN Money even profiled chicken babysitters for people taking summer vacations. Your chickens will likely be fine for a weekend if you leave them food and water (they don't need human companionship), but you might need some help for a week-long trip.
-Goals. Are you being realistic about what your backyard chickens will be providing? If you're picturing them as the final piece of of your idyllic farm life just like living in the South of France, you might need to adjust your expectations. Chickens can be comical, economical, and fun. They can provide manure for your gardens and eggs for your kitchen. They also can be noisy and messy. Make sure you're going into things with your eyes wide open.

Still game? You'll love it! Now allow me to introduce you to a great resource, the so-called Chicken Whisperer. He is a great resource for education, entertainment, and community.

Drop us a comment and let us know your thoughts on the backyard chicken phenomenon!

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