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Raising backyard chickens for eggs

Urban Chickens 101: Guide Everything You Need To Know

by Helen
2 comments

First Time Chicken Owner – Owning Chickens 101

First of all, raising urban chickens is something I have always wanted to do.  I became a first-time chicken owner sooner than expected, and I inherited four chickens, a chicken coop, and some chicken feed from my mother-in-law.  Plus, I still needed to think more about what goes into raising urban backyard chickens.  I recommend you gather basic supplies and make a chicken first aid kitAt some point, you will have a chicken get sick or injured.

My Experience With My New Chickens

How do I care for these chickens?  How often do I clean out the chicken coop?  Also, I still needed some experience raising urban backyard chickens or urban chickens.  I thought it was as simple as feeding them, cleaning their COOP now and then, and providing them with sufficient water.  Also, I went out and bought more chickens, including three baby chicks.  Long story short, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.  At this point, we now have ten chickens, three chicks, and a rooster.  Also, we decided to name the rooster “BamBam”; He is the inspiration for this site, Bambams Coop Lifestyle and Home.  

What do I do with the Chicken poop?

Composting at home is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening. If you have chickens, their manure can be a valuable addition to your compost pile. However, it is important to be careful when adding chicken manure to your compost because it contains high levels of nitrogen that can harm plants if not balanced correctly. To create a healthy blend, mix the chicken manure with other organic materials such as straw, leaves, or kitchen scraps. Additionally, it is necessary to maintain your compost pile by turning it regularly and keeping it moist. 

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Raising Urban Backyard Chickens

Here is the kicker: I have never owned nor ever been around urban chickens or farm chickens and didn't realize how funny they can be, but don't kid yourself – raising chickens can also be a lot of work – if you want to raise healthy egg-producing hens.  Therefore, you must keep them safe from chicken pests, protect them from predators – including hawks and owls and raccoons- and protect them from predators – including hawks and owls and raccoons, rattlesnakes and ants, and much more.  Additionally, some of the best chickens to lay eggs are:

  • White Leghorn
  • Golden Comet.
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Legbar
  • Ameraucana
  • Golden Laced Wyandottes
  • Barred Plymouth Rock
  • Buff Orpington

Finally, my backyard chickens are my pets, not just egg-laying machines.  Each of them, including BamBam, has their personality, and when they see me coming, they come running towards me happier than ever – even squawking in their voices.  Therefore, it made all the hard work so worth it.

Preparing For My Urban Chickens, What Do I Need?

First, you must decide how many chickens you will buy or hatch.  Also, are you allowed to own chickens because many communities don't let it?  Moreover, will you be getting a rooster?  Are you allowed to have one in your neighborhood?  Furthermore, many urban districts have ordinances against raising urban chickens or having a rooster.  These are just some things to think about.  Depending on your region, you may or may not need a chicken coop heater.  

.Raising Chickens Feeders

Construct A Chicken Coop or Buy A Prefabricated Chicken Coop

Second, once you know how many chickens you will buy or hatch, you must decide whether to construct a hen house or buy a pre-made one.  Please be sure to size your chicken coop properly, have enough chicken coop and chicken coop, and have sufficient space, roost bars, shade, and proper ventilation for the number of hens you raise.

Third, there are many types of chicken housing to choose from; whether you build or buy a prefabricated hen house, keep chicken safety from predators in mind.  Then, you will need feeders, feed, layer grit, calcium supplement, and bedding inside the coop.

Chicken Coop Size Requirements

The accepted minimum sizes are 2 to 3 square feet inside the coop and 4 to 5 square feet per bird in the run.  However, extra space is always better, and hens are prone to stress and squabbling when packed in tight quarters.  As a result, illness and less egg production can occur.

Now to the next phase, after you bring your chickens home.  They will need to stay in their coop and run so they learn where they sleep.  However, managing an adult flock is simple.  It can sometimes be a little time-consuming; it is relatively simple, armed with the proper knowledge and being prepared.  Even though the hens will care for their needs, don't be afraid when hiccups occur.  Remember that while you may think chickens need heat in winter, they do not.  What they do need is proper ventilation but not direct crosswind exposure.    

How Much Water Do I Provide My Urban Chickens

First, one of the most important things you can do for your flock is to provide an adequate supply of fresh, clean water, especially in the Texas heat.  A chicken will drink approximately three times as much water by weight as they eat in food.  A good rule of thumb is to provide one quart of water for every four chickens.

Chicken Coop and Chickens

Lastly, water can be placed in any plastic or stainless steel container.  But I find it easier to provide drinking water and keep it clean in gallon(s) sized drinkers I've purchased.  I place the drinkers around the pen and under the trees outside of the chicken pen, and I remember flat plastic containers in different areas so the hens can cool off.  Finally, I prefer drinkers that are easy to clean.

Hatching Chicken Eggs

You'll need an egg incubator if you plan on hatching baby chicks. An egg incubator is a device that mimics the conditions necessary for an egg to hatch. It regulates temperature, humidity, and ventilation, creating an ideal environment for the eggs to develop. Egg incubators come in different sizes and capacities, depending on how many eggs you want to hatch. It's essential to choose a good-quality incubator that will ensure the safety and well-being of the chicks. Additionally, you'll need to follow the instructions carefully to ensure the chicks hatch successfully.

