If you’ve already started growing vegetables in your garden, then you’re already a professional at taking out some time daily to take care of them. This means that you’re prepared to handle the responsibility of raising animals if you’re confident enough.
Since not every farming-enthusiast has space or time to raise a flock, we’ll start small with chickens. That’s because you can grow them in your backyard as well. Here’s how you can get started.
Preparing a Brooder
When you start raising chickens, you never begin by bringing home full-grown chickens, but rather some chicks that are newly-hatched. To keep these chicks comfortable while they’re growing away from their mother hen, you have to keep them in a heated space which gives them access to food, water, and warmth. Not to mention, some space to play. This is referred to as a brooder.
You can start with a cardboard box and use corn cob bedding to fill it so it makes a soft floor for the chicks. It’s absorbent and makes it easier to keep the brooder clean. As for the heat, you should avoid using the heating lamp and instead opt for an electric version which doesn’t pose the risk of starting a fire.
Getting your Chicks
Now you need to fill up the brooder with chicks. You can usually get these from your local or online hatchery. The farming hardware store is also a place where you can get chicks but since you want hens, it’s better to get them from a hatchery since you’ll get straight run chicks from the shop. This means that you might end up with a rooster.
Make sure that you’ve learned about the breeds you want. Ideally, you’ll want loving chickens that lay good eggs. As a starting point, breeds like Cuckoo Marans, Light Brahmas, and Speckled Sussex fit the bill. Now the sight of adorable little chicks may tempt you to buy all of them, but remember that getting less of them is better since you’ll be able to take care of them.
Getting a Coop
Now that you’ve gotten your chicks, you have approximately a little over a month’s time before they’re big enough to live in a coop. And that means you should be ready to build one (if you want to save money) or cash out your savings if you want to purchase a premade coop.
You’ll have to make separate spaces for your hens, and lay some straw that they’ll use to form their nests. Just like in the brooder, use some corn cob bedding or sand that can help you clean out the coop easily. As for feeding them, make sure to invest in high-quality chicken feed or you can simply let them roam in a pen if you have space, this lets them get some nutrition and exercise.
Wait For Eggs!
Make sure to keep them well-fed, watered and clean, and you can expect to see an egg within a couple of months or so.
This helpful guide to chicken farming is ideal for those who want to raise chickens in a smaller space. By following the steps here, you can raise healthy chickens, get fresh eggs, and be a certified chicken mama!