Raising Chickens 101
Farm fresh eggs are in high demand these days. Some people go as far as to buy baby chicks and start their little farm to save a few dollars at the grocery store. The reality is a majority of people are uneducated on how to care for farm animals. For this reason, Oregon Farm Brokers wants to change that narrative and give you helpful tips on how to care for your chickens, supply the healthiest eggs, and keep them safe from predators.
Build Your Coop
If you already have your heart and mindset on becoming a micro farmer, you need to start thinking about the type of home you will provide to your chickens. If you live in the city, we advise that you check in with your local city office to become aware of restrictions and policies regarding farm animal capacity within city limits.
When it comes to generating a chicken coop, there are two options: you can construct or purchase one. Either option will guarantee you a place for your chickens to call home. We recommend that you take this time to develop new or perfect your construction skills. If you’re feeling a bit intimidated by the process of building your chicken coop, don’t worry; Oregon Farm Brokers have found a few simple videos that are easy to follow along for making a DIY chicken coop.
Chickens deserve to be able to run free but also be protected when night comes around. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to build a chicken coop run. What’s a chicken coop run, you ask? Well, here’s the answer, it’s a fenced or enclosed outdoor space you provide to your chickens. Unlike the coop, the chicken run is used as an outdoor space to scratch the dirt, eat worms, and socialize with other chickens. Here’s a link on how to build a simple chicken run.
Know Your Chickens
Picking out your chickens can be a complicated task; for this reason, Oregon Farm Brokers has created a whole blog segment on getting to know your chickens. We’ll summarize the main points for you. If you are interested in having chickens as pets and eating their eggs, we recommend four species: White Leghorn, Barred Plymouth Rock, Golden Comet, and the Rhode Island Red. The prices for these specialty chickens range from $3.95-$5.00.
If you don’t see chickens as pets, they make an excellent source for protein, 38 grams, to be exact. The perks of raising your poultry are that you are in control of what they place inside their body. That’s right. If you don’t want your chicken full added hormones, preservatives, or having them raised inhumanely, raising your source of protein is the correct choice. If you’re unsure of what chickens to purchase, we recommend three: Cornish Cross, Jersey Giant, and the Bresse.
Death is an inevitable destination for any living creature; yet, we can take preventative action by being informed and learning about the predators living in our backyard. First, it’s essential to train chickens from a young age to return to the coop when it becomes dark out. Once all the chickens are locked in the coop to ensure no outside predators can enter. Second, as seen in the DIY chicken coop video, your coop needs to be elevated to prevent predators such as snakes and rats from entering below ground. Thirdly, fence the areas were your chickens roam. There’s a variety of options to choose from chicken wire, hardware cloth, chain link, safety fence, electric poultry fencing, and aviary netting. Each wire works effectively, but you have to choose what wire works best for your situation. Lastly, you can install a motion sensor light that scares predators away when they approach your coop.
When raising chickens, it’s important to note that you will most likely lose one due to natural or predator causes. Raising chickens can be a fun learning experience with the prize of fresh eggs! If you choose to embark on the journey of being a micro-city farmer, post a picture and tag us @OregonFarmBrokers!