Raising chickens is an undeniably satisfying activity. By now, if you’ve seriously considered raising chickens, you’ve probably scoured the internet for resources on how to successfully raise these addictive pets, and bought some books about the same. There are some things however, that books and “how-to” articles won’t tell you, but are still important to consider before raising chickens. Here are 5 things to keep in mind before committing to this time-consuming, yet extremely fulfilling task:
Chickens are noisy
We’ve all heard and know the familiar chicken call. While most people are fine with hearing this call on and off, raising chickens means that you will hear them squawk for 10 minutes or more, non-stop and often. Usually, this happens right after they lay eggs, and their “egg-song” can be very noisy depending on their breed and personality.
Chickens poop a LOT
This may be something you’ve heard before, but you might not have considered the severity of this statement. Chickens poop a lot, and will poop on anything. Cleaning their coop can be time consuming, and you will have to clean often. Kathy Shea Mormino, a fellow homesteader suggests getting dropping boards that can be pulled out, so that cleaning is made easier. The plus side is that chicken poop can be put into your compost pile, and this sort of animal manure will really benefit your soil once you’ve found a way to handle it!
Chickens need to be protected
There are many predators out there that prey on poultry. Unfortunately, plain chicken wire will not protect chickens from predators. You might have to acquire some hardware cloth to do so. Another option is to use electrified netting, that is especially useful in keeping predators away. If you are raising large chickens and broilers that need to be fenced tightly, electrified netting may be worth considering.
You will easily get attached to your chickens
Again, like other pets, you can easily get attached to chickens. Even if you are raising them with the sole purpose of having farm fresh eggs, it is hard to not get attached to the creatures you will look after with so much love and care. In this article about her experience with chickens, homesteading artist Meredith writes about how she broke all the rules of livestock within one month of getting chickens, and soon began talking about them as if they were her own children. Ultimately, their egg production will slow down significantly, and you will need to decide what to do with your flock. Many people eat their chickens after they’ve almost stopped laying eggs, but others consider them true pets, and find it hard to do so. Think about what your ultimate goal is in terms of your chickens, so that you can make an informed decision on what you need to do when the time comes.
Chickens have personalities
An often overlooked fact, chickens indeed do have personalities. Much like other pets, chickens can be cranky, quiet, active, lazy, friendly and many other things. After a while, you will start to notice the differences among your chickens, and hopefully their different personalities will let you enjoy raising them even more!
These are just of the things you should be aware of before choosing to raise chicken. Raising chicken is a full-time commitment. That being said, your effort will definitely pay off! Raising chickens is fun, satisfying and can easily be a very enjoyable activity. If you think about it, raising chickens is almost like starting a new family – no amount of research can fully prepare you for it, and it will often leave you feeling frustrated, but in the end, the warm fulfilling feeling and happiness it brings you is worth it all.