Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
BackyardChickens.com (BYC as it is more frequently referred to) is a large website that is filled with information for anyone who is interested in poultry! What began under inspiration from a child’s class project in 1999, the site is now owned and managed by a man named Rob Ludlow. Mr. Ludlow is the co-author of many books, including Raising Chickens For Dummies, and, Building Chicken Coops For Dummies.
According to Ludlow, “There is definitely a huge growing trend towards owning backyard chickens, and www.BackYardChickens.com is on the forefront of this movement. Hundreds of thousands of people are realizing the wonderful benefits of raising a small flock of backyard chickens- the pets that make you breakfast!”
The website is quite successful, and you can see a healthy growth and level of participation by all members through some basic statistics.
• Over 2 million unique visitors (people) monthly.
• An active site with over 450,000 current members.
• Members are posting about 7,000 times daily (on average there are more than 5 posts every minute, of every day, 24/7).
• Over 3,000 user-submitted coop designs and 274 breed information/review pages.
There are many different areas of the website that make it perfect for beginner and expert poultry lovers alike. There is a learning center, forums, coop designs/plans, and breed review pages that all provide not only the chance to learn, but the chance to share your own experiences as well. These different features rely on submissions from the great members of BYC!
The Learning Center is a place where people can learn the basics of chicken care, along with more advanced topics such as incubating and hatching eggs. Here you can find information on the costs of raising chickens, rare breeds, or even articles on other fowl such as turkeys and quail. There is even a special section here for recipes, with over 500 yummy ideas to choose from.
If you visit the Forums of BYC, you will find that almost every sub-forum is posted in on a daily basis. There are so many knowledgeable, welcoming folks here that are more than willing to help new members get started. Here, you can socialize and have fun with other owners from all over the world! After introducing yourself, you can ask questions about breeds or even check out what poultry or equipment people have for sale. Currently, the 8th Annual BYC Easter Hatch-a-long is still taking place, and the forums are flooded with pictures of adorable baby chicks, ducklings, and more. If you've missed it this year, check back next Easter to join in on all the fun!
If you’re new to chickens or just looking for an upgrade, the Coops section is for you. Small, medium, and large designs are available here, as well as ideas for “chicken tractors” and handmade feeders. It’s interesting to know that these plans are user-submitted, and feature photographs of the building process along with information on the costs and time involved.
For honest reviews of different poultry varieties by site members, make sure to visit the Breeds page. Here you’ll find great photographs and information on each person’s experience with the breed (including the pros and cons). You have the ability to sort breed pages by categories such as egg productivity, breed purpose, size of the bird/egg, and even comb type.
I’d like to point out that I have not been sponsored at all to write this article, however, I do have permission from the owner to share Backyard Chickens with the readers. I wanted to shine the light on this wonderful website, because I was introduced to it around 2008, and have found a great deal of help here myself. In my personal opinion, this is the #1 go-to place for all things related to chickens, ducks, turkey, guinea fowl, quail, geese , and so much more. Please visit Backyard Chickens for yourself, and see how this site can benefit you and your flock!
Fala Burnette is a homesteader with her husband at Wolf Branch Homestead in Alabama. They have recently completed building a small cabin using lumber they have milled themselves, with the help of their antique tractor. Along with raising chickens and ducks, they are making the switch to planting all heirlooms in their garden this year. Read all of Fala's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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