Let’s talk about chicken keeping basics. This quick list of questions and answers will help you decide if chickens are right for you.
Taking the leap and becoming a chicken owner can be a little daunting. That’s why I decided to put together some Chicken Keeping Basics for my readers who may be thinking of becoming chicken owners too. I will admit that chickens take a lot of care, but as you get to know your flock and gain some confidence with your girls, you’ll find the task of having chickens to be one that is both enjoyable and rewarding.
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How much space do chickens require?
Each chicken needs around 3-4 feet of coop space, but you’ll want to give them a little extra space on top of that. You can either choose a coop and then determine your flock size based on it’s size or vise versa. It really depends on how much space you have to allocate to your flock and coop. Most importantly, chickens require a dry coop with good ventilation that protects them from predators. You can read all about my chicken coop HERE.
When will my chickens begin to lay eggs?
We got our hens from our local 4H. They raise them for the County Fair and then sell them once the fair is over. Our girls were tiny chicks in April and we got them after the fair in September, so they were almost laying age. Each girl matures at different times, but the average is about 5 months until they start laying. We now get 6-8 eggs a day. When we got that 8th daily egg, I was super excited LOL!! It’s the little things. Keep in mind winter does slow egg production.
We grabbed some fake eggs to put in the laying boxes so they would know where to lay their eggs. Most learned correctly…LOL!! We still have a few that lay on the floor of the coop.
What do chickens eat?
Your chickens will need Chicken Feed, but will also love to get scraps from your kitchen. Most chickens are particularly fond of tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, bread and apples! Our girls get Layer Pellets, Scratch and Mealworms daily.
How will my chickens tolerate the weather?
That depends on the breed you choose. When choosing what breed of chickens to raise, do some research. You’ll want to make sure to pick a breed that can tolerate the conditions you experience in your area of the country. We keep our girls comfortable by providing dry shelter with plenty of bedding.
Shop some of my favorite Chicken Keeping Supplies!
This is just a quick list of some of the supplies I’ve found most helpful in my chicken raising journey.
- Top Fill Poultry Fountains (5 Gallons)
- Hanging Chicken Feeder
- Dried Mealworms – My girls LOVE mealworms! We get ours at Atwood’s but this is very similar.
- Pine Shavings Chicken Bedding – We buy pine bedding for the coop and run in bulk.
- Organic Layer Pellets – We use these pellets. We tried the crumbs first, but since they free range, get scratch and grubs daily we have found the pellets last a bit longer for us.
- Scratch Chicken Feed – When I give them the mealworms I also give them some scratch. It’s a treat and they look forward to it daily!
- Ceramic Chicken Nest Eggs for Nest Box Training – We got these to help train the girls where to lay their eggs.
Mr. Rustic got me these cute lil rain boots too…so I’m set!
Be sure to find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for updates on my chickens, home décor ideas and DIY projects. Also – be sure to share your finished projects with me by tagging @rusticorchardhome on Facebook and @rustic_orchard_home on Instagram!