Grit Blogs > Gardening with Vickie

Raising Chickens: What I Don't Know

A photo of Vickie MorganIf everything goes alright and the city I live in passes a chicken ordinance, I could have chickens by the spring. I’m excited at that prospect, but lately just a little nagging question has crept in to my thoughts and keeping me up at night, repeating itself over and over again, What on earth do I know about raising chickens? Then the answer comes just a bit more softly but not by much, Not a thing, absolutely nothing. I’m a city girl who wants to raise chickens so I can have fresh eggs, and frankly I don’t know a thing about how to raise them. Spring will be here sooner than I think and I’d better get some answers quick.

A chicken that Vickie might someday ownSo, what are the questions I want to know the answers to? Since I first started writing this I found out the answers to a few but still there are a lot. Well here they are (try not to laugh too hard):

How many eggs do they lay a day? Well, that was easy look up on the Internet most places said one a day, but one site said something about resting here and there and you might get 5 eggs a week from one hen. What do they need to rest for? Oh no, another question.

Are they loud? Another look on the Internet, and I found out that roosters are the ones that are loud, but apparently chickens just cluck and make louder noises when bothered. Okay, what or who is going to bother my chickens. Sheesh, another question.

What kind of coop do I need and how much will it cost? At first a portable one seemed like the answer until I considered our harsh winters and then decided a more permanent one will be the best choice. The price of chicken coops can be sky high but I’m looking for a cheap chicken coop now on craigslist – I’m just holding off until I make sure the ordinance passes.

A chicken coop

A portable one still sounds appealing for the summer months, maybe my husband Bat can figure out how to make us one later this spring.

A possible portable chicken coopMore questions racing through my head included:

What kind of chicken do I want? Which leads to the question, do I want brown or white eggs?

At what age do they lay their eggs?

Will I get any eggs in the winter?

How long will an egg stay good in the nest?

How long are eggs good once they are in the refrigerator? (Mine come stamped with the date on the carton.)

What on earth do you feed them? This apparently is one loaded question – everyone has different ideas.

Do they need shots?

So many questions, but I have a few months – hopefully I’ll know the basics by the time the chicken ordinance is passed.