Bird-Brained Plans: Raising Chickens in your Back Yard

Posted February 18th, 2010
by Staff (no comments)

chickensOK, before you click off to some random place on the web, hear me out on this one.

Raising chickens in your back yard is totally bad-ass.

Not only do you have fresh eggs anytime you want them, you also have the right to say, “I have to go home and feed my chickens. Please enjoy the rest of this special showing of Ishtar by yourself.”

If you’re going to raise chickens in your back yard, here are some preliminary steps you need to take:

  1. 1. Check for local ordinances and regulations. There’s no sense in building a coop (that’s the technical term for a chicken house) if the city is just going to post some mean notice on your door that says you have to take it down. Find out if it’s allowed, and then do it.
  2. 2. Talk to your homeowners insurance agent. You need to know what building a chicken coop and keeping livestock might do to your homeowners insurance. If, for example, a chicken decides to take matters into her own hands and peck out a neighbor’s eye, you need to make sure you’re covered for liability.
  3. 3. Spend some time researching chicken breeds and types. There are many different breeds of chicken. Many of those chicken breeds also come in a “bantam” size, which is similar to the idea of “toy” breeds for dogs. So, there might be a full-size “poodle” chicken, and a bantam size “miniature poodle” chicken.
  4. 4. Visit someone who raises chickens in their backyard. Don’t do this unannounced or by just going from one backyard to the next. Find someone online. If there’s not anyone nearby raising chickens in their backyard, consider a visit to a local chicken farm. Or, the nearest chicken farm, anyways.
  5. 5. Build the coop right. Make sure to use strong materials. Your chickens have to hang out in there all night. That’s where they lay their eggs. It’s where they get shelter from the storm. Make sure to use a solid design, and to use materials that will keep out the weather. Make sure it includes enough space for your chickens, too.
  6. 6. Figure out where your chickens will roam. If you have a fenced-in yard, you might be OK. Just make sure they can’t get out. Chickens need to be able to get out a little bit, though. Give them a place to do so.
  7. 7. Have plenty of food on hand. There’s nothing worse than making a midnight run to get chicken feed.

Photo via portmanteaus

Categories: Fun

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