Lately there has been a big increase in how many people are keeping backyard chickens!
But still lots of people are on the fence about joining in on the backyard chicken fad and not sure if it is worth the trouble and the money invested in not only the coop and run but also the chickens!
Here are a few pros and cons about keeping backyard chickens!
Cost: Chickens can get very expensive long before you get any return. Chicks can cost anywhere from two to forty dollars per chick depending on what breed and if you get them from a hatchery or a breeder.
But before you buy your chicks you have to have a place to keep them after they are out of the brooder. A sturdy, secure coop and outside run is a must if you want to keep your chickens safe. Coops can cost between $500-$2000 depending on if you build the coop your self or buy a pre-built and depending on the size of the building it can get even more expensive. The good thing is, some Chicken Coops are very affordable.
Feed: is another expensive factor in keeping backyard chickens! The average 50 lb. bag of layer feed is $18 per bag. Depending on how many chickens you have it will cost $30+ each month to feed your chickens. Personally I spend $80-$130 each month just to feed my 17 birds. But since I breed my birds they get fed a more balanced, nutritious diet than just layer feed. My feeding program can be seen here: FEEDING PROGRAM.
Health: Chickens can easily get sick for lots of different reasons but the most common reason it there is too much ammonia from their poop in the coop and that will cause an array of respiratory illnesses. Cleaning their coop at least every month will prevent those problems! If you have more chickens in a coop you may have to clean it more often. A good way to know if your coop needs to be cleaned is if you are overwhelmed with the smell when you first step foot into the coop. It the smell is to strong for you it is too strong for your birds! Most chicken illnesses can be prevented.
Most chickens if they stay healthy can live for 6-10 years depending on the breed but hens will only lay reliably for 2-4 of those years so after they stop laying you then have to decide if you want to keep them until their death as just pets or will you sell them to another home that may butcher them for soups. I usually sell mine while they are still laying but only have another year or so left in them as not many people would buy hens that don’t lay.
Experiences: There are many wonderful new experiences in a chicken owners life. The most exciting part is after you have put in the time, money and effort into raising your birds and then they finally lay the first egg! To hear the hens egg song and hearing the roosters crow is another beautiful thing to experience. There are many more fun and exciting things that chickens will bring to your life but you will have to find those on your own!
Farm Fresh Eggs: There is nothing better than a farm fresh egg especially from your own backyard flock! Every morning you will be able to go out to the coop and gather the eggs! It is always nice when you find a warm freshly laid egg! You may even find one of your hens in the process of laying!
Go Broody: Hens that go broody can either be a night mare and a blessing! If you hens only for eggs then a hen going broody is not what you would want. If you are looking to add a few more chicks to your flock, having a broody hen would be the best thing possible. Broody hens will care for the young chicks until they are 6-8 week old just as we would in a brooder box! All you have to do for a broody hen with chicks is feed them chick grower and have fresh water available 24/7 and broody mom will do the hard work!
Pets: Chickens are a great pet for parents to give their children for a first time pet. Chickens are not as long term as dogs or cats but children will love them just the same and the chickens will love the child just as much as a dog or cat would.
There are many different breeds of chickens and some breeds are better as pet than others. For example the Leghorn or the Americana would not be good pets because they are more flighty and don’t like to be handled but breeds such as the Cochin or the Orpington crave human contact and are best suited for life as pets.
There are even some very tiny breeds such as the Serama that you can keep in the house has you would as you would Parakeets or other small birds!
Chickens are very versatile when it comes to housing and as long as that is the way they are raise they will be comfortable in the house.
There are many many other pros that come along with keeping chickens just be sure you read about all of the different breeds and find one that best suits your environment and what purpose you want them to serve.
This article was written by Ayslen Redmon and she is the owner of Lots ‘A’ Cluckin’ Farm.
For more pictures of my birds you can visit Lots ‘A’ Cluckin’ Farm Face Book Page.
We will be offering hatching eggs and chicks from both the BBS breeding pen and the Project Lavender breeding pen during the spring months.
For more information about our birds I can be contacted at [email protected]
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