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Preparing for Your Backyard Chicken Flock

Farm fresh eggs of your own, from your own chickens – that’s the motivation for many people who plan for their own poultry in their own backyards.

Brown chickensOne attraction is for cooking. It’s easy to admire those rich yellow yolks in the eggs that some TV chefs have access to. They just look tastier than pale, ordinary eggs.

Others keep chickens because they remember the taste of eggs from farm-raised chickens from days gone by.

At home, we had our own eggs at various points over the years. I’ll put up with the size variations, as well as the occasional shell in need of cleaning, in exchange for the quality of the eggs from a backyard flock.

For others, the primary motivation is the wish to have more control of their food supply. When you feed your own chickens, you know what goes into the product.

bright yellow egg yolksBenefits of your backyard chickens:

  • Fresh eggs regularly
  • Best quality eggs
  • Control of the chicken feed and range of the birds
  • Enjoyment of keeping a few chickens of your own

Elements to consider early in your planning for chickens:

  • Zoning in your community. Some cities have restrictions, whether you can have chickens and if so, how many, whether you can have roosters or only hens, and other criteria. Daily and regular feeding and care. Your chickens need to be fed and watered.
  • Vacation care for your chickens. Is there someone who can tend your animals if you go away for a few days, or longer, or other arrangements for the birds.
  • Sources of chicken feed and other supplies. You will need a source for cracked corn or other types of feed, as well as dry storage secure from pests.
  • Waste disposal. Composting is one possibility, but how you will handle the waste products of your birds will need to be included in your plans.

There are a number of other elements for you to consider when thinking about having chickens in your yard, such as protection from winter weather and predators.

Nevertheless, it can be very satisfying to keep your own hens, with some prior planning based on your goals.

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How to Choose Chicken Coop Plans

You don’t have to be an architect to build a place for your chickens to reside. You don’t even have to be an experienced farmer. Many do it yourself chicken coop plans are available for purchase – or if you’re the adventurous type and you’re good with measuring and dimensions, you can even create plans for a unique coop. By following a set of plans, it won’t take long before your coop is complete.

There is no one right way to build a chicken coop. They come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Some are plain while others become backyard art.

  • The first step is to decide if you need a small, medium or large place for your chickens. How will you know what size to pick? The size you would want to build will depend on how many chickens the coop needs to house.
  • If you purchase a set of chicken coop plans, make sure the plans aren’t the bare minimum. The plans should cover all details, including the building of the chicken run.
  • While chicken coops don’t require a Harvard degree to build, it’s not something you want to build by guesswork. To build a proper coop, you’re going to have to have some plans.
  • The right kind of chicken plans will include height and width directions, where the ventilation should go, the best side of the coop to place the window if you want those and where and how to build perches and nesting boxes. All of that is part of building a coop.

Regardless of how you go about deciding your choice among the thousands of chicken coop plans available, the great news is that most coops are not that costly and can be built over the course of a single weekend.

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