Two years ago our first two chickens entered our lives (and hearts) and Andrew and I fell head over heels in love with these tiny feathered creatures. Our first flock of chickens has since passed on to be with the Lord (yes, I believe my chickens are in heaven in their Coop Mansion), and we are now raising our second flock.
Chickens have brought me so much joy over the past two years, and I’ve been able to convince several friends to jump on board, but there are still others who are on the fence. Andrew had trouble coming with me on the backyard chicken bandwagon and I think it’s namely because he lacked a few essential facts.
There are a few key misconceptions about chicken raising that I think clearing up would help me understand exactly what they are getting themselves into. This post is here to do exactly that!
1. Chickens are expensive
How much are you spending a month on eggs? You could probably replace that cost with a bag of chicken feed and end up in the same spot. There are a few start up costs involved like a coop, waterer, and feeder but in the long run it’s very affordable to keep chickens. Andrew and I have 4 chickens and we go through a bag of feed per month which ends up being about $25. We get about 2 dozen eggs every week though, so it all balances out. If we wanted to, we could even sell our egg surplus. To find out more about the start up costs of chickens, read this post!
2. Roosters are too loud
Truth, you actually don’t have to have a rooster in order for chickens to lay eggs! Most people don’t know that. So if your concern is a noisy rooster, the answer is you don’t even have to have one! Hens are pretty quiet, with the exception of some occasionally chirping, but the owls in my neighborhood are much louder than my hens.
3. Chickens are messy
Yes, but you can totally limit their mess to one part of your yard. We allow our chickens to free range, but you could easily solve this problem by limiting them to a run. This is a hardware cloth enclosure that attaches to the coop so they never have to step foot in your yard. And as a good rule of them, you need 2 sq. ft. per chicken!
4. Chickens are a lot of work
This is so not the case. Chickens are one of the easiest animals in the world to deal with. As long as they have food and water they are good! You could leave on a trip and have a neighbor check their water and be totally fine. In the winter when temperatures drop you may need to check their water for ice, but it’s really not that difficult! Cleaning the coop only has to be done a few times a year as well. Answer this question: Can I take care of a small human? If the answer is yes, then you could probably take care of at least 6 chickens with a fraction of the effort.
5. Chickens smell
Small tiny children smell more than chickens do! Your dog smells more than your chickens will. Yes, chickens by the hundreds in a small confined building will definitely smell. Six of them in your backyard will not.
6. Chicks are hard to raise
Here’s the good news, you can buy chickens as hens and not chicks! We have never had chicks because we didn’t want to have to deal with all that work or keeping them properly warm, not to mention waiting about 6 months for them to start laying eggs! We purchased all our chickens as hens! Check craigslist and local Facebook groups for chicken breeders near you.
7. We don’t know what we’re doing
My mind goes back to a classroom poster my English teacher had that said “The expert in anything was once a beginner.” Mmm, how profound — and true! Have you heard of Google? Or Youtube? You can learn what you need to learn for FREE on the internet. Just watch a few YouTube videos and you’ll be a pro in no time. There will be some learning curves, you’ll have to be cool with that. It’s all worth it though!
I hope this helps you feel a little more confident in your backyard chicken raising ventures. We had no clue what we were doing when we started, but gosh it’s been fun learning and I have met so many neat people through a mutual love of chickens.
For further reading on what my chicken journey has looked like, check out this post!