This article could help new chicken farmers from losing money and having a good start.
Let’s be realistic, I’ve made so many mistakes as a new chicken keeper! I was not prepared for anything. Are you too? Okay, I learned from my mistakes, and I’m here to help! We will get out of this together, you have this! I want to help you overcome the 3 mistakes new chicken keepers make.
1. Some new chicken farmers don’t have provisions before growing chickens.
Do you have all the “stuff” you need for chickens? When you first get chickens, it’s great if you have everything you need to care for them. Make sure you have a chicken coop prepared for them and plenty of feeders and drinkers.
The coop should be large enough to accommodate not only the chickens you intend to purchase initially, but having a larger coop to start with is a great idea. WHY?
It will be cheaper in the long run if you start bigger, plus more space is fine for hens. It gives them space to sleep comfortably.
- Watering cans
- Chicken Coop – You can make one like our horse trailer chicken coop or truck coop or BUY ONE. Although, I do not suggest that you buy one unless you are willing to buy an expensive one.
- Chicken feed
- Scratch Chicken (not chicken food, just a treat!)
- Bedding: Wood shavings, to absorb and trap the poop under the roosts.
- Chicken First Aid Kit
- Coop Refresh! – * Optional. Keep the chicken coop smelling fresh and clean. Or click here to learn how to make your own co-op soda!
- Chicken trade cooperatives (chicken farmers can buy cheap feeds and get many ideas if you are a member)
I would not recommend buying a commercial chicken coop unless you are spending thousands of dollars.
There is a “cedar” or other paper-thin “wood” made in China that these coops are made from. Thin shit that molds and warps, and will deteriorate in about 6-12 months. This chicken coop costs about $ 800. At that price, it should last for years, not months.
Quality-built cooperatives often cost thousands of dollars. They are gorgeous, and they usually have pretty good design elements.
About feeders and drinkers… If you live in a hot climate, girls and boys will drink a lot more water in the hotter months.
2. Can you legally grow and farm chickens?
There are a couple of things you should do before getting chickens, like checking local zoning ordinances.
We live on the outskirts of the city. In our city, they don’t allow people to have roosters, and they also limit the number of chickens. Mainly because that would break the noise ordinance. Our laws are not so bad here and they are common among cities across the United States.
However, some cities do not allow chickens at all. The last thing you need is for the neighbors to call you & amp; be gossipy.
Neighbors can be a pain or a blessing
Speaking of neighbors, do you have them? Mine is a few acres away. The people in front have chickens, the people behind don’t.
When I told them about buying chickens, they were excited. My neighbor said that he liked the noise of the chickens because he enjoyed it.
Most of the neighbors are not enthusiastic, let me tell you… you might want to check with your neighbors if they are around. Having an open dialogue can help, plus it can help them learn more about chickens.
If they say the noise would bother them, maybe you can tempt them with free eggs.
3. Predators – big mistake new chicken farmers make
Not being prepared for predator attacks is one of the mistakes new chicken farmers make. Here at our new farm, we have dealt with bears, raccoons, possums, foxes, & amp; coyotes. Raccoons are our biggest annoyance! They like to eat eggs, and if eggs are not available they take a hen or two.
For a raccoon, climbing the 6-foot fence is as easy as slicing soft butter. They can open the bolts, pluck a head off with precision, and not think twice. They also love to eat chicken food and chicken eggs.
A bear tried to tear off the roof of the chicken coop. The possum stole a couple of chickens. The coyotes haven’t done any damage to our property yet, but we’ve heard sounds like they’ve taken something like a small dog out of the field with us. Which is literally a sound I hope never to hear again! It’s pretty scary.
Protecting the locked chickens
So how do you prepare for the predators for the chickens on the fence? Making your chicken coop indigestible by putting hardware cloth on the bottom is a great tactic. Most people bury it in the ground horizontally a few inches above the ground. When a predator starts digging, they quickly realize that it is useless and give up.
You can also place your chicken coop in a fenced area, which has a roof over it. That way they can’t get through the roof as they did ours.
Dealing with daytime predators and free-range chickens
Coyotes and foxes will hunt whenever. They are opportunistic hunters. Raccoons are typically nocturnal hunters, but they are also quite intelligent, they know when to come and grab eggs before we collect them, and when to grab a hen before they are locked up for the night. When they are hungry, they usually hunt for food regardless of the time of day.
For these daytime predators, it can be a bit difficult when their birds are out in the wild. Especially if you don’t have many places for the roosters to run and hide. We live in the forest. There is plenty of room to roam and hide here. However, that doesn’t mean they are safe!
We still raise our birds in the wild. Although we did not lose many birds in the first few years, the situation for predators is getting worse. We saw our first fox this year. He has caught two birds in one week. We thought he was a raccoon until we saw him.
Typically, when it comes to a predator stalking our chickens, we will try to kill them. We also have a black-mouthed dog, he’s not a sheepdog, but he was bred to be a hunter, and he is! So we not only use our dog, but we can call the dog once he is injured enough, to shoot and kill the animal.
The photo below was when we were catching the raccoons. I caught two in a cage! Go Go! * Dance while you celebrate …
We no longer catch them. Typically, we turn the hunter into the hunted.
Dealing with wildlife law
Sometimes shooting an animal is illegal. This is where the law comes into play. Before dealing with a wild animal, it is important to understand the laws in your area.
We are allowed to shoot most animals that attack our livestock, even the neighbor’s dog. Yes, I did …
However, we are not allowed to shoot a bear that is attacking our livestock. You can only shoot a bear around here if he’s trying to kill you.
So, do your research! Check with your local fish and poultry website and see what it takes to remove it from the area. Some animals cannot be removed. Like around here, they can’t take out a bear! I understand why not, but by God, I wish there was something we could do sometimes. It can be scary living among bears …