Porch.com recently asked me to write something for them. The email sent looked like this. ” I’m Cassandra from Porch.com. I’m reaching out to you because I’m creating the article “Homesteading 101: Q&A With the Experts” 🏡🐣🍅🍏. We are doing this to help our readers who would like to start a self-sufficient lifestyle by homesteading in their properties but don’t know where to start.
I was browsing your Oak Spring Farm blog and I loved it 💗, I can see that you are experts. We would be honored if you could help us out to create this fantastic article and be featured as one of our experts!
How it works: If you agree, I will send you a question, and you have about 2 business days to send me your answer. I will then add it to the article along with your name and link back to your website underneath the provided answer.”
The question is:
As a beginner homesteader, how do you start a chicken coop at home?
Starting a chicken coop at home is easy enough these days with lots of plans on-line for mobile or stationary coops. If you have the cash you can even buy one that can be moved every few days so the birds have fresh pasture. Build one for the amount of birds you want and then some. You may want to expand when you find your neighbors want to buy eggs from you because they taste so good.
If you have a barn or shed already built you can just make a doorway, some roosting bars (7″ per bird) and nesting boxes (one per 5 birds) and buy an electric netting fence from Premier One or Farm Tek. We manage to fence in 4 different pasture areas from one door of our stationary chicken coop. Make sure the fence is hot and the coop is fox proof by digging the boards down at least 6 inches using ratwire to protect the bottom if the boards aren’t tight together.
Chickens need a proper laying ration in order to lay eggs consistently. Of course they love veggies too but never give them potatoes-they’re poisonous to chickens. Onions can give the eggs an off flavor so avoiding onions is probably a good idea.
If buying chickens from day olds order from a reputable company. I try to buy from hatcheries as close to me as possible. We are required to obtain our newly hatched chicks within 48 hours of hatching in adherence with the Animal Welfare Approved rules and regulations. We have been AWA approved for 8 years now.
As soon as your chicks arrive in the mail make sure you dip their beaks in the water source so they know where the water is. The will need to eat and drink soon after they arrive and dipping their beak ensures they know where the water is. Once I dip their beak I set them in the brooder under the heat lamp so they can warm up. We lay newspaper over any wood shavings we’ve put down for bedding and sprinkle some chick starter on the newspaper so they eat that and not the wood shavings. Once they recognize their food they will eat from the feeders you have provided. We keep the feeders full and allow chicks free choice feeding. After a few days you can remove the newspaper. Keep their litter clean and dry. As the chicks grow we elevate their waterers so they make less mess by walking and playing in it. We give our chicks bits of grass and veggies from the first week. It’s good for their digestion and keeps them busy.
Research the breeds that suit your climate and make sure you have all the necessary supplies to raise chicks. Buy Storey’s Guide to Chickens. It’s the chicken bible.
See this article and more at the link below for Porch.com
please check out the link above to Porch.com. They have a lot of great articles for homesteaders and backyard gardeners alike.