For two years, my husband nudged that we should get chickens. I had a 10-month old I was still nursing, and the thought of raising chickens, something I had never done, seemed too much at the time while I was still chasing a 2-year old.
Another year passed, and my husband brought up chickens again. As my kids grew and learned more about our food system from watching documentaries, I knew I wanted to have our own eggs.
We were in the town, so we had restrictions—eggs we could do. I entertained the idea. The thought of being able to have chickens was so exciting because I felt the door was slowly opening a crack to my vision of farm animals all over.
Then the realization that we lived on .75 acres kept the door open just a crack. That’s the secret, my friend. I never shut the door entirely.
Once my second daughter was done nursing, I committed to getting six chicks. We have learned so much from starting in a town to live out in the country with over 30 chickens at one point.
If you are starting, whether you live on .75 acres or 20, let me share some common chicken-raising mistakes. I know many others have to when raising chickens. But, if you want to get started with chickens and not look like an amateur, be sure NOT to make these common chicken raising mistakes.
Common Chicken Raising Mistakes that Make You Look Like an Amateur
Thinking Your Hens will Loving Accept Your New Baby Chicks
My husband and I research a lot. I am so thankful for the free resources we have at our fingertips. I knew there would; I mean could be a little hiccup. 🙂 I am hyper. I like to see what happens.
So we introduced our baby chicks too soon, and my lovingly first set of chickens that we call the “big girls” did not think these chicks were cute. So they went full-on attack mode.
In fact, when our first chickens were only a few months old, they killed a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. So the pecking order is serious. Your best bet to introduce the flock is to wait until they are much closer in size to one another.
Not making Your Coop Big Enough
In the town we started raising chickens in, we were only allowed six hens. So we ended up building our coop to accommodate just that. Yet even when they got bigger, it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted them living.
The technical space that chickens need is probably not as much as you think- but if you are planning on having more chickens later on- and you probably will, they are addicting, then why not build your coop a bit bigger.
Talking With Your Neighbors about Keeping Chickens
We started to free-range our chickens on our 0.75 acres on a super busy road in a town. We didn’t have a house on one side of us, but there were houses all around us going the other direction. Although there wasn’t a defined line in free-range your birds in the town- where a store plaza was just off our back yard through a small shrub of trees, our chickens did NOT stay in our yard.
They traveled over to the neighbors quite frequently. And it’s never good when she comes over and says, I don’t mind them, but they are tearing up my mulch. So, yes, check with your neighbors, depending on where you live when you get chickens. I couldn’t get over the fact of keeping our chickens in this coop that was too small, but yet I had to be respectful of those around us. So then we moved out to the country- where you sign a contract saying noise, dust, and smell are common.
Lining up a Chicken Sitter
That’s right. You may have forgotten that you will need someone to come and grab those eggs if you plan to leave for a few days. Or you can go on vacation like we do and have a setup like this.
The best part of asking a neighbor to care for your chickens is to have farm-fresh eggs each morning you are away. Yet, it is one of those things that you may forget about.
When I have younger chickens, I prefer to leave them in the coop with their eggs for long. I have seen some peck them; some fall out of the box, and so forth. A chicken eating its own eggs is a problem you want to avoid.
Thinking Predators Won’t Come
Here we are, just moved into our new farmhouse with LAND! There is a local woman down the road from us who has baby chicks for sale. We were in the whole daze of having land and the high of having more chickens if we wanted, and we ended up going from six chickens to 33. (That included meat birds) When we chatted with this woman and told her we were free-range, her response was- wait, you will lose one.
I think coming from the town and only seeing woodchucks and rabbits, I was naive. Very Naive. It didn’t take long before I met many predators here and lost one. We also lost one to it getting hit by a car. Yet something inside me wants my chickens to live life the way they were meant to.
Yes, they are chickens, but they are here for a purpose. They are providing us food, and happy chickens mean delicious eggs and meat, right? For me, the price of having free-range chickens is part of farm life even when one is lost to a predator. Of course, there are many measures you can take to prevent this. We have our coops tightly secured for those pesky night predators.
So I hope you will consider these tips when deciding to raise chickens or even if you just purchased chickens. They are so much fun to watch. And they provide you with FOOD! 🙂
It would help if you didn’t look like an amateur or anything 😉
Take care, friends!