Five steps to plan your first micro flock of backyard chickens.
But first, if you smile when you look at cute chickens then this is the book for you. I grin just thinking about this book. Cool Chickens Fern Collins Chartwell Books 2016
Pre-planning to succeed
reduces the garden owner’s stress,
makes happy chickens and
keeps the garden looking good.
1. Plan to succeed by starting with a very small flock of two pretty, productive, and resilient hybrids, or if you are lucky, two similarly productive blue-egg ‘crested cream legbars’
2. Get an excellent metal (or perhaps plastic) mobile coop, able to be wheeled across the lawn and connected up via a chicken tunnel to a pet enclosure.
3. Add a pet enclosure. A walk-in pet enclosure garden with a good full sized gate means you can bring in a wheelbarrow. The pet enclosure also means that you can easily play with the new chicks and give health checks. This is better than chasing them around the garden. Later on, because they are hand tamed, they will come out of the garden when you call.
4. It is important to have enough infrastructure (or to plan to upgrade) so as to make ownership a pleasure. This means: top-loading automatic waterers and feeders in the coop to allow locking up the chicks inside the coop over a weekend away. Also, in the bigger pet enclosure, add a treadle feeder (rat free, no pigeons either), and a 20 litre water drum with auto dripper nipples (or an automatic float) to allow for more relaxed ownership duties.
5. The whole back yard must be enclosed by 1.8m fences and gates. Keeping dogs out and chickens in is a life and death priority.
So how will you cope if you need more than 14 eggs a week? There is this amazing thing called a market (or even a shop).
Bigger and better plans for a larger more varied flock are best done next year.
Janine loves cooking birthday cakes and somehow the family and friends have worked that out, and she has regular orders.
So while our small flock has enough eggs for our regular needs we buy extra eggs for special cooking needs like the birthday cakes (free range of course, and read the label as one square meter per bird for a lifetime is still tiny). Because want our chickens to have time and space to wander in the garden and have un-crowded permanent living spaces, and we have a small backyard, purchasing pastured free range is the best option.
Of course I have a few chicken breeds on my “one day” list, one day when I can keep roosters, one day when I have a bigger back yard. Crested Cream Legbars and Hy-Liners are non-negotiable, Marans are a definite maybe and Barnvelders and Naked Necks (below) go on and off my list, so enjoy the time contemplating your own “next year, or, one day” list.