Backyard Chicks

DanPoultry, This Land of Ours

A group of chicks having a feeding frenzy
If this is the year you’re going to bring home those cute little fur babies and you’re just starting out, the first thing you should do is your homework. Cathy Isom gives us some hints on raising baby chicks to backyard chickens. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Backyard Chicks

From: Backyard

How To Raise Backyard Chickens In Your City – The Basics Of Raising Chickens

By: support and BYC Project Manager

Raising Chickens 101

So, you’re interested in raising chickens?  You’ve embarked on a fun and exciting journey! BYC (BackYardChickens) is FULL of great information. If your question isn’t answered in our Learning Center Articles then we promise there is an answer on our chicken forum.

Below are the absolute basics of raising chickens. For more detailed information please explore the rest of the site and join our forum.

Why Raise Chickens?

beautiful girl with baby chick

  • Easy and inexpensive to maintain (when compared to most other pets)
  • Eggs that are fresh, great-tasting & nutritious
  • Chemical-free bug and weed control
  • Manufacture the worlds best fertilizer
  • Fun & friendly pets with personality (yes, you read that right)
  • See our poll on Why Do You Raise Chickens

Are BackYard Chickens Legal in Your City?

Chickens on the yard

  • Search our database of local chicken laws & ordinances
  • Double check your local city / town ordinances and homeowner’s association
  • Make sure you have a good relationship with your neighbors (the promise of no roosters and free eggs helps!)
  • Read comments and post your ?s in our forum devoted to chicken laws & ordinances.

Where To Get Baby Chicks & Chickens:

The yellow small chicks with egg

How To Care For A Chick – First 60 Days:

Chicks on grass

  • You’ll need a chick brooder – See our list of homemade brooders
  • Flooring – Pine shavings & corn cob bedding are best.  Stay clear of newspaper since it doesn’t absorb well and can be slippery.
  • Temperature – 90 to 100 deg. for the first week, decrease 5 deg. per week. Be VERY careful of fire hazards!
  • Food & water – chick crumbles / starter & a chick waterer (see our list of homemade feeders & waterers)
  • Play time – Play with your chicks when young to get the use to being around people.
  • More details: Article: How To Raise Baby Chicks –  Forum Section: Raising Chicks

Chicken Care After First 60 Days, General Chicken Care:

Small chickens graze on grass

  • Chicken Coops – Once feathered out you’ll want to move your chickens into a chicken coop!  Rule of thumb is about 2-3 square feet per chicken inside the hen-house and 4-5 sq/ft per chicken in an outside run. Keep local chicken predators in mind and make a safe home for your flock!
  • Flooring – Pine shavings work best.  You can even try the deep litter method for even less maintenance.
  • Food & Water – Most people go with formulated chicken layer feed / pellets. You can even make a homemade chicken feeder / waterer
  • Treats – Vegetables, bread, bugs, chicken scratch (cracked corn, milo, wheat)

What’s next?

Free range chickens on farm

Now that you’ve skimmed the basics you might be ready to do a deeper dive into learning more about raising backyard chickens.  We suggest the following: