Considering Back Yard Chickens? Pros and Cons

The Honest Truth About What You’re Committing To

The first and most important thing you’ll need is proper housing. That means you’re going to have to spend some money on a shelter that’s not only suitable for flock, and the climate you live in, but one that is easy for you to clean and maintain. The coop also must be predator proof, no matter where you live, chickens are not safe from predators, not in residential communities, and not in the city.

If you’re not sure where to start, or need some ideas on coop types, here’s a collection of  Chicken Coops to help you choose the proper set-up.
Always keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Here’s the truth, by the time you get your first egg, you probably will have spent $1,000 for your chicken set-up.
Usually, new chicken keepers invest good money in a to small coop and end up spending even more money on larger one. Bigger is always better, no exceptions. Chickens need space, they live by the harsh rules of a pecking order, and their chosen territories are not kindly shared.  Remember, happy chickens fill the egg basket. So always keep in mind, build or buy bigger than you need, it’s the smarter investment in the long run.

Furnishing the Coop
Your birds are going to need a feeder, drinker, nest boxes, shavings, and a roost. Those are the obvious necessities. But there’s a lot of little things that you might not think of such as a rake, gloves, buckets, a hose, etc. It would be really helpful to have a nearby shed to store all your supplies, including feed, shavings, or straw/hay.

Pine Shavings

So the next time you are mesmerized by those cute fuzzy butts at the feed store, remember what you’re getting into. You may only have to pay a few bucks for the chicks, but I guarantee you’ll be digging a lot deeper into your pockets in no time at all.  It’s best to get your set-up in place before you buy the chicks. Make sure it’s weather proof, predator proof, and in a place where it’s protected from inclement weather.

Caring for Your Chickens
You will be committing to a daily chore, even in inclement weather. It will be your responsibility to keep the coop clean and dry, provide your flock with fresh water, and ample good quality feed. As a rule, chickens don’t need much personal attention, but there will be occasions when a bird may need special treatment. You may even have to isolate a bird if it becomes injured. A chicken that is bleeding even the tiniest bit will cause havoc among the flock, will most definitely be pecked by the others, and the outcome is rarely good. Be prepared for these inevitable situations.

Cost of keeping Backyard Chickens
If you think you’ll save money by having a small flock to supply your family with fresh eggs you are dead wrong. In comparison, buying grocery store shelf eggs are substantially cheaper. One standard size bag of chicken feed is about $14.00, it will feed 4 birds for a month, One bale of shavings (bedding & nest boxes) for your coop is about $10-$12 and it will last about 2 weeks.  Straw or hay is also comparable in price, somewhere between $10-$15, depending on where you live.
Considering the initial investment of a coop, and the monthly overhead of caring for the birds, it’s hard to argue the fact that you could buy more store shelf eggs for much less money. Just sayin’…. get into chicken keeping because you want to invest in healthy eggs and enjoy a rewarding hobby.

Bottom Line
A back yard flock is wonderful if you’re up for the job. If you want to bring your own farm fresh eggs to the table for your family then jump right in and start preparing.  Research what breeds are best for you, get your coop and set-up ready, then get your chicks. We are here with any help you might need raising chicks from brooder, to coop, and beyond. Check out our Resource Directory, Articles Archives, and FAQ’s.

More on Raising Chickens in the City

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The True Cost of an Egg

Have you ever really thought about what you are spending to keep chickens for their free eggs? This is an eye opening post, and I couldn’t agree more with every word!

The True Cost of an Egg
by: Almost a Farm Girl

Out here on the ranch, we are at the peak of our egg season.  Most of my fully grown hens lay an egg a day during the summer, which equals 5 to 6 eggs per day.  In the fall, my little ones will start laying as well… Continue Reading

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