For a new backyard chicken owner checklist, what will I need? As a new backyard chicken owner, you should have a complete checklist of essential items you need to get started. On your checklist, you must include chicken breeds, coop requirements, security, water, and chicken feed. All these are basic requirements that every up-coming chicken keeper needs before welcoming a new flock.
I believe that new backyard chicken owners should know what they are getting into. This should not sound scary to you if you are planning to invest in chicken keeping. It merely means that you should know all the requirements necessary to start raising your first flock. That said, you need an up-to-date checklist to help you get started as soon as possible.
Let’s say you have confirmed with your local city ordinance, and your region is eligible for keeping chickens. Now, this is the right time to prepare for your new project. Take a few weeks to put everything in order before you introduce your new flock in your backyard.
Bringing home, a new flock of chickens is like introducing a new pet to your family members. But in this case, chickens will serve as your primary source of fresh eggs and meat. Besides, they will supply you with organic manure for your vegetable or flower garden.
When deciding which breeds you want to raise, you need to consider other factors that will determine their survival. Above all, you should know how you are going to take care of your flock.
Below is a comprehensive list of what you need in your checklist as a new backyard chicken owner:
1. Chicken Breed Selection
It is always wise to know different chicken breeds even before you make your first selection. Breeds of chickens are usually divided into standard, exotic, heritage, and bantam breeds. Among these groups, there are layers, broilers, and dual-purpose breeds. With this knowledge at your fingertips, choosing the right chicken breed should not be a problem.
However, many details come into play when choosing the appropriate breed.
These factors are as follows:
- Ability to lay eggs
- Appearance ( for the show birds)
Some breeds are very friendly, while others are extremely hostile and aggressive. Quite a number of them do well under confinement, but a few thrive best on free-range in the yard. Take into consideration your household needs before you select your first flock of backyard chickens.
2. Decide on Raising Pullets or Chicks
The first thing you need to do when choosing your flock is to decide whether you want to raise pullets or chicks. A typical chick ranges from one day to six weeks old.
At this age, these little birds require special attention, not to mention good care from you. This is because they are too young to be on their own or survive without heat. In this regard, they will need to spend some time in the brooder until they develop feathers.
Raising chicks needs someone ready to commit throughout. If you know you are a busy person, you should consider starting your flock with a few pullets.
Typically, pullets range from seven to 20 weeks old and can live comfortably outside, unlike baby chicks. They are always a few days away from laying their first eggs. This is the main reason they are more costly than buying chicks. If you are lucky enough, you might start seeing their eggs just after 20 weeks of their existence.
3. Coop Requirements
Chickens need a place to spend their night after roaming the yard all day long. As such, they require a well-constructed and spacious coop to rest at night or when under confinement.
A general rule of thumb states that you should figure out 4 square-feet of space per bird in a coop. On the other hand, you should consider 8 square-feet of space for each chicken on the free-range.
You can increase any of this space to ensure that your birds stay comfortable throughout. Also, you might need more space in the future when your flock grows.
Even though your birds need a spacious coop, you might also consider providing them with an enclosed area or run. This area will enable them to perform all types of activities associated with chickens such as pecking or scratching.
Better still, you should design a coop with a run attached to save you time and space. A fenced-off area or pen may come in handy to provide more space for your feathered friends.
If your yard is large enough to hold more birds, consider housing them in a chicken tractor. This is a compact structure in the form of a coop. You can move it from one position to another for uniform foraging and even distribution of chicken manure. A tractor will enable your birds to access fresh, new ground to forage or feast on bugs, worms, and insects.
4. Maximum Security
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Your chickens’ security is a matter of concern considering the threat of predators and your next-door neighbor’s privacy. Predators exist almost everywhere and can attack your birds at any time and in any direction. To avoid such cases, you will have to ensure that your birds are locked up in their coops at night.
In the day, you would want to watch your flock throughout. Doing so will help keep away stray cats, coyotes, hawks, and other critters.
A fully enclosed run complete with an overhead cover will also keep your flock safe from all types of predators. With proper security around the chicken coop, you can rest assured that nothing will disturb your birds.
5. Coop Maintenance
When setting up the chicken coop, ensure that it has enough space to enable you to work inside comfortably. The space inside the coop should be ample enough to accommodate you when shoveling chicken drops or doing general clean up. The doors should also be large enough to let you in for routine cleaning and maintenance.
Check the height to find out if you can comfortably stand tall when inspecting your flock or performing other tasks. A well-designed chicken coop should allow you to move around freely and hose down or wipe out the interior section quickly.
6. Watering and Feeding
Food and water are the two most important basic needs for your chickens. To help them access these essentials, you must look for good quality feeders and waterers.
This poultry equipment comes in different designs and sizes. You can hang some of them from the coop ceiling or place others on the floor. A few models are automated, but the rest require manual refilling.
When it comes to waterers, you may choose those with plastic fountains or those with water nipples. Homemade feeders or metal troughs can also provide your birds with access to their feed easily.
Many feeder options are there to help you feed your chickens.
Their feed include:
- Chick starter
- Layer pellets
- Whole grains (custom-made feed).
Furthermore, you can feed your flock organic and soy-free blends, table scraps, kitchen scraps, and different kinds of treats. All these types of food will help your birds achieve their dietary needs affordably.
7. Chickens’ Healthcare and Remedies
Just like you, your chickens need medical care from time to time. If you don’t have access to an avian veterinarian, you must look for a well-equipped first-aid kit for your chickens.
More often than not, chickens sustain injuries while scratching the ground, roaming the yard, or fighting among themselves. To keep them out of harm’s way, you should prepare yourself adequately to offer home remedies for their injuries.
Numerous ailments affect chickens throughout their lives. They include broken feathers, chipped beaks, prolapsed vents, bumblefoot, and egg-bound hens. All these problems can be solved at home by yourself, provided that you have the right first-aid kit.
Other requirements for Your Backyard Chicken Checklist
There are many requirements that you need to fulfill when venturing into raising backyard chickens for the first time. Besides those highlighted above, you may want to include the following items on your list:
- Food storage containers
- Nesting boxes
- Oregano essential oils
- Diatomaceous earth (Food grade)
- Chicken saddles
- Chicken digested towel
- Chicken manure composting
- Pumpkin patch or seeds to prevent parasite infestation
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Is it necessary for me to have a backyard chicken checklist before I bring home my first flock? Yes! You need a checklist to guide you on what is required before you can start keeping chickens.
What should I expect if I don’t prepare my checklist before bringing home my new flock? Without a detailed checklist, you may be forced to spend more money trying to buy everything you need in haste.
A backyard chicken checklist is a must-have if you want to start a successful chicken keeping business. The list will point out the most important poultry equipment and other requirements. This will help you to kick-start your project easily and quickly.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!