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The world is going through an eco-revolution. Many people are becoming sick of city life and craving the kind of country living you see in magazines, with crops of apples, rustic wooden furniture, dogs and kids running wild… and chickens! There are many benefits to keeping chickens, aside from experiencing a rural side of life. To start with, they can produce eggs for you, meaning you’ll never be without a fresh, organic supply of one of the best sources of protein out there. However, there are lots of considerations you’ll need to make before committing to the project, including materials to buy, caring needs to be aware of, and what it really means to keep chickens in your backyard!
Just like getting a cute new puppy or kitten, deciding to keep chickens isn’t just for Christmas. It’s important to remember these are living creatures who will need feeding, cleaning out, and even veterinary visits on occasion. Keeping chickens won’t suit every lifestyle; you’ll need to make sure you keep a regular schedule and you’ll be able to deal with any issues that arise. You even need to think about travel – if you enjoy going on lengthy holidays, who will look after your chickens while you’re away? Keeping chickens can be a joy, but it also involves many chores that you’ll need to embrace.
A sturdy coop for your chickens is essential for a number of reasons. Even birds with clipped wings can jump surprisingly high, and you don’t want your precious chickens escaping to wreak havoc in your garden! You’ll also want to protect them from marauding foxes and other wildlife. It’s incredibly important to make sure the wire is strong, good quality, from a respected company such as SSWM, otherwise, you run the risk of losing your chickens as soon as you’ve got them.
Many people tend to ascribe mammals much more personality than birds – perhaps because we identify with them more! However, they may have small brains, but chickens are far from stupid. They definitely have personalities, and you will have some birds you completely fall in love with (as well as some who you don’t get on with so much). This is a glorious part of keeping chickens – but definitely a consideration you need to make, as personality can also depend on the breed of chicken you want to own! Do you want a painted hen, a Catalana, a Rhode Island Red, or a Jersey Giant? One size definitely doesn’t fit all, so make sure you do your research before approaching a breeder.
If you want to keep chickens for the sole purpose of receiving free, organic eggs, think again. Chickens won’t always lay – the conditions have to be just right, and some owners spend a few years looking after their hens before they feel comfortable enough to start producing eggs. So remember, they’re a fantastic side-effect, but you need to make sure you’re prepared for loving and looking after your chickens themselves, before reaping the benefits!