So you want to keep chickens

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We lived on almost an acre lot as a child and my parents always had a garden, chickens, rabbits, sometimes a calf, sheep, and I even raised racing homer pigeons at one time. The gardens along with the livestock were raised for food and my parents always canned and froze veggies for the winter. I currently have both gardens and chickens, but we keep the chickens as pets and for the fresh eggs and don’t eat our birds. Chickens along with gardening are very popular right now, and I think it is great that our younger generation cares where their food comes from enough to do it themselves.

If you want chickens you need to know that there is a responsibility that comes with their care. For starters you have to have adequate housing that shelters the birds and also keeps predators out. Our White Rock Lake neighborhoods are rife with raccoons, opossums, coyotes, hawks, bob cats, and owls. They all love to eat chicken and will go to great lengths to get to yours. You also have to have someone who is reliable to take care of them when you are out of town. You have to feed them daily and make sure they always have fresh water in the heat of the summer and when the weather is freezing. You should learn how to catch them and properly hold them when necessary. The more you handle them, pet them, and feed them by hand the tamer and more comfortable they will be with you increasing your enjoyment of your birds.

You need to pay attention to their health and know when they don’t feel well. It is easy to tell if you pay attention. You also need to know how to do minor doctoring as vet bills for chickens are in my opinion way too expensive for the price paid for the birds. Chickens are happier and healthier if they are allowed to free range and catch bugs, dig in the dirt, and get exercise. Your eggs will taste better and be more nutritious if you have an area in your yard so they can have “Chicken Fun”. However, many people keep them in a pen all of their lives and I am sure they get used to that. To me the time and attention is well worth it when I come out to the chicken yard and they run to greet me, play chicken games with each other, and give me fresh and delicious eggs.

If you would ever like to have a chicken lesson, don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to give you more advice and information. There are also many very good books that will teach you how to care for your birds.

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