I have been raising chickens since I was about 9 years old and I am still loving it today. They are fun to watch, the eggs are great and hearing the rooster’s crow makes my home feel so much like a farm. How can you have a farm if you don’t have any chickens?
I am currently raising two different kinds, bigger chickens, though they are all different breeds, and smaller chickens called Silkie Bantams. Our coop is designed in a way that there are two separate sides, one bigger side for the big chickens and a smaller side for the little ones. I have to keep them separated or there is a lot of fighting.
My Dad and I custom built this coop so there is a big door you walk into, then a little door beside the entrance for the chickens to go out to the pen and a big people sized door to get into the pen. Each side of the coop has this set up. The little chicken door is made so you can lock the chickens in at night to keep the raccoons and other predators out.
There is a roost for the chickens to sleep on and lots of boxed filled with straw for laying eggs. The food is a little tray attached to the wall and the water is just a 1 gallon bucket. I prefer the bucket to the normal chicken water dispenser because it’s much easier to fill, clean and break the ice in the winter when it freezes. If we have a bunch of baby chicks though, I do use the little chick water dispensers until they can easily reach the bucket water.
If you are just getting started and would like a few chickens for eggs, I would recommend getting some Wyandotte’s, Ameraucana’s (they lay blue eggs, very cool) and Australorp’s are some of my favorites. Bard Rocks and Banties are great too and I would recommend trying different breeds to see what one’s you prefer. Though many people like Rhode Island Red’s, I do not as every one I have ever had has always become egg eaters, a VERY bad habit. Larger chickens will lay larger eggs, but they will also eat a lot and not live as long.
If you have children and think they might like a pet chicken or two, I would highly recommend the Silkie bantam. They are adorable, little, soft and very docile. If you handle them every day they will get used to people and be very friendly. They are also wonderful brooders and will hatch just about anything you put under them and be it’s momma. Their eggs are very small though so they aren’t exactly a chicken you would want just for eggs, though the eggs they lay are adorable. ^_^
Chickens are a fun and easy animal to raise. If you feed them, give them clean water every day and keep their coop cleaned, they will give you lots of yummy eggs and viewing pleasure. ^_^ They are a great animal to have if you can’t have horses, cows and other livestock but still want something for your farm!
This article was written by Kelley Zdziarski (the Little Elf) of LittleElfsToyshop. I live on a Christmas tree farm with my wonderful husband and parents and happily spend my days making toys to bring smiles to people all over the world. ^_^