There’s no denying that raising chickens in your backyard is a rewarding yet sometimes challenging experience. Despite what you might think, you don’t need acres of land to raise chickens, nor must you live on a farm.
Thousands of householders across the country raise chickens in their backyard. You’re likely reading this page with interest because you want to do that too, but you’re unsure whether there is any ‘secret’ tips or problems you haven’t discovered about raising chickens.
It turns out there are some facts about raising chickens you probably won’t read about in books or even some websites! Here are six of those facts you need to check out right now before you decide to start raising chickens in your backyard:
1. Everyone you tell will have an opinion
When you start telling people you know, like family members, friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances, that you’re going to raise chickens, all those folks will have an opinion about that. Sadly, not all of those opinions will be particularly useful or indeed welcome.
Of course, none of those people will be tending to your chickens each day, ensuring they are fit and healthy. That’s your job! You’ll probably find people with the most opinions will “change their tune” when they realize they will have a lifetime supply of free eggs to eat!
2. You’ll always worry about their safety
Some people don’t realize that wild animals exist everywhere – even in densely-populated, inner-city locations. The thing is, chickens make easy prey for predators like foxes, for example. That’s why it makes sense to erect secure fencing to protect your chickens.
Chickens can also become a target for rodents such as mice and rats. Companies like Pest Authority can help you to deter rodents. But, you’ll still need to keep your chickens’ living areas clean to prevent them from becoming a target for such small predators.
3. One is never enough
You may have aspirations of having a single egg-laying chicken in your garden, living in a warm, dry, and secure coop, and having free run of your garden during the day. However, what you’ll soon discover, whether you admit it or not, is you’ll increase your chicken family!
Raising chickens is quite an addictive pastime, and even though you’ll start with one, you’ll soon end up with several before you know it. You’ll probably even have people ask you if you’re looking for chickens to adopt (and you’ll never say no!).
4. You’ll learn a lot about raising chickens
You can read all the instructional books you want, like The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow, and watch YouTube videos on raising chickens. It’s not until you start raising them that you’ll truly learn about chicken behavior, their unique personalities, and their quirks.
Many people don’t think much about chickens, other than how they provide two food sources (i.e., their eggs and meat). The thing is, chickens make good pets just like dogs and cats. They get happy, sad, angry, and feel pain just like other animals.
If you’re an omnivore, you may even decide that you want to stop eating chicken or perhaps decide you’d rather be a vegetarian or vegan! In any event, raising chickens is undoubtedly a profound learning experience.
5. You’ll drop down the pecking order
At first, you will assume that humans such as yourself rank above domesticated fowl. The truth is, you’ll ultimately become your flock’s servant! They will make you feel guilty for heinous acts such as feeding them 15 minutes later than usual.
They will also expect you to keep their home cleaner than yours and demand that they have a higher status in your household than your family. Of course, such changes to the ‘pecking order’ are subtle – but they will happen!
6. Your chickens will eat everything
One final thing you should know about raising backyard chickens is they won’t hesitate at nibbling on virtually anything! Chickens aren’t particularly fussy about what they eat, and it’s not uncommon to see them munching on garden pests like flies and ticks.
Chickens will also happily go through your garbage and eat through anything inedible such as newspapers and plastic bags. They will even try to devour metal objects that you’ve thrown away, just in case they think they’re missing out on a tasty treat!
As you can imagine, you’ll probably spend much of your spare time supervising your flock and stopping them from munching on things that aren’t food.