Home Chicken Keeping a Growing Trend April 22, 2011
Many people grow their own fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden, ensuring themselves a steady supply of fresh, organic, pesticide-free produce. What if you could have the same freshness, safety, and abundance in eggs and poultry? Whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, with a backyard chicken coop, you can! Thousands of Americans have learned that raising their own chickens at home is a lot easier and more rewarding than they would have ever guessed. The eggs you buy at the grocery store may have been laid as long as six weeks before you even buy them. You won't believe how much better an egg that's less than 24 hours old can taste.
Before you start shopping for laying hens, make sure chicken coops aren't prohibited in your area by local ordinances or homeowner's association bylaws. Many areas allow hens but prohibit roosters. You should also make sure that there aren't any predators in your area (including neighborhood dogs and cats) that could threaten your chickens. If there are potential predators, you can still raise chickens - just make sure they're enclosed in a sturdy secure run rather than wandering free range in your back yard.
Once you've ensured that your chickens will be safe from both the critters and the cops, it's time to choose a chicken coop. A good rule of thumb for choosing a coop is to allow about three feet of space per chicken, so how many chickens you can raise might be limited to the amount of available back yard space you have. Fortunately, backyard chicken coops come in a wide range of sizes, from small units that can house a single chicken to bigger chicken houses that will hold up to 16 hens.
Your kids will love helping raise chickens from adorable baby chicks and learning about where their food comes from, and the whole family will love having a renewable supply of fresh, delicious eggs.