If you would like to get started on raising chickens, be ready to commit as eggs are enjoyed by most people and nothing compares to the fresh taste of eggs, which are a hundred times tastier than any store egg and fresh eggs are more preferred for baking too.
Chickens entertain themselves for much of the day by picking at worms, grass, beetles and other things that go into making great eggs. Nothing that is worth it comes easy, you need a coop, which holds a feeder, nest box, and water containers. Your nest box should be big enough for three chickens and the coop big enough that you can stand inside to shovel and gather all the eggs.
Chickens need water and food daily, their feed costs about $20 for a bag of 50 pounds, although it differs greatly from one country to the next, how long a 50 pound bag would last will depend on the number of chickens. Hens need to have daylight of 12 to 14 hours and will lay throughout spring and summer and even into fall, you can expect to collect eggs daily of depending on the number of chickens, even twice a day.
Manure needs to be shoveled all year round and a good reliable chicken sitter is scarcer than chicken teeth should you plan to go away on holiday. If you still interested it will be good to know that all chickens are sociable so keep at least four to six. They also love their space and need at least a 2 square feet coop per bird. Obviously the more space the happier your chicken and the happier you would be with egg production and the general condition of your chickens.
Give them space to spread their wings, for the chicken run about 20 x 5 feet would do, as they love open spaces to run around. Fence off the area to protect your chickens with wire fencing. It all does cost money and here you would need a budget of around $400. If you are not able to do it yourself, skilled labor would probably cost more.
With everything in place, all that is left is to choose the chicken breed. There are many options available and it is rather important to select the most suited breed as it is vitally important to keep the chickens healthy, happy and productive, several things need to be considered including rooster or hen, climate hardiness, production of eggs, meat production, predator awareness and broodiness.
Climate hardiness would depend on where you live and the climate changes, in Alaska you would not buy a naked neck breed and for farmers in South Texas the Brahman wouldn’t do. So it is important to find the most suited breed for the climate you live in.
Hen versus rooster is normally not a hard decision as most prefer hens, roosters are noisy don’t lay eggs and love to fight to impress the hens. But they do have very good points too, they protect the hens, they are needed to produce fertilized eggs and loved at poultry shows due to their brilliant colors, but still it is best to limit the number of roosters.
Then there is also the decision about the size of the chickens as some prefer the miniature breed and other the larger fowl. Most importantly, chickens are a great way to live more sustainably, they make great pets and the whole family can join in and enjoy happy farming.