Raising Chickens: Getting Started With Chickens on the Homestead

If you’re just starting your homestead or even a homestead veteran you’ve likely been told to add chickens to your homestead. Raising chickens is fairly easy and quite enjoyable. They can be free range or you can keep them in a coop. It’s really up to you, but they provide eggs and meat and are an easy addition to the family homestead.

I mean, who doesn’t like farm fresh eggs? They’re delicious and super healthy too. You can’t get this kind of fresh at the grocery store.

When I was growing up we had chickens once in our backyard. Mind you, we lived in the city and maybe had an acre that we lived on. My parents weren’t trying to build a homestead either. They just wanted the chickens for eggs.

I’m not sure how long we kept the chickens, but it was awesome while it lasted. Sadly, we lived right next to a wooded area and they ended up being attacked and all killed. I think after that my mom decided she didn’t want to try again. She has a big heart when it comes to animals.

image of chickens on the homestead

But, it’s one of my goals when we finally get a piece of land. I want to raise chickens for both meat and eggs. This also means I need to start figuring out how much chicken we actually eat so I know how many chicks we’ll have to raise each year to get us through.

Raising Chickens: Getting Started With Chickens on the Homestead

In my quest for knowledge, I’ve found a few things along the way that I wanted to pass on. While we have chickens back on our family property, it’s also 3 hours north of where we live (on a good day). Not really feasible to drive home every day or week to gather eggs. So, my in-laws are reaping those benefits.

But, I wanted to equip myself with an understanding of what I would need to do when we do buy our first flock.

This is pretty much the list I’ve settled on for know.

image of a woman holding a chicken

#1 Decide If You Want Meat Chickens or Just Eggs

We’ve already decided we want both meat chickens and layers. But, this is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

#2 Decide On a Breed of Chicken

We haven’t figured this out yet. Make sure you do your homework and you’re sure which breed is best for you and your family.

#3 Will You Buy Grown or Baby Chicks?

I think we’re going to do a mix of both of these. I’ve read it’s a lot easier to buy a batch of chicks to raise for meat every year rather than hatching them all yourself, but it is possible to hatch them to butcher too.

#4 Will You Free Range or Keep in a Coop?

Many people are either scared to free range their chickens because of predators OR they’ve had predator attacks and decided not to free range. Whether you’re ok with free-range life or want to do the coup life it’s completely up to you.

We free ranged our chickens back home. Yes, we had some attacks (snakes were bad about getting the babies), but we preferred free ranging rather than keeping them in a coup.

#5 Figure Out Feeding Needs

This is definitely something that will vary based on whether they’re free range or living in a coup. If they’re free-range chickens they can get a lot of their own food in the spring, summer, and fall times. But feed in winter is definitely necessary.

Check out the post below about feeding your chickens. It’s really helpful!

#6 Prepare for Your Flock to Arrive

Nothing is as fun as when your chickens arrive. I can remember a friend of my husbands bringing over a big box of chicks. I was so excited. My son was too.

Make sure you either have the necessities for caring for your chicks or that you have all the things you need for grown chickens. You’ll probably still find things you’d like to grab or need to grab as time goes on, but getting a good start is always helpful!

Other articles  you might like:

Awesome Posts & Resources To Get You Started Raising Chickens

image of chickens free ranging

#1 The Flip Flop Barnyard

6 Expert Tips For Raising Pastured Poultry

Read more about this post right here.

How to Raise Baby Chicks- Everything You Need to Know

Read more about this post right here.

Choosing a Chicken Breed For Your Homestead

Read more about this post right here.

How to Butcher a Chicken at Home

Read more about this post right here.

#2 Celebrating a Simple Life

Hatching Supplies to Buy at the Dollar Store

Read more about this post right here.

Choosing the Best Rooster for Your Flock

Read more about this post right here.

Does the Coop Need a Heat Lamp?

Read more about this post right here.

#3 Books & Resources

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

Find this book right here.

#4 The Free Range Life

Pros and Cons of Free Range Chickens

Read more about this post right here.

#5 The Courageous Chicken

11 Reasons to Raise Backyard Chickens

Read more about this post right here.

How Often Should You Collect Eggs?

Read more about this post right here.

Where Do I Buy Chicks?

Read more about this post right here.

#6 Our Simple Homestead

Electric Chicken Fence

Read more about this post right here.

9 Tips for Raising Baby Chickens

Read more about this post right here.

#7 The Prairie Homestead

Homemade Chicken Feed Recipe

Read more about this post right here.

#8 Champagne and Mudboots

How to Raise Chickens and Avoid Salmonella Contamination

Read more about this post right here.

#9 Hillsborough Homestead

Top 12 Heritage Chicken Breeds

Read more about this post right here.

Now it’s time to get started!

Since you’re a little more familiar with chicken breeds, whether you should start with chicks or adult chickens, what kind of feed you need and all the other stuff that goes along with raising chickens it’s time to get started.

Make your list of things you’ll need and get excited. Raising chickens is both fun and enjoyable. You’ll love it and your kids will love being able to help out.


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