DIY







7 Expert Tips for Getting Started with Backyard Chickens


| 9/5/2018 10:20:00 AM


 

After raising chickens for over ten years, you pick up a trick or two along the way. In this article I want to share with you my top 7 beginner tips to raising backyard chickens.

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7 Tips for Raising Chickens

My first tip is to make sure you understand what chicken math is. Anyone who has already raised chickens knows that they are incredibly addictive. For some reason each time spring comes around I find my flock expanding! Most beginners will start off with a flock size between 6-12. This will normally expand as you become ‘addicted’ to chickens; this is affectionately referred to as chicken math. For this reason, I would recommend that you start out with a coop twice as big as you think you will need. Chances are your flock will be expanding quicker, and sooner, than you think.

Tip number two: start with pullets instead of chicks. What are pullets I can hear you ask? Pullets, also known as point of lay, are chickens that are around 18 weeks old. They will either be just about to, or will have just started to lay eggs. Whilst the thought of getting chicks is very exciting there is a high chance they several of the chicks will die before they reach maturity; this chance increases a lot with beginners. Chicks require far more attention and effort to look after than pullets. Instead if you get pullets, they will be fairly hardy and much more self-sufficient. For more information on this read this guide to raising chickens.



Here is a tip I learnt the hard way, exercise caution when following coop manufacture’s advice on how many chickens you can put inside a coop; their recommendations tend to fall on the small side. If you cramp your chickens, either in the coop or when roaming, it can cause some serious behavioral problems. Some of the most common ones being bullying and anti-social behavior. If left untouched it can cause havoc to the flock. As a general rule each chicken should have 3 square foot of coop space and a minimum of 15 square foot of pen/roaming space. So if you have a flock of six hens, your coop would need to be around 18 square foot (remember my chicken math tip before though). And your pen/roaming area would need to be at least 90 square foot.





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