So, you want to keep backyard chickens? You’re reading all you can to learn what you need to know to get started, you have bought all the books and are scouring the Internet hoping to absorb the most important information. That’s a great start, but some lessons are painful and expensive to learn by experience, so in the hope of sparing some growing pains for those about to embark on chicken-keeping, I have asked my Facebook fans what they wish they had known before they began keeping chickens. The following are some of their replies and a few of my own.
Three words: JUST DO IT!
Check your local ordinances and zoning code regulations to make sure you can keep chickens legally. Don’t assume that it’s legal just because others in the neighborhood are doing it. Research whether there is a limit on the number of chickens, a permit required for a coop, roosters allowed or any other restrictions. Don’t be afraid to petition local government to change the law to legalize chicken-keeping!
Do your homework…chickens are a serious commitment.
A hen does not necessarily lay an egg every day. There are many factors that play a role in egg-production– some can be influenced by you, but others cannot.
Don’t plan on just getting a few… it’s an addiction. There will always be more than you expected.
Even when purchasing female (aka: sexed) chicks, vent sexing is only 90% accurate. Have a plan for roosters that cannot be kept.
Chicken wire will not protect chickens from predators, only hardware cloth can.
Research the different breeds as some do better in the heat, some do better in the cold, some lay more eggs than others, some are more inclined to brood and some are more or less friendly than others.
Always have an escape plan from inside the chicken coop and run. If there is any way to get locked inside, it will happen when it is least convenient. The pink rope on the latch to this run door opens the latch from inside the chicken run.
Mulch in landscaped beds doesn’t stand a chance. Chickens will take dust baths in the location you least want them to.
How much I would love them and how much they would change my life. Wish I had had chickens years ago!
And a personal favorite, from Tiffany M.: “Make sure they are signed up for your blog and ‘like’ you on Facebook.”☺