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If you have ever wanted to know more about buying backyard chickens, then this article is for you. Domestic chickens are a sub-species of the common wildfowl.

Chickens are one of the most popular and widespread domestic animals, with their population growing each year.

There are more than twice as many chickens as other domestic animals, which isn’t surprising given that chickens are interesting birds that provide food and make great pets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Determine your purpose in raising chickens before selecting chicken breeds. 
  • Pick out or build a safe and warm chicken coop.
  • Be sure to have all the supplies you need, such as feed and water containers.

Different Breeds Of Chickens

Before deciding to become a chicken keeper and buying backyard chickens, there are a few things to think about.

different breeds of backyard chickens

First of all, what kind of chickens do you want? Chickens vary widely in their personalities and behavior, so finding a good match for your needs will be important.

Some chickens are friendly and make great pets. Others are goofy and provide entertainment. Some are aloof, which is fine if you are most interested in eggs or meat.

Secondly, I recommend that you look at pictures of chickens. There are an incredible variety of chickens as far as their size, feather color, feather type, feather placement, etc. 

I know when I found out about all of the unique and beautiful types of chickens, I decided I wanted my flock to be a mix of many different chicken breeds. 

Thirdly, think about whether you want to start your flock with adult chickens or raise baby chicks into adult birds. There are pros and cons to both. 

A final consideration is for what purpose you will be raising your flock. Some people raise chickens for eggs and as pets. Others want to raise meat chickens.

These things will help you determine which chicken breeds best fit your family’s needs.

There are even companies out there that rent chickens that you can raise and feed yourself to find out if more long-term chicken keeping is for you. (1)

20 Most Popular Breeds for Raising in Your Backyard

  1. ISA Brown
  2. Plymouth Rock
  3. Barnevelder
  4. Australorp
  5. Naked Neck
  6. Orpington
  7. Silkie
  8. New Hampshire Red
  9. Frizzle
  10. Belgian d’Uccle
  11. Rhode Island Red
  12. Polish
  13. Cochin
  14. Leghorn
  15. Sussex
  16. Araucana
  17. Wyandotte
  18. Minorca
  19. Faverolles
  20. Sebright

Chicken Coop

Once you have decided which chicken breeds to include in your backyard flock, you will need to decide on a chicken coop.

A good quality coop is easy to build, and it’s usually cheaper to build one yourself than to buy one ready-made.

chickens inside a wooden coop

If you’re serious about raising chickens, make sure the coop is strong, well-insulated, and well-ventilated. You also need a coop that has adequate space for the number of chickens. [2]

If you choose a chicken coop that isn’t strong or secure enough, your chickens will be at risk for predator attacks. 

If your coop is not insulated or ventilated well enough, your chickens could be hurt due to harsh weather conditions or the amount of ammonia in the air.

Chicken coops come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. Depending on your flock size, you should get one that is large enough to accommodate all of your birds.

Putting too many adult chickens in a coop that is too small for them is not recommended. Doing so will cause the chickens to become stressed and ultimately unhealthy.

If your coop will have outdoor space, it is recommended that the indoor portion of your coop provides three square feet of space per chicken. 

You should plan for four or more square feet per chicken for the coop if they will not not have outdoor, free-ranging space.

Another concern when building or selecting a chicken coop is the coop door. A locking door keeps your chickens safe from predators like foxes, coyotes, and raccoons.

For some chicken owners, it’s tedious to come out every morning and night to open and close the coop door. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to handle this task, there are automatic chicken coop doors that can do the job for you.

You will still have to monitor to be sure all your chickens have returned to the coop before the automatic door closes for the evening. 

Chicken are great pets, and they are very easy to raise as long as you have the time and willingness to provide them love and attention, healthy nutrition, and a clean coop.

Why Do Chicken Coops Need Doors?

The chicken coop door is a must-have item if you’re raising chickens. Doors help keep them safe from predators and provide shelter for them from the rain, snow, and sun.

Mother nature can be harsh sometimes, and you should be prepared.

The door for your chicken coop doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be sturdy and strong enough to prevent foxes and other predators from getting to your chickens.

When it comes to automatic doors, you can build them yourself or buy one already made, depending on your expertise in building automated doors.

If you are looking to build an automatic chicken coop door, click here to see this article about how to build it.

Building one requires locks, timers, ropes or chains, and patience. In addition, some forethought is required when building an automatic door depending on your coop setup.

You will want to know if your coop requires a door that swings open and closed or one that retracts up and down. 

You will also want to be sure you have some knowledge beforehand about how locks and timers work.

An automatic chicken coop door is a great feature for your chicken coop. You won’t have to worry about locking the door at night or opening the door in the morning. 

Also, you can go on a vacation for a couple of days without worrying about your chickens. The automatic door ensures their safety at night.

