Urban and rural homesteading is becoming quite trendy for 2011. Actually, for those who have been watching the economy plummet, the idea of becoming self-sufficient isn’t new or trendy at all. Learning the skills of our ancestors is an excellent idea and one very easy way to start honing your homesteading skills is to raise backyard chickens. Not only will you learn a valuable lesson but you will benefit from fresh, healthy meat and eggs. If you have enough chickens you may even turn a profit selling eggs!
It’s really easy to start your backyard chicken farm. The first thing you will need to do is get your equipment ready. If you are getting pullets (hens ready to start laying eggs) you will need to have a coop. If you will be raising chicks then you’ll need a brooder. The benefit of getting day old chicks is that you will be getting healthy birds and you can control what they come into contact with and what they are fed. You can also, spend lots of time with them and provided you purchase the right kind of chicks, you’ll have pets, too!
A brooder need not be anything more than a safe and secure way to house your chicks until they are at least 4 to 6 weeks of age. My brooder is a kiddie pool! It’s working out very well. I went to the local Tractor Supply Center and purchased a bag of pine shavings, a heat lamp with a 250 watt red light, a waterer and a feeder, and a bag of medicated chick starter. This starter is great because you don’t have to add any grit to it for the entire time the chicks are eating it (which will be until they go out to the coop!)
As long as your coop is wind-proof, you don’t have to insulate it. Sometimes the insulation does more harm than good. I know you may feel like your chickens are going to freeze their tail-feathers off but don’t worry, they won’t! If you buy the appropriate chicks for your climate zone, they will tolerate the cold just fine.
Chickens can be a form of profit, self-preservation, and enjoyment, give them a chance to bounce their way into your life! With proper care and minimal time and money, you and your family can really enjoy your backyard chickens! Since you made it to the end of this article you must be interested in raising chickens! Please finish my backyard chicken series to find out more about raising chickens and watching them thrive!