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All About Birds | PetsWeekly

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There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be a huge benefit to you and your family, even if you have no plans to eat them.

They provide fresh, organic eggs. They even provide natural pest control, can help rid a garden of parasites (but watch your produce!) and they can be very affectionate! 

Not only that, they are hilarious to watch each day. Chickens each have their own personalities and watching these birds get into things (that they're usually not supposed to get into), explore the yard and pens, and just watching the ways they interact with one another can keep you entertained for hours. 

But, before you jump into chicken-keeping full-time, ask yourself these five questions... 

1. Am I legally allowed to keep chickens and if so, what kind?

If you're in or near the city, you will most likely be subject to restrictions on keeping chickens. There are local restrictions, as well as homeowner restrictions that you must adhere too.

The first thing you should check is your local government. Certain cities prohibit chicken keeping on any level, others allow a certain number of chickens, and some have no laws against chickens at all.  

If you're in a housing development, you probably have a homeowners association. Many homeowners associations (HOAs) absolutely prohibit chickens as pets, some restrict different breeds, and still others require that you have no roosters. Contact your HOA and find out what type of restrictions they have in place (if any). 

While you’re not required to do so, it’s often a good idea to check in with your neighbors and tell them you’re plans. It's just a nice, neighborly thing to do. Who knows? You may need their help in caring for your chickens one day, so it’s best to get off on their good side.

2. What is my schedule like?

 

If you’re getting chickens because they seem like they would be easy keepers, you would be wrong. Chickens require daily care, lots of supplies (like a coop,a fenced area, and ongoing medical care). This is particularly true if you’re relying on them for a steady supply of eggs. 

Here are the minimum basic chores you’ll be taking on if you care for chickens: 

  • Check twice a day
  • Feed twice a day
  • Water twice a day
  • Cleaning each day
  • Secure/lock down each night (which usually involves rounding them up)

You’ll also have to work in time to do individual chicken checks for health problems, tons of coop repair (especially if you live in an area with predators) and frequent water changes. 

3. Do I have room for chickens?

 

Before you run out and buy chicks, it's important to know how much space they will require. Chickens don’t ask for a whole lot - they need a decent, warm coop, a place to walk around and flap their wings, and a safe place to hang out. You may want to consider either a kennel-type run or a large garden. In either case, you probably won’t want more than 2-3 chickens in one area and you’ll want to be very careful in choosing the breed.

If you have dogs, cats, horses, or other pets - you[ll need to make sure your chickens have their very own area. On top of this, extra reinforcements may be required depending on where you live.

If you live in an area with foxes, you’ll need to do some serious reinforcement. The same holds true for areas with feral cats, cougars, bobcats, wolves, and especially coyotes

Unfortunately, almost every carnivore likes chicken! 

4. Can I afford chickens?

 

Start up costs for chicken keeping vary. Beyond the initial cost of your chickens (which can range from pennies to hundreds or even thousands of dollars), chickens have a lot of requirements. These can include: 

Basic Necessities: 

  • Start Up Costs
  • Chicken Coop
  • Nest Boxes
  • Secure Fencing
  • Storage Bin (feeding)
  • Feeder
  • Drinker
  • Bedding
  • Rake, shovel, and basic cleaning tools

And don't forget your daily maintenance and time in caring for these chickens. 

Daily Costs:

  • Feed
  • Bedding
  • Medication (wormers, mite treatments)
  • Supplements
  • Treats (Yes, even chickens need treats!)

5. Have I researched enough about keeping chickens?

If you don't know the main characteristics each breed, what types of eggs they lay, the “quirks” of the breed you're looking at, or what they eat - you haven’t done enough research.

Spend time hours researching chickens and their needs. Each breed has different requirements and each lay different types of eggs. Some are easier keepers than others. You should know enough about the breed that will best fit you and your family's needs to keep them healthy and happy for years to come. 

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


Avian Quotes

  • "God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages."
    Jacques Deval
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Lifestyle

Natural Pet

Bird Facts

  • An albatross can sleep while it flies. It apparently dozes while cruising at 25 mph.
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