My Experience Raising Backyard Chickens

By Nolan Hovell on May 18, 2021

It has been nearly a year since I made the decision to raise chickens in my backyard. Although I had little prior knowledge of the flightless birds, this experience has been one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I’ve learned a lot about the birds, science, sustainability, and myself through this journey. The decision to purchase and hatch chicks was easy to make once some preliminary research was done, but the execution was challenging. I was constantly improvising. What I thought would be a fun and engaging experiment turned out to be a great learning opportunity.

Getting started cost a few hundred dollars. This price can be lowered by purchasing already hatched chicks and building your own coop. I bought my eggs from Amazon and incubated them for 21 days. Four of the eight eggs hatched. Their names are Coco, Peach, Rebeckah, and Henrietta.

They are excellent study partners and supply endless entertainment. I had to learn how to patient with them. Caring for them takes a light touch. Gentleness is something I had to work towards. While they are resilient creatures, they are also quite fragile. I was never a morning person. Now, I wake up every day and go straight to the coop to let them out. If I don’t get out of bed when I wake up, the girls will be stuck inside waiting for food and the warm embrace of the day. Plus, fresh eggs are a great thing to wake up to. Chickens have taught me discipline, patience, and gentleness.

Some memorable moments include searching for lost chickens that jumped the fence (they can fly a few feet!), building an igloo in the middle of a snowstorm to keep the flock warm, and chasing a rare chicken that didn’t belong to me down a busy road to get him out of the cold. One thing that sets chickens apart from my other pets is that I raised them from before birth. I was the first face they saw. Watching them take their first steps and begin to socialize in a large cardboard box in my room was a therapeutic and heartwarming activity. My love for them runs deep. For this reason, I have decreased my meat intake significantly. Learning about factory farming and sustainability also motivated my decision to eat less meat.

I encourage everyone who has a backyard or land to look into what it takes to raise chickens. The process has been as educational as it has been rewarding. Anyone interested in unique pets, sustainability, and self-reliance should look follow the links included in this article and do research of their own.

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