Welcome to the world of chickens, if even only in thought. If you are contemplating getting your own flock of chickens then there are a few things you must ask yourself before ever picking up that first catalog.
1st; Why do I want chickens? This might be because you want to know where your food is coming from and so you want a few chickens to provide you with fresh eggs and maybe the occasional Sunday dinner. Or maybe it is just because you want a few yard ornaments and you are not too concerned about what it is that they can provide for you.
2nd; How much space and time can I devote to a small flock of chickens? A small flock, say 5 or 6 birds does not require a whole lot of space although the more space that you can provide the happier your chickens will be. You will also want to spend some time each day with your birds, again the more the better. Chickens are very social creatures and live within a hierarchical society which is to say there is one lead rooster and one lead hen and the rest of the flock trails down from there depending on status within the flock. To be at peace with your chickens you will have to establish that you are master at all times and you will not be able to do this if you only run out once a day to throw them some food and collect eggs.
3rd; Are chickens legal to have where I live? Many large municipalities now allow you to have up to 6 hens in your backyard provided they have proper care and housing. You can check with your local planning and zoning commission to find out if where you live allows for a flock of backyard chickens.
4th; What breed and how many chickens would I like to have? Most people just starting out with chickens remember back to the days of their parents or grand parents having chickens and so they tend to lean towards the common breeds of Rhode Island Reds and Dominique’s or Barred Plymouth Rocks. There are lots of other breeds out there to choose from depending on what you are looking for from your flock. There are breeds that are better at laying eggs and there are breeds that are better for meat. There are breeds that are great dual purpose chickens and if you are not concerned about eggs or meat then there are many varieties of show or bantam breeds.
5th and certainly not least is how much money am I willing to invest in these chickens? The coop, the feeders and waterers, the feed, and the chickens all cost money. If you are thinking that by having a few chickens to provide you with eggs and meat is going to save you money then I hate to say it but your thinking is wrong. But you will have the pride of knowledge that you know where your food is coming from and it is much fresher and tastes much better than what you can buy in the store.
I will answer each of these questions in greater depth in future posts as well as many other questions you might have, there will be many.