As a beginner chicken coop owner, you will be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information that is available out there about how you should get started.
However, truth be told, raising chickens is not as complicated as it seems. In fact, once your flock is established and settled, I can assure you that even as little as 10 minutes a day would be enough to make sure that they are healthy and thriving. It doesn’t take much effort and I assure you, you can do it!
I’ve put together a short list of the most important things that you need to follow and keep in mind as a beginner chicken coop owner. Once you are following these tips, everything else is just the cherry on top. This will be sufficient for you to get a great start and get the basics right, so without wasting much time.
So without any further ado, lets dive into the list:
1: Always Check The Rules And Regulations Of Your Town
If you intend to raise your flock in an urban neighborhood, chances are that your neighborhood has certain rules and regulations that might come in the way of your new chicken raising hobby.
Some neighborhoods have certain noise regulations that may not be a great fit for raising chickens, some neighborhoods have a set limit as to how many pets you can keep while others have a complete ban on keeping pets at all.
If you don’t stay up to date with these rules and regulations you might find yourself having to deal with an unnecessary lawsuit.
2: Establish The Right Brooder
Setting up the right brooder can prove to be rather tricky in the beginning, albeit if you know the basics it should not be that complicated. An ideal brooder has to have 4 things – warmth, security, food and cleanliness, all of which would’ve been provided by the mother hen in the wild.
So in order to recreate all these factors, we will need a spacious cardboard box, pine shavings, feeder, waterer and a heat lamp, all of which are affordable and easily available in your nearby supermarket.
If you are working with a bigger budget, you can make a few changes to this and make things even better for your flock.
Pine shavings can be harsh on your baby chicks lungs, so instead of pine shavings, corn cob beddings are a great alternative. Corn cob beddings are usually used for horse stables and are more comfortable while also being easy on your chicks lungs.
Heat lamps have been known to cause fires whilst also being inconsistent with heat emissions which can be harmful to the chicks.
So instead of a heat lamp you can always buy an electric radiant-heat brooder instead as they do not cause fires and are more consistent with its emissions.
3: Choose The Right Breed Of Chicks
Different breeds of chickens show different behaviors, some breeds are comfortable and loving, while some flighty and anxious. Some breeds are very healthy egg layers while others lay multi colored eggs.
Some chickens prefer warm climates while others prefer cold. It’s really important that you consider all these factors before buying your chicks.
If you are looking for breeds that are easier to take care of, are friendly and easy going I recommend the breeds Speckled Sussex, Light Brahmas, or Cuckoo Marans.
4: Set Up The Right Chicken Coop
When you purchase a batch of chicks, you have about 6 weeks to build the right chicken coop as 6 weeks is the time your chicks will need to spend in the brooder. Thankfully, 6 weeks is ample amount of time that you need to build a perfect coop.
When you are into the poultry business, an ideal chicken coop is very necessary. Needless to say the condition of your coop greatly affects the wellbeing of your chicken.
In order to create a healthy environment for your birds it is very important to accessorize your chicken coop with the right accessories that will make it easier for you to maintain a comfortable habitat for your birds.
There are a number of accessories to choose from while building an ideal chicken coop, here’s a list of accessories according to me that would help you,
- Feed And Water Silos
- Submersible Water Heater
- Rodent Resisting Self Feeding Food System
- Automatic Watering Bowl System
- Automatic Watering Bowl System
- A Magnetic Light
- Roosting Bars
- Infrared Heat Lamps
- Night Eyes
- Chicken Catching Net
- Two Bed Compost Tumbler
- Nesting Box
All the above mentioned accessories would be more than enough to have a sufficient and well functioning chicken coop.
5: Choosing Between Feeding and Ranging
When your chickens are cooped up in one place for a long time they are highly vulnerable to being claustrophobic, this might affect their mental health or in worst case scenarios, they might even fall sick.
Ranging chickens is necessary as it helps them get healthier not just physically but also mentally. Allowing your chicks to roam around free might seem like a great idea but you have to keep in mind that the chickens are essentially prey animals.
Once they are out they are always at the risk of getting preyed on by stray dogs, raccoons, coyotes, birds of prey etc. Hence you need to strike a balance between keeping your chickens free ranged or coped.
It really depends on your locality and neighborhood and you should adjust accordingly, just feed them high quality poultry feed as if you decide to range your flock your birds will already get high source of nutrients from the bugs and plants they peck off from the ground so you’ll have to regulate their feed accordingly as an unbalanced diet can affect their health.
Regardless of what you feed them, keep in mind that you feed them regularly throughout the day as chickens tend to get aggressive if not fed for a long time.
I hope this article was helpful for you and has provided a great insight into the World of poultry business. I hope you make the best choices for your birds and embark on a successful endeavor.