Q & A

Chicken Keeping

Do chickens require a lot of space?

Poultry Coops can fit into just about any size backyard. For 4 hens, a 3’x4′ Coop plus a “run” (a place for them to scratch around) that is roughly 3’x8′ is more than adequate. Most commercial birds are placed in cages (6-8 to a cage) where they can not turn around. You, on the other hand, will have very happy birds. “Chicken Tractors” are another option. They are portable coops that can be moved over the yard or garden plots, to give birds fresh bugs and greens–this also is a great way to mow the lawn!

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What do chickens eat?

They will eat just about anything! There are commercial poultry foods available at local feed stores, or you can make your own mix. People feed chickens corn, oats, wheat, rye, soy, fresh greens from the garden (weeds as well), table scraps (they love spaghetti!), worms and other bugs. Variety is the key to good health, just like us!

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Will having chickens in my backyard attract rodents?

It is food that attracts rodents, not the birds. If you have wild bird feeders in your back yard, you run the same risk. Keep all feed in metal garbage cans, with secure lids. Feed birds in small doses, so as not to have a large amount of food left over. If you feed your birds scraps/ protein, make sure it is eaten and not left in the bedding.

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What do you do with chickens in the winter?

They can live quite happily, through the coldest winter, if they have an insulated coop or a light inside their coop. The smaller the coop, the easier it is for them to keep it warm. Birds can get frostbite. Birds with large combs tend to be more susceptible. Also, some breeds are just hardier than others.

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Are chickens safe from cats and dogs?

The key to safe chickens is a sturdy, impenetrable coop. Raccoons should be more of a concern, they are such clever, determined critters. .Make sure the structure is secure (enclosed top, fencing buried below ground under the sides, secure latches on doors or other entryways), keep all birds locked in at night, letting them out into the run or “tractor” only during the day. Cats have always been interested in birds, but with a healthy respect for chickens–Dogs will chase the birds, if they are left to roam. If you let your birds out, please keep them under supervision at all times.

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4 thoughts on “Q & A

    1. Profile photo of Keith ConleyKeith Conley

      @Bennie Sides

      I’m uncertain about who will actually process chickens for you, but you may try contacting some of the local farms, such as Green Cedars Farm. I know there are many others localally, but Green Cedars Farm is the only one I’ve had personal contact with and I know for a fact that they process chickens, I just don’t know if they process chickens from outside of their farm.

  1. Profile photo of Jamelynn McDonaldJamelynn McDonald

    I was wondering if there are laws prohibiting at home slaughter of birds. If so, are there any companies in the area where you can drop off live birds and pick them up cleaned/dressed etc. I remember when Grandmama would go out to the coop and “prepare” sunday dinner. I know its not a nice topic but was just wondering about the current laws?

  2. Profile photo of Keith ConleyKeith Conley

    There is nothing in the County ordinance prohibiting raising birds for meat and processing them yourself. We believe this was on purpose, though it wasn’t requested when we were working on getting the ordinance passed. No complaints from me though!

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