How to Raise Chickens in the Suburbs for Eggs
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How to Raise Chickens in the Suburbs for Eggs

How to have chickens in the suburbs

With the economy falling apart the way that is, finding natural all organic food is getting very tough and expensive. At this point I do not know if I can trust that my food is really organic. Not only do I feel that I can’t trust labels but just basic staple food products are getting expensive. I am one that would rather not be in a situation where I must eat whatever the government gives me or deems safe to consume.

A little over a year ago, June, 2008, I told my husband that I had finally had enough and wanted to prepare to seriously move to Texas or Arkansas, and basically live off of whatever we can grow, raise, catch, and shoot. My husband and I both agreed that we would have to do a trial run to see what we can raise here that we might be able to raise when we get to Arkansas or Texas (different environment) I decided that chickens would be my first trial. I love chicken. They are very loveable just like dogs or cats to me. I wanted to raise the chickens for the eggs not for the meat.

The first thing that I had to do was to check with the city to see if I could legally do that. I n my city a person can have up to 3 chickens, no rooster, and you must get the ok from your neighbors. Well, I got 4 chicks; I just couldn’t take 3 and leave the last one behind. I didn’t get the rooster, and I didn’t realize that I had to ask my neighbors, they didn’t mind anyway. We have very large lots in our neighborhood (about 3/5 of an acre). For about the first 3 weeks that I had them I kept them in the den in an over sized plastic container with chicken wire on top of it.

At that time I was still teaching so I was home everyday to take them out and play with them. I also had help from my oldest son (22) and his girlfriend and all of their friend would also come over and play with the chicks. I kept fresh cedar chips in the container and fresh food and water that was changed everyday. I would also take them in our backyards and sit and watch them. I never left them alone because a hawk or a cat might decide to get one. Since I wanted to control what my chicken ate so that the eggs would be natural/organic, I made sure that I let them eat grass, bugs, McGeary’s Chick Starter of Lancaster, PA.

In my next blog I will give you the recipe for my homemade organic all natural chick starter and egg laying mash. McGeary’s is pretty good if you do not have time to make your own. Next my husband built a chicken run out of strong wire, wood, and nails. The run is about 3 yards long, 20inchs wide and about 30inches high with a door to let the chickens in and out. I made a roost for the chickens out of wood so that they could fly up to roost at night. On the top of the chicken run I put pretreated ply wood and then covered it with a tarp. My husband told me to do this until he got time to build a real hen house. I am still using this a year later and it works well. My husband also made to nesting boxes for the chickens to lay eggs in.

When the chicken got bigger I let them outside to live in the chicken run. Most of the time the chickens are roaming the yard with our Rottweiler and she doesn’t bother them at all. I usually let them out of the run around 6:30am and right before dark they automatically go into their chicken run and fly up on the roost and then I lock the door so that nothing and come in and get them. I interact with my chicken a lot. Some people immunize their chickens. I do not and it is not mandatory. I do not trust immunizations….

Chickens love to eat table scraps especially lightly steamed corn on the cob. When my husband and I are sitting in the back yard they will jump in my lap. I have two Rhode Island Reds (Rosemary, and Sage) that are about 8 pounds each and they lay brown eggs. Then I have one white Houdan (Prudence) about 3-4 pounds and she lays small white eggs. The last one is a black and gold Americana (Penelope) about 7-8 pounds and she lays green eggs.

Our chickens started laying eggs when they were about 6 months old. We are getting 4 eggs a day. I have some real neat egg recipes that I will post in another blog. The eggs are delicious! Our chickens do not smell. One of the main reasons that they do not smell is because of the food that they eat, and also because the chicken run is moveable and it is never in the same spot for more than two weeks. There are many sites for how to build a moveable chicken coop or chicken run on the net. Chickens are fun to raise and they are very little trouble. Here is a recipe for the organic chick starter: I got this off of the net and I love it for my chickens just make sure that they get enough protein. Stay away from meat proteins because that will make your chicken feces smelly and I don’t like the idea of having that in my eggs. Since my chickens are mostly free-range I know that they are getting enough protein and because of the eggs. Good luck

Ronda's Whole Grain Chicken Feed Recipe

  • 3 parts whole corn (in winter this is increased to 3 or 4 parts)
  • 3 parts soft white wheat
  • 3 parts hard red winter wheat
  • 1 part hulled barley
  • 1 part oat groats
  • 1 part sunflower seeds (in winter this is increased to 2 parts)
  • 1 part millet
  • 1 part kamut
  • 1 part amaranth seeds
  • 1 part split peas
  • 1 part lentils
  • 1 part quinoa
  • 1 part sesame seeds
  • 1/2 part flax seeds
  • 1/2 part kelp granules

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Comments (1)

I keep hens too, but we live in the country - none of my cats have ever bothered the birds, whom we allow to free range in the day. I sell the eggs for $1 a dozen, cheap, because I want to encourage more people to eat cruelty free eggs. Good info - I wish more cities allowed people to keep hens.