If you are reading this, you are either:
- Considering whether to start a flock of backyard chickens.
- Sure you want a flock and need to know what to do next.
Either way, you’re in the right place.
Keeping chickens, like any animal, can be a delight or a chore. You may want a dog, but if you live in a small apartment it’s probably not a great idea to get a Great Dane.
The type of flock you want will determine the size yard you need, the type and cost of housing, food and water equipment, time for maintenance, everything.
Keeping chickens should be fun and meaningful, a good fit for your life. I’ve had everywhere from four birds to more than 25 at a time. It took us a while to find our sweet spot. When we did, everything got easier and more enjoyable.
Which Flock Fits?
There are three kinds of back yard flocks (according to me):
- For Fun Only. Two or three hens (six max) clucking around the yard. A few eggs a week, you choose breeds because they are pretty or interesting. These birds are mostly pets (you’ll probably name them).
- Egg Flock. Also fun, but this flock is a little bigger, 12 or so. Breeds are chosen for longevity and egg production. This is the flock we have.
- Back Yard Pro. Twenty or more birds, for eggs and/or meat, hatch and raise your own chickens. Full-on homesteader.
Chances are you’re not a back yard pro. My guess is you want to try for fun only first, then maybe grow into an egg flock. If you’ve never raised chickens before, that’s what I recommend. That’s how we started.
To help you decide, here is a handy table with the three types of flocks and the general requirements for keeping them in your yard.
You’ll notice that once your flock is established the maintenance time is not too different between the three types. The big differences are in space and cost.
Bottom line: When you picture your flock in your mind’s eye, what do you see? That’s the flock that will likely make you happiest, so build it.
Comment with any questions or message me on the HomeDabbler Facebook page. I’d love to help!
PS – Here are a few other chicken posts that might help on your chicken journey:
- The Best Backyard Chicken Breed There Is (And a Couple Others That Are Pretty Good)
- 3 Common Chicken Myths Debunked
- 4 Solid Reasons to Buy Chicks Instead of Hatching Them