If you would rather not build one yourself, you can buy an automatic door. Most local home improvement stores won’t have these in stock, so you will have to shop online. 

You can buy them as Whole Assembly Automatic Chicken Coop Door Openers or you can just buy a Chicken Coop Door Motor.

Purchasing the whole assembly or just the door motor will depend on your preferences and expertise.

For the whole assembly, all you need to do is cut the coop to make room for the door and install it.

If you’re buying the motor alone, you will need to do some work to make the door operational. Usually, for both products, there will be instructions for you to follow.

Whether you are building one yourself or buying one, make sure the locking mechanism works flawlessly. If the door doesn’t lock, it’s not serving its purpose.  

Make sure to test it out several times before leaving it to do its job on its own.

Another aspect of automatic doors is that the lock is controlled by a timer. A timer is a device that is set manually to control the locking and unlocking of the door.

When buying a timer, go for a quality one because it will last longer and work more reliably. You should be sure everything works well so that your chickens are protected.

Chicken Feeds

Raising chickens can be a great way to save money. With the right type of feed, you can have chickens that will pay for themselves in only a few months.

chicken feeds on separate plastics

You will want to balance the expense of the feed with its nutritional content, as it is important to select a quality feed that will meet your chickens’ health needs. 

Healthy chickens produce healthful eggs and live longer, thus providing you with years of joy and also continuing to lay eggs for a longer period of their lifespan. 

Organic feed is an option for you and can be found at most feed stores. 

Different Types of Chicken Feed

  • Chick Starter
  • Grower Feed
  • Layer Feed
  • Flock Raiser
  • Broiler Feed
  • Game Bird Feed
  • Fermented Feed
  • Cracked Corn

Different Forms of Chicken Feed

The chicken feed comes in three different forms: crumbles, mash, and pellets. All of these are made specifically for chickens.

These forms of feed can typically be fed to all ages and kinds of chickens. Chickens tend to have preferences, so select the one your flock most readily eats. 

Additionally, all of these types of feed are readily available at farm supply stores.

Crumbles

Crumbles are bits and pieces of feed that are easy for chickens to eat. It’s similar to the texture of steel-cut oatmeal.

This type of feed is best for young chickens as it is easier for them to eat. However, adult chickens can eat crumbles too; it will keep them busy for a long time.

Mash

Mash is simply a loose and unprocessed version of chicken feed. This feed has to be mixed with water and mashed. The texture is similar to porridge.

Mash is a great baby chick feed, as it’s easy for them to digest. Just like crumbles, however, adult chickens often enjoy mash, too.

While mash feed is a great option for feeding chickens, it tends to be less popular as it takes time to prepare it and clean it up after the chickens are done eating.

Pellets

Pellets are the most popular form of feed. These are usually cylindrical in shape and length.

One of the benefits of using pellets is that they hold their shape nicely. If the chickens tip over their feeder, the pellets are easy to clean up.

Other Things That Chickens Need

In addition to chicken feed, chickens love treats! They will find plenty of treats in nature when they have time to free-range. 

However, you may also want to supplement their diet with a small number of treats such as mealworms, scratch, cracked corn, and seeds daily. 

You can also feed your chickens some of your kitchen scraps. It is safe for chickens to eat many fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Just be sure to check before you feed your chickens something new to be sure it is a safe choice. 

Of course, we cannot forget that chickens must have an abundant supply of fresh water.

Put special water containers in your chicken coop so your flock has access to water. Change their water and cleaner their waterers regularly to avoid water contamination.

backyard chickens dring water

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the cons of having backyard chickens?

One con is the frequency with which chickens poop leaving the keeper with the task of cleaning it up. Another is that they can be noisy and may bother neighbors nearby.

2. What are the easiest chickens to take care of?

Many chicken keepers recommend the Buff Orpington breed because they are hardy and friendly. All of the breeds I mentioned here are good choices. 

3. Do chickens know their owners?

Chickens recognize their owners and, just like other domesticated animals, become attached to them, especially the person who feeds them most often. 

Conclusion

I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge about buying backyard chickens and hope I have encouraged you to become a chicken keeper.

With adequate research and preparation, you’ll enjoy many years with your backyard flock and delight in fresh eggs, which are more delicious than store-bought eggs. 

Please share in the comments below about your plans for your future flock and chicken coop. Happy chicken keeping!

Backyard Chickens

Resources:

1. Thomas A. Rent-a-chicken trend spikes during pandemic [Internet]. National Geographic. 2021. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/chicken-rentals-spike-during-pandemic

2. Supriyono H, Bimantoro U, Harismah K. Design, Construction and Testing of Portable Systems for Temperature, Humidity and Ammonia Monitoring of Chicken Coop. 2nd International Conference on Engineering and Applied Sciences. IOP Publishing Ltd; 2019.

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Ben Roberts

Ben Roberts

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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