Raising Chickens for pets, eggs, and the occasional family dinner is becoming more and more common these days as the interest in home gardening and sustainability grows. As more urban and suburban dwellers have begun to try their luck with poultry farming, cities and counties have adjusted zoning laws to allow for a small number of hens (and in some cases, roosters) in residential areas. If you’re feeling plucky and want to raise chickens of your own, check out the following pages.
Back Yard Chickens
Begin a lifetime love of chickens
BackYardChickens.com is a terrific spot for anyone who is considering adding a couple of laying hens to the family. The site opens with “Raising chickens 101,” where the aspiring urban or suburban farmer can search city and county ordinances, and thereby know exactly what kind of coop to build, where to build it, and whether roosters are allowed. All the basics are covered here, including where to get chicks, how to build the coop, and deterring predators. Lest you think this site is strictly for beginners, check out the chicken forum, where the pros and cons of different breeds are discussed at length, as are coop designs, and general trouble shooting. There are also links to products for sale: prefab coops, egg incubators, watering stations, and the like. Finally, the site features a link to online poultry vets with whom farmers can chat.
get chicken coops for sale and more>> backyardchickens.com
Chicken Myths and Chicken Facts
RaisingChickens.org is incredibly easy to navigate, and fun. Here you will find a wealth of information on raising chickens, caring for them and a fascinating page of chicken facts and chicken myths. For example, fact: the chicken is the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus-Rex, myth: you can get salmonella from handling chickens. Raising Chickens also offers free blueprints for coops. Any lover of animals will enjoy looking at the reader-submitted photos and reading the accompanying stories. Chicken owners are happy people.
all about raising chickens>>raisingchickens.org
Success With Poultry
A blog for chickens
Success With Poultry is a blog for chickens, or at least people who have them. Here you will find tips for hatching and caring for chicks, health, housing, and maintenance tips. You will also find several anecdotal and occasionally helpful reader tips: protect yourself from emotional trauma by resisting the urge to name your hens; how to hypnotize a chicken. The latter is accompanied by a pretty hilarious video demo from Australia! The housing section of Success With Poultry is superb, and includes dozens of photos of readers’ coops, several of which are clickable, and include videos, specs, or pointers on building similar structures and keeping your chickens safe from predators, wild and domestic. For even more, subscribe to the free newsletter: www.keepingchickensnewsletter.com
Success with Chickens>>successwithpoultry.blogspot.com
The Country Chicken
Chicken Q’s and Chicken A’s
The Country Chicken offers a guide to small flock care and a fun “Chicken Rock” diversion page reminiscent of the old flying toaster bit. What sets this page apart is organization. Things go from the ground up here, and coop maintenance seems to be job number one for your hens’ well being. There are tips for natural, chemical-free pest control; how to coax the hens to lay eggs in their nesting boxes (golf balls!); year-round feeding tips; lighting; brooding chicks; and winterizing the coop and pen.
Organic Chicken>> cyndilou6.com/index.html
Backyard Poultry is an online magazine that specializes in rare and historic breeds. Here you can subscribe to the bi-monthly magazine for complete access to articles, or, peruse the robust online library. Here you can read up on featured breeds like the Turken, or Naked Neck, a homely but prolific layer who is easy to pluck. You can also read about breeder concerns like extreme temperatures, competitive showing, and controlling parasites. Aesthetes will enjoy reading about the more exotic breeds, while backyard gardeners will appreciate articles like “Got Ticks & Bugs? Get Guineas!” and “Making Your Own Poultry Feed.”
Talk to the animals
Chicken Hop is a clunky little page that no chicken enthusiast should miss. First of all, “chicken sounds,” a link which decodes various clucks and chatter, is entertaining and illuminating. I wonder if you can use it to talk back to them. To get to brass tacks, click the “raising chickens” link. There you will find feeding information that is very thorough and helpful with a “what not to feed and why” section and a “diet for a sick bird” heading that is filled with natural and organic food remedies (like cantaloupe for hydration) for weak or ailing chickens.
The City Chicken
Chicken Tractor Photos Galore
The City Chicken is, as the name suggests, the go-to spot for city dwellers itching to start a backyard flock. There are several photo galleries, the best of which is the collection of over 180 chicken tractors (or arks: bottomless, mobile pens that allow chickens to scratch up and fertilize the ground in smaller, controlled locations). While the City Chicken does not include blueprints, the photographs are inspiring and the construction looks simple. This site is great for advice, as its author, Katy Skinner, was once a beginner, you will no doubt be amused and consoled by her accounts of trying, failing, and failing better.
Raising chickens in the city>>thecitychicken.com