If you’re wanting to begin living a homesteading lifestyle, I recommend backyard chickens for beginners.
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Backyard chickens are the best for beginner homesteaders, especially if you live inside city limits. They are so easy to take care of, they’re pretty inexpensive, you can feed them your fruit/veggie scraps and they turn it into more food for us. Win, win!
If you’re unsure if you are allowed to have chickens in your town, call your local city hall and see what their rules are. If they’re allowed, go get some chickens!
Chickens have been my favorite homesteading experience so far. We started our first batch of chicks in the Spring of 2020. My husband and I had been talking about getting chickens for probably 5 years and we decided it was time to dive in. I am so glad we did!
When we first brought them home, my first thoughts were, “Oh man! What did we get ourselves into?!”
There was so much information out there and it was a lot to process. I made up a concise list of things we did that helped us survive our first year of having chickens.
Backyard Chicken Supplies for Beginners
If you’re truly thinking about getting chickens, I highly recommend getting the items you need before you get chicks/chickens for the first time.
Starting with brand new baby chicks is probably the most exciting part of the process, mainly because they are just so darn cute! Goodness, their little peeps and hops are just so precious. We can’t help but just love them to bits.
It’s really important that chicks stay warm. If you get them in the spring, you’ll need to keep them under a heat lamp or warmer until they feather out or until it’s consistently over 70 degrees outside. If you get chicks in the fall, keep them under a heat lamp and make sure they feather out before you put them outside or in a coop.
- Heat lamp
- Chick feed
- Feed containers for storage
- Bedding containers for storage
- Coop (for when they’re bigger)
This is our chick set up. We have their brooder with heat lamp and their feed can right next to the other chicken items. It doesn’t have to be a fancy set up. As long as you take care of them, they’ll grow.
We check on them at least twice a day to make sure they have clean water and haven’t kicked debris in their food. We also change their bedding about once a week, maybe more depending on how soiled their bedding is. Those little boogers really like to make a mess of things. Good thing they’re cute!
Once they feather out of the weather is warm enough, they can now graduate from being in a brooder to living in a coop.
It gets a lot easier once your chickens have grown a little bit. You don’t have to worry as much because they become pretty low maintenance. Our girls just want us to feed them and tell them they’re pretty. Haha!
When we first started out we didn’t even have a coop because we didn’t need one right then. “It could wait.” *face palm*
Please don’t think that. You need to have it or at least have it on it’s way to you before having chickens. Also do your research about coops. Just because it comes from a farm store, doesn’t mean it’s good quality.
We started off with this coop. I liked it because it was cute and “it would hold 12 chickens”. Oh boy was that a fun learning experience.
We had this for 1 year and it literally fell apart. For the money we spent on it, it should’ve lasted us for at least 3-5 years. It was also incredibly small for 10 chickens. Don’t get me wrong, it totally worked but I wouldn’t advise people to use this for more than 7 chickens.
We ended up DIYing a coop that was 4 times the size of the previous one. They are much happier with their new coop. I have big plans for this, but for this season it’s going to wait.
Hens need a few basic things:
- Laying boxes
- Fresh water
- Food (fresh scraps/grass/feed)
As long as you take those things into consideration when deciding what coop to buy/build, then you’re going to have happy, healthy and safe chickens.
Aaahh! The reward we get for loving them, their delicious, fresh eggs.
That’s basically it! They’re that simple! Backyard chickens for beginners, they’re simple enough my 9, 7 and 5 year olds can do majority of the chicken care unassisted.
If you could have any backyard farm animal, what would it be? Let me know in the comments.