Getting Started

So, you are interested in getting backyard chickens… where do you start?

  1. Research
    1. local bylaws
    2. budget- review the costs of keeping hen
    3. consider time commitments
    4. education- workshop/ mentor/ books
    5. consider breeds
    6. do a coop walk through- ask your cluck community if someone is willing to give you a tour.
    7. coop siting and construction plan- make sure you are following your local bylaw requirements
  2. Join your local club or community group- build yourself a hen support network!
  3. Build your coop and run
  4. Consider electric fencing.  If you know you area is visited by local wildlife, set up an electric fence BEFORE you have a surprise visit!
  5. Create a catastrophe plan! Assemble resources! What will you do if you go on vacation, or your hen turns out to be a rooster, gets sick or injured, or its time for ‘end of life’? Vet, hen ‘first aid kit’, fellow hen keepers/ community.
  6. Get feed, supplements, feeders, waters, bedding, dust bath.
  7. Get your chickens! – Take photos and brag to your friends online!

So, you brought your hens home for the first time… now what?

  1. Your education and local club or community group involvement doesn’t stop here! Stay involved, share information and ask questions as they come up.
  2. You are an educator and ambassador, educate you neighbors and your friends.
  3. Visit your coop, handle your hens, keep things clean, keep an eye on things so you can catch illness or behavioral issues early.
  4. collect eggs reagularly
  5. feed only what the hens can eat in a day
  6. collect uneaten kitchen scraps before dusk
  7. do not broadcast feed your hens, keep feed contained within the coop and run.  Uneaten food or kitchen scraps will be an attractant to other wildlife.