Friday, April 18, 2014
Experienced homesteaders, hobby farmers and country folks in general would not think twice about buying a batch of chicks at the Local Rural King and raising them up for eggs. But a lot of my friends who were raised as city dwellers like I was might think that sounds a bit daunting.
Honestly, when they say chickens are the gate way drug to homesteading it is surely the truth, chicken are amazing creatures, and they spread an infectious form of happiness as they go about their daily business.
With a little reading and research anyone can raise chickens in a very small space. I currently live a suburban area and have two small coops in the back yard. I currently only have four hens and two of them are extremely small bantam hens so I will raise these girls up to fill in the egg production by next fall.
Of course you really need to check the zoning laws in your area to make sure its OK to have chickens but most cities now allow at least a few chickens. If you don't keep a rooster, the girls (pullets) don't make any noise, they eat kitchens scraps and their manure can be composted to enrich garden soil.
Nutrition wise, eggs got a bum rap for a while but now the pendulum is swinging back towards recognizing eggs (the whole thing, not just the whites) as one of natures perfect foods and there is nothing more satisfying then sitting down to a plate of eggs fresh from your backyard flock. And of course, it is true that fresh eggs are so much better than the ones from the grocery store.
Chickens are really easy to take care of , they have few health problems and really just need fresh air, clean food and water and decent accommodations. There are a thousand different plans for chicken coops online that you can build or you can buy a small one at your local farms store. Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about chickens can be found online for free. With several great blogs and websites dedicated to chicken keeping of every kind you can become an expert in no time. I see free Kindle chicken books offered at least once a week. With a little imagination a person can get started keeping chickens with little up front cost. Baby chicks sell for 1-2 bucks a piece and full grown laying hens sell on craigslist and in farm stores for around 15 per hen.
So until they are fully feathered these girls will be hanging out in the living room where I can keep a close eye on them until they are ready to move out into one of the coops. The sound of chicks pecking and chirping happily is music to my ears.