I am excited to be guest posting today on “Raising Dick & Jane.” I love Mary’s blog and share her desire to feed her family only the best food possible. I was excited when I read that she is seriously considering getting chickens this time next year. If you’ve ever read my blog, you know I’m advocate for chicken rearing. So, without further
ado, here’s a little post that should get Mary (and you!)
started on the road to raising chickens.
1. Free Range or Coop with Run – In the backyard chicken raising environment, one has to consider whether their chickens will free range around the yard (which generally requires that they be let out of the coop in the morning and locked back in at night) or be confined to a coop with a run. Both can be good options; however, we use a coop with a run. We have found that between low fence walls, hawks, neighborhood cats, and my desire to keep a garden and NOT have it completely consumed by my chickens, this is the best option for our set-up.
3. Roosts – Chickens will instinctively roost up high to sleep at night. They also enjoy roosting during the day when nothing else is going on. Roosts are generally made from some type of wood and sanded smooth to protect the chickens’ feet from splinters.
4. Nesting Boxes – These don’t have to be fancy but they are necessary as hens instinctively want to lay eggs in a dark and protected space. Generally, a 12 inch cube will work as a nesting box. I’ve read that one nesting box for every four hens should be plenty but in my experience, it works better if you have a box for every two chickens. It seems my girls always want to lay at the same time.
6. Predator Protection – We’re lucky that, except for stray cats and the hawks that fly overhead during the day, there aren’t a lot of predators in the downtown Phoenix area. When my hens are in their coop and run, I know that they are pretty safe. However, I’ve hear stories of places where raccoons are smart enough to get latches undone and snakes slither into nesting boxes to gobble up eggs. That being said, know what the predators are in your area and design accordingly.
Dick and Jane wants to hear from you!
1. Do you own chickens?
2. What would you consider to be the toughest or most rewarding thing about owning chickens?
3. What advice would you give to someone thinking about owning chickens?