How to Raise Chickens

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From the Egg to the Hen (and Vice Versa)

Are you looking for pets that are low maintenance, can help keep your backyard weed free, provide the world’s best fertiliser and, best of all, give you a nourishing treat at breakfast? Then look no further, chickens are the answer!

Raising chickens at home need not be expensive. Follow these guidelines and you’ll soon be enjoying fresh, nutritious and great tasting eggs for your breakfast.

Before you get started, it’s always best to check if there are any local restrictions on raising chickens at home in your area. Your local council will be able to help you with this.

You can start your chicken raising career in many ways. You can buy near-adult chickens, buy chicks or even hatch your own chicks.

It’s exciting to try to hatch your own eggs. However, for this you will need an incubator, or a broody hen.

Buying recently hatched chicks will allow you to interact with your chickens from an early age and get them used to being around humans. You’ll soon find that they develop distinctive personalities.

Whichever way you decide to go, you’ll need a backyard, and in the backyard - a coop. Coops can be bought, or you can make your own. A general rule of thumb is that you will need about 30-40 square centimetres of space for each chicken.


If you do not plan to let your poultry out of the coop, provide at least one square metre per chicken. The coop should be raised off the ground to prevent damp rising. Of course, it should be also secured against any local predators that may come roaming.
Your chickens will need perches on which to roost at night and laying boxes for those delicious eggs! The floor must be sturdy and well covered with pine shavings or similar. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to provide a heater.

Unless you are looking at totally free range chickens, the coop should have a run attached to give your chickens access to fresh air, soil and sunlight.

A combination coop and run that can be easily moved around will enable you to give your chickens access to different areas of your backyard. You’ll soon find that chickens are very good at removing weeds and fertilising the ground!

Chickens need access to clean, fresh water and although they will scratch around and supplement their diet with grass, weeds, small bugs and worms, you will need to provide them with a basic chicken feed to ensure that they get the right balance of minerals and vitamins. Shop around for your chicken feed, as some feeds may be pre-treated with antibiotics. If you want organic eggs, avoid these feeds.

Raising chickens can be an absorbing hobby. And if you grow your own vegetables too, you’ll probably not want to buy supermarket eggs or vegetables again!

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