Most of you probably envision a handful of pills, or a bottle of booze when someone says the word "drug", but a drug can be anything that can cause or lead to an addiction. In this case, I'll share my journey through an addiction I still suffer from...chickens. Yes, you read that right - I am convinced that chickens are the gateway drug into farming.
Chickens are probably one of the easiest livestock animals to care for. They are also cute and super trendy on social media (so obvi, everyone needs one). One of the main reasons people start with chickens is that most living conditions can handle chickens - whether you live on a sprawling farm with thousands of acres; you live in suburbia with all the "country feels" of city life; or you have a small rooftop garden in the city - chickens will fit right in!
I have received multiple requests to breakdown the ins-and-outs, do's-and-don'ts, and everything in between regarding raising chickens. So, I will make your lives easier and talk to you about all of my successes and failures in chicken farming so you can jump in head first and not have to make many of the mistakes that I have made along the way.
I have decided to break down raising chickens into a series, with different parts for different aspects of chicken rearing, as this blog would be an overwhelming, 5-hour read if I had to cram it all into one post. I have also decided to add in side notes and differences in the practices as it relates to raising ducks, as I also have a flock of ducks that cohabitate with my chickens.
The series will include the following parts:
Part I: Chickens, the Gateway Drug
Part II: Hardy, Har, Har ---> Choosing the hardiest breed of chickens and ducks that are best suited for your climate and needs. Would you keep a polar bear in the deep south? Probably not.
Part III: Spring Baby Fever ---> Raising chicks and ducklings 101. This blog will prepare you with the knowledge of raising the little ones in a proper setting. There are many ways that work well, but I'll tell you what works best for me.
Part IV: Planning for Pullets ----> This blog will prepare you with the knowledge you will need to be ready for raising laying hens. What is a pullet? What type of housing do I need? How much space do they need? How much water and food do they need? What food should I feed them?
Part V: Chickens use Band-Aids too ---> This blog will equip you with a basic set of veterinary skills and products you should always keep on hand while raising chickens.
Part VI: The Process of Processing ---> I will be revisiting an old blog post I wrote once upon a time about processing poultry.
I will plan to release each part within a matter of days of one another, as spring is FAST approaching, I want my audience to be expert chickens farmers in time for their first chickens or ducks to arrive!
So while we wait for Part II to be released, let's contemplate the age old conundrum: what came first- the chicken or the egg?