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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Chickens

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.

Related: 

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.

CONCLUSION

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!

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Pammie

Monday 23rd of August 2021

We’re just starting to build a home version of a 8x18 foot Carolinacoops.com chicken coop. The 10 chickens will arrive next spring. We live on .65 acre and the coop will sit next to our no till garden but will have its own 30’ x 50’ fenced and aerial netted chicken yard and garden. It also adjoins our orchard for more free ranging land with supervision. We have many predators so security and safety for them is necessary. These are our first chickens. Looking forward to planting their garden as soon as the fence is up so the local deer won’t eat the plants.

Thanks for the interesting read. Pammie

Tasia

Monday 30th of August 2021

That is so exciting!

Maria

Saturday 11th of April 2020

Thanks so much Tasia! This post was super helpful, as a Virgo, I obsessively research before I do anything and your post was brilliant. I'm thinking about getting three Silky's, do you know much about the breed? Thank you.

Tasia

Saturday 11th of April 2020

Hi Maria! Glad to hear that. I love researching too. We have one silky and she is almost 4 years old and still lays an egg. Her eggs are a little bit smaller but shes so sweet. Our Silkie Rooster was the sassiest little thing we've ever had. She does great in cold temperatures. The only thing that is different I've noticed with Silkies is that she doesn't roost up high. Actually she was attacked by a raccoon and survived, I wrote about it and have pictures of her here. We are incubating eggs and I would love to do silkies. https://www.thefrugalfarmgirl.com/free-range-chickens-protected-raccon/

Vanessa Parker

Friday 10th of January 2020

Thanks for posting this! I've never had chickens before and I'm finally ready to commit, but your post caught my attention so I gave it a read. Thankfully, I'm a planner to a fault, so I'm researching everything before I get started. 😁

Tasia

Friday 10th of January 2020

Planning makes all the difference. If you are doing your research you will be a great chicken owner :)

Ash

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

Enjoyable read, thank you.

Why We Choose to Free Range Chickens- Even After a Racoon Attack - The Frugal Farm Girl

Thursday 2nd of March 2017

[…] and they were both meat birds. This was when I stopped being naive to the fact that you free range chickens you lose some, until the night we saw a fat raccoon in the […]

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