Chickens aren’t just living in the country anymore. You’ll find coops in suburban backyards and even high atop city structures. Wherever you live, there are a handful of common mistakes you can avoid that could save you time, money, and the pain of losing a chicken or two.
Never Underestimate a Predator
This is especially true in the suburbs. That’s because a back yard does not seem like the kind of place to find raccoons, coyotes, or rats. But just like out in the country, a chicken’s greatest enemies are always hungry. Your chicken’s best chance at survival is to keep them locked up at night in their coop. Also, be sure the feeding and roaming areas are enclosed during the day so that hawks, cats, and even dogs cannot reach your chickens.
Get the Right-Size Coop
Wherever you live, you’ll want to build a coop big enough for your future chicken ambitions. In other words, buy or build a coop that you can fill over time. It’s far easier to add chickens to a coop that’s too big rather than building on to a coop that you’ve outgrown. For more details, check out our article Choosing Your Chicken Coop or Building it Yourself.
Check Your City’s Zoning Laws
With the popularity of raising chickens, cities and counties throughout the Pacific Northwest have approved ordinances to minimize chicken ownership within some city limits. These laws have stiff fines for violators. To protect your family, call your city and ask about chicken ownership within the urban growth boundary.
Store your Eggs Properly
When your chickens start laying eggs, be sure to collect those yolk-filled wonders daily. The longer an egg sits in the nest box, the more chances it will get broken or covered in manure. Next, you can either clean your eggs and store them in the refrigerator, or lightly wipe them clean (careful not to remove the antibacterial coating) and keep them in cartons (without refrigeration). Both options will keep your eggs fresh for up to four weeks. For more, read our article Got Chickens? How to Collect, Clean, and Store the Eggs.
Slowly Adding New Chickens to the Flock
New chicks are cute and wonderful, but if you have an established flock it’s best that you not add the chicks right away. Sometimes the flock will turn on new chicks. Instead, go slow. First, isolate and care for your baby chicks as you normally would. Next, segregate them in a small pin inside the area with the other chickens. Allow them to see each other, but do not allow them to physically interact. Finally, you can acclimate and integrate them in with the other chickens once they have been accepted.
Chicks are Arriving at Coastal
You’ll find baby chicks arriving at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal Farm & Ranch in early, mid, and late August. Check with your store for specific dates. While you’re at your nearby Coastal, pick up everything you need to care for your chickens, including bedding, waterers, heat lamps, feed, supplies, as well as coops and hen houses.