Types Of Chicken Feed

There are several feed brands, and based on my review, some are better than others, but that's just my opinion.  In addition, to help American businesses stay in business, I buy American-made and produced products when I can.  My chickens did not like pellet feed, so I bought them organic feed that doesn't contain GMO-Corn or Soy, scratch, and peck feeds.  Also, I ferment my chicken's feed, which makes the feed last longer, have thicker eggshells, and be healthier for my hensIt is super easy, and your chickens will SQUAWK over it.

Starter Feeds

Chicks ages 0-10 weeks old should be fed a chick starter diet with a protein level between 10-20%.  The formulation of these feeds provides proper nutrition for growing baby chicks, and higher protein foods are reserved for meat birds.

Grower Feeds

At 10 weeks of age, gradually start feeding your pullets Grower feed.  Grower feeds are usually 15-16% protein and are formulated to sustain growth to maturity.

Raising Chickens For Eggs – Layer Feeds

At around 18 weeks or when the first egg is laid, gradually switch your birds to a Layer feed.  Layer feeds are designed for birds laying eggs for consumption, and layer feeds have an increased calcium level for proper shell development and contain 16% protein.  Never feed chicks or pullets layer feed, as it can cause significant health issues.

Can I Give My Chickens Treats?

Chickens love treats, but they should be limited to at most 10% of their diet.  These are excellent treats for your chickens: Fly Larvae, which are high in protein, which is what chickens need, and chicken scratch.

When you have chickens, be prepared for common and uncommon problems.  Also, you will likely be frightened and overwhelmed if unprepared for them.  Unfortunately, it's likely that at some point, a hen(s) will have health issues or injuries of various types.  You will not be able to save them all; it is heart-wrenching.

Molting

Molting is a natural process that can and will happen to a rooster or chickens; it is losing all old, battered feathers and growing new ones.  Thus, most molting can last from 60 to 90 days, from when the bird starts losing its feathers to the finished growing of new ones.

My Chicken Is Not Laying Eggs

I've found many reasons a chicken will stop laying eggs; change of feed, lack of vitamins, poor nutrition, illness, and stress are just some of them.  Therefore, knowing your chickens is essential.

What Is Broodiness

What is a broody hen – it is a hen that sits in the nest constantly because she wants to hatch her eggs.  If the chicken is approached, she will puff herself up, squawk, and may even peck at you.

What To Do When Bullying Occurs

The pecking order is just that: each bird in a flock has their place.  The hens at the top of the pecking order get to eat and drink first, and those at the bottom eat and drink last.  The hierarchy is simple and effective, so all the flock members know their position.  I have learned that ensuring the chickens at the bottom of the pecking order are getting enough to eat is a good idea.

Sometimes, bullying can get out of hand; isolating the bully for a week and then introducing it back into the flock may help.  If the bullying gets to the point where a hen is bleeding, remove her from the pack because once the other hens see the blood, they will kill her.

Keep Urban Backyard Chickens Safe From Predators

It doesn't matter whether you live in the city or the country because there will always be predators that will injure or kill your flock.  Some common predators are foxes, coyotes, raccoons, hawks, and pet dogs.

The key to your flock's safety is awareness and preparedness of predatory animals in the area, and last but not least is coop security.  An automatic chicken door is handy because it will provide safety for your flock and is also very convenient.  Because you don't have to worry about opening and closing the coop door in the morning or evening.

Urban Backyard Chickens Illness And How To Prevent Them

Proper hygiene and bio-security should be implemented on the poultry farm.  Birds that recover from specific ailments usually act as carriers and quickly spread the disease to uninfected chickens.  Therefore, the ideal scenario is to prevent the disease.  Plus, birds of different ages should not be mixed.

Raising urban chickens can be work, but it is pretty straightforward once you get into a routine.

Raising Urban Backyard Chickens Tips – Illness

Chickens get sick or injured; with this in mind, having a Chicken First Aid Kit handy is a good idea.

Signs Something Is Wrong With A Hen

Raising backyard chickens can be stressful.  Some signs and symptoms are that there is something wrong with a chicken who tends to stay in the coop, isolates herself, limping, has diarrhea, loses weight, does not eat, or stops acting normally.  If you notice this behavior, the chicken needs to be isolated immediately.  Also, could you check your hen's visible injuries and add vitamins/electrolytes to her and the whole flock's water?  Moreover, the transmission of poultry diseases is generally by direct bird-to-bird contact and contamination of feed and water.  If the chicken looks sick, ill, or injured, the bird(s) should be immediately isolated from the flock.

How to spot the 4 most dangerous chicken diseases

  • Viral Diseases
  • Infectious Coryza
  • Marek's Disease
  • Coccidiosis

What you should know about Infectious Bronchitis or if you notice your chicken is limping, it may be Bumblefoot.  My chicken has mites; how do I get rid of them?

Can Ducks Live With Chickens?

Since both duck and chicken's needs are similar, feed and shelter make it possible for them to be raised together in the same coop, but you need to consider a few key points when incorporating waterfowl into a chicken coop. For example, ducks walk up ramps more slowly, unlike chickens. Also, ducks will need a place to swim.

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2 comments

Jacks Broke February 4, 2021 - 10:43 am

I love your blog! I absolutely love your blog! And I knew not that there were variations in the breed in brown and white eggs. I always worried about that! I always wondered! Here are so many details!!

Reply
Helen February 4, 2021 - 1:59 pm

Hi Jacks, thank you for stopping by BamBam’s Coop. Different breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs. They all taste the same and look the inside. 🙂 Helen

Reply

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