Raising chickens in the city is easy, fun and potentially profitable. Take a look at these ideas for best chicken breeds, chicken hatcheries and chicken coops.
Chicken raising has come off the farm and into the city. now more than ever, people are raising chickens in their backyard for eggs and meat. some may hesitate to attempt keeping chickens, believing them difficult to care for. Nothing could be further from the truth! a little common sense, research and planning before you bring home that first cute, fluffy baby chicken will make your experience with chickens fun and rewarding.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a whole world of chickens, chicken breeds, chicken breeders, even chicken and poultry shows. Competition at shows can be as fierce as any to be found at The Westminster Kennel Club. Types of chickens range from sturdy and easy to care for to rare and exotic with every combination to be found in between.
Experts would recommend that the beginning chicken keeper start with easy, sturdy, reliable breeds. Save acquiring rare or exotic breeds until you have some experience keeping chickens. Fortunately there are a number of chicken breeds suitable to the novice backyard chicken raiser.
Best Backyard Chickens
- Rhode Island Red
- Barred Rocks
Many of the above breeds come in differing varieties, such as the Golden Laced Wyandotte, the Silver Laced Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, Black Barred Plymouth Rock. People are often surprised at how pretty chickens are.
Chickens come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, styles and sizes. From tiny bantams to giant cochins, you’re sure to find a chicken breed to satisfy you.
The Chicken Coop
The chicken coop is where your chickens will live. Take a look at your backyard. Think about how many chickens you want and how much space you’re willing to devote out of your yard to housing your chickens. Chickens in the city will require an enclosed space outdoors to spend the day, and a secure henhouse to sleep in at night.
Be sure to check your own city’s laws and ordinances regarding keeping livestock and chickens. There’s usually a restricted number of chickens you can keep and generally roosters are not permitted. It’s also a good idea to talk with your neighbors about your chicken plans before you start. Usually the promise of fresh chicken eggs is enough to keep neighbors happy.
It’s important to keep security in mind when designing your chicken coop. Chickens are very vulnerable to predators. Even in the city, loose dogs, cats, racoons, rats, opossum, hawks, owls, even foxes and coyotes are a danger to your backyard flock. plan to make your chicken coop proof against creatures that can fly, dig, pull, chew, pry or otherwise break into your coop and eat your chickens.
Where to Buy Your Chickens
You have a number of options. You can visit your local feed store, buy from a local farmer or you can order chicks online. if you buy chickens from the feed store or farmer, you have the advantage of picking your chicks. Look for chicks that have bright eyes and clean, dry feathers. They should have clean beaks and feet, and be free of any type of discharge, from eyes, nostrils or vent. if you can, listen carefully to each chick’s breathing. You shouldn’t be able to hear anything. if you hear wheezing or sneezing, avoid those chicks. The disadvantage to buying from your local farmer or feed store is you will likely have a limited choice of chicken breeds.
Buying online has all the advantage of being easy; right from the comfort of your own home you can research and purchase the right chicken breeds. There’s no disappointment; if you really want a Silver-Laced Wyandotte, you can have one. The disadvantage is there’s usually a minimum number of chickens you must buy.
On-line Chicken Hatcheries
- McMurray Hatchery
- My Pet Chicken
- Cackle Hatchery
- Mt. Healthy Hatchery
All of the above not only sell chicks, but they provide free information on chickens, chicken care, chicken coops, chicken health, and chicken breeds.
Chicken Eggs and Egg Nutrient Facts
One of the main reasons to keep chickens: the eggs! many people avoid eating eggs, fearing cholesterol and heart disease. The incredible egg website provides a wealth of information about the egg, including:
- Eggs are a nutrient dense food; they have a high ratio of nutrients to calories
- Are only about 75 calories
- Are full of 13 essential nutrients including choline, folate and lutein
- Are less than 5 grams of total fat
- There is no proven link between egg consumption and heart disease
- Are packed with healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants
You will likely find that you soon have more eggs than your family can use. Friends, family and neighbors are usually quite happy to help you with your ‘egg problem.’ You may also consider selling your extra eggs at local farmer’s markets. again, check with your local ordinances before embarking on any egg-selling ventures.
City Chickens, Fresh Eggs and Keeping a Backyard Flock
It’s going to be far easier than you ever thought. a little research, a little planning, a little extra care in the beginning will reward you with a happy, productive flock. soon, you will be the envy of your friends and helping them set up backyard flocks of their own.