If you’ve recently decided to take the plunge and raise backyard chickens, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Whether you are a first-time chicken keeper or an experienced coop builder, there are many questions that arise on your journey. Here at Insteading, our resident chicken specialist Wren has compiled the top 5 frequently asked questions about backyard chickens to help you get started.
One of the most common questions people have is what breed is best for a backyard flock. Ultimately, it depends on your climate and the purpose of your flock. For instance, if you live in a warmer climate, then a heat-tolerant breed like the Australorp or Brahma are excellent choices, while if you live in a colder climate then a cold-hardy breed like the Rhode Island Red is better suited for life in your coop. If you want eggs then reliable layers like the Leghorn, Orpington and Plymouth Rock are a good choice.
Another common question is how long do chickens live? Generally speaking, chickens can live up to 8 years in ideal conditions. However, this also depends on the breed and other factors such as health and nutrition. In addition to knowing what breed is best for your flock, being aware of their health and dietary needs will help ensure a long life for your birds.
When considering the cost of chickens, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether they will be expensive. The cost of chickens can vary depending on the breed and whether you purchase them as chicks or adults. Generally speaking, chicks will cost more than older birds, but they can also require more care and attention during their first few weeks of life. The cost of feed will also need to be factored into your budget, as well as housing such as a coop or run.
Finally, many people want to know what kind of care and maintenance a backyard flock requires. Keeping chickens is not as daunting as it may seem: daily tasks include providing fresh water, checking for signs of illness or predation, collecting eggs and cleaning any soiled areas in the coop or run. In addition, chickens will need regular medical check-ups and an annual parasite treatment.
Whether you’re just starting on your backyard chicken journey or an experienced coop builder, we hope these FAQs have given you a good overview of what to expect when keeping chickens! If you have any further questions, be sure to check out our course on chicken keeping for more information.