Much like peas and carrots, chickens and gardens belong together (though maybe not occupying the same space). Chickens want to work. They want to dig and search and scratch. Why not put natural behavior to work for you? Discover why you should move your compost bin into your chicken run and how to safely compost with chickens.
Raising backyard chickens is easy, but be warned, they are a gateway animal. You'll start with just a couple of chickens and before you know it you've got a flock large enough to produce eggs for the whole neighborhood. That leads to the acquisition of ducks. Then it's goats.
Chickens really are a great starter animal, though. They are low-maintenance and fairly low-cost. Learn how to raise backyard chickens with these articles. Remember, healthy and happy chickens lay the most delicious eggs.
The word predator implies something large and fierce — mountain lions, grizzly bears, velociraptors. With this in mind, you wouldn’t think your backyard chickens would have too many enemies. I hate to be a massive buzzkill, but they do.
Coyotes, raccoon, foxes, weasels, birds of prey, opossums, skunks, and snakes would all love to sink their teeth into your precious chickens. Depending on where you live, any number of these predators may pose a problem for your flock. However, there are a number of ways to protect your chickens from the creatures that make the suburbs their hunting grounds.
A friend of mine just shared a picture of her “extra chick” that came with her latest hatchery order. I’m sure you’ve been seeing them all over Facebook and the chicken forums. Everyone wants to know, what kind of chick is this? Did you know that one of the best ways to identify a chick, or even an adult chicken, is by its feathers and its comb?
Spraddle leg, also referred to as splay leg, is a condition where a chick’s legs “splay” out to the sides. Sometimes one leg is affected and other times both are. Often it occurs from brooding chicks on a slippery surface such as newspaper, but other causes include incubator temperature issues, vitamin deficiency, or being in a poor position in the egg.
Part of the reason I raise chickens (and homestead in general) is because I care about what goes in our bodies. Between eggs and meat, what goes into my chickens goes into my family. I avoid drugs and medications with my chickens the same way I do with my family members. That’s why I prefer to at least try natural remedies first.
Only you can decide the best route to adding to your flock, but don’t think getting chicks is your only option. Here on The 104 Homestead, we hatch out several dozen chicks and ducklings each year, but add only established birds to our flock. We enjoy the fuzzy chicks and make a profit from them, but raise only older birds. It’s the best of both worlds for us.