Raising chickens at home is a fun hobby and a great endeavor for family projects. You can choose chickens that are kid friendly, or start a home business selling chicks and eggs.
If you are going to sell baby chicks, try getting a pair or threesome of a rare breed. The chicks are worth a higher price, and they don’t cost any more to raise than your common barnyard chicken.
If you have chickens with nice feathering, you can collect the shed feathers for crafting. Many crafters will buy pretty feathers to use in their handicrafts.
Preparation and Planning
Once you have decided to try raising chickens at home, your first priority is to provide protection from weather and predators. To do this, implement a plan keeping in mind how many chickens you plan to house over the next 6 months. Starting small is usually the best option until you get your feet wet in the chicken raising process. When you are planning your chicken venture think about:
- Whether you are going to build an enclosure yourself or buy one.
- How many chickens you would like to house; you need 4 feet of space for each one minimum for standard size chickens, 2 feet each for bantams. Of course the more space you can provide the happier – and healthier they will be.
- Beware of using treated lumber in your chicken coop or cage – it is laced with arsenic.
- Many predators (dogs, raccoons, skunks, opossums) can tear through chicken wire and will dig under fencing to get to the chickens for a midnight snack.
- Chick starter feed and feeder
- Purchase chickens that are adaptable to your climate.
If you live in a cold climate choose chickens that feather out well and are considered cold hardy. One chicken considered fairly immune to cold weather are the Cochins. They are a medium sized chicken with a lot of heavy, downy feathers all the way to their toes. They are a moderate layer, producing an egg almost every day after they are 6 months old. Cochins are also kid friendly with a mild disposition and are easily handled.