Chicken Keeping on our Little Urban Homestead

Yes, there are posts about chickens TWO days in a row!

You almost can’t contain yourself, right??  Yeah, we know.  Try to contain yourself.

Ok, so, maybe it isn’t THAT exciting for you but what it WILL do is give you some insight into our little world of chicken raising on less than an acre of land.  This might be similar to how some of you out there are raising chickens and it might also be VERY different.  Read on to hear more about our adventures.

Getting Chicks

The two times we have purchased chicks, we’ve bought them in person from a feed store.

Since we have only ever bought four at a time this is completely doable.  However, we do look forward to the day that we have to go pick them up from the post office because this will mean two things:

1.  We finally have a large flock, and

2. We are living on a large piece of land in the country.

These are two of my dreams.

The Brooder

Our brooder started out as a cardboard box in our laundry room but the chicks quickly outgrew that.  Luckily my husband is incredibly handy and transformed a large plastic bin into a wonderful indoor brooder for our little babes.  With a heat lamp attached to the bookcase beside it, we are able to keep our chicks warm and happy.

Our Coop(s)

Being the small scale, urban homesteaders that we are, we have kept the coop situation very simple.  We were given our first coop for free, which was awesome and we purchased an almost identical one for our second group of hens. Now we’re in the process of building a chicken tractor to house our oldest ladies so that we can move our three new little ones into the original coop.

It’s a little like changing bedrooms.

As an aside, our second group of chickens (of which there are four) quickly grew too large for the coop, so we created a cheap and simple run to attach.  The ladies love it.

Our Breeds and Flock Size

We currently have nine chickens.  We own (in no particular order);

  • 2 Rhode Island Reds
  • 2 Ameraucana
  • 3 Barred Rocks
  • 2 Leghorns
So far the Barred Rock chickens are our favorite.  They are so personable and easy to manage.  Rhode Island Reds are great, too.  They are really hardy birds.  The leghorns are still young, so it’s hard to tell what they will be like but the Ameraucanas… well, their blue eggs are nice but SHEESH if they aren’t scared of everything and certainly NOT personable.

Feeding and Watering

Right now we have two feeders and one waterer.  The other waterer that we have is simply a self-filling dog bowl Bergan Petite Gourmet 1.5 Gallon Waterer.  The feeders are great but I MUCH prefer the dog bowl to the chicken waterer.  Go figure.

We currently feed the chickens store-bought layer feed and scratch.  We also make them homemade boredom buster bricks DIY Flock Block Substitute and give them kitchen scraps whenever I have them.

Long Term Goals

Some of our long term goals for chicken keeping include:

  • Getting the nerve up to cull the old chickens that stop laying.
  • Upping the flock size to twenty, which is the city max for our lot size.
  • Making our own organic chicken feed.
  • Selling eggs to friends and neighbors.
So… there you have it!  The world of chicken keeping on our little homestead.
If you have questions, leave them in the comments.