Getting Started- The Pecking Order

Keeping chickens is a practice that dates as far back as when people started domesticating
animals. They are fun to have around, are a good food source, and are low maintenance. If you
have an ample backyard the idea of keeping chicken may have occurred to you but needed a
little more information before getting started.

Hens and Roosters

You do not need a rooster. Keeping a rooster is a matter of choice but not actually a necessity.
While having these handsome, brassy, noisy, aggressive characters to have around your hens is
an attractive choice, the hens are quite content not having a rooster that keeps mounting them
as they can lay eggs without the help of the rooster. Chickens are sociable birds. They want to
hang around each other most times and cuddle around each other on cold days. You may need
only one chicken for a pet however, chicken are happier when in the company of chickens. If
you want to keep a few have at least two or three.

The Hen House

Where there are hens, there are predators. Chickens will be happy to be strutting around free
range-like but sooner, without a place to roost, you’ll end up losing some. In the country, they
attract a lot; in the city they attract rats let alone cats. The hen house then is a good area to
shelter and raise them. There are fanciful chicken pen designs that are available everywhere if
you do not want to go through the trouble of building them. Fancy chicken pens are good and
attractive accessory to your backyard. There are however the basic elements to have for a good
chicken house. First chicken love having dust baths during the day. They do it all the time so
they must have access to dirt where they can scratch and dig and have fun.

The Bigger the Better

While chicken are not territorial, they also need their spaces. Crowding them would result to
pecking at each other, sometimes even to death. They do this to protect those that catch their
fancy. For example, they’ll start pecking at another chicken if it goes too near a string of water
droplets running through a hanging string that caught their interest. To prevent overcrowding,
allow at least three square feet of space for every chicken. During colder days when they will be
huddling hang grass and vegetables that they eat to keep them occupied.

Settling Down

Other people prefer buying pullets and raising them, others want to start with hens. No matter,
they will be brought inside their pens to familiarize them to the chicken house. Once there, do
not let them out for a while. The chicken has to know very well where the home is otherwise,
they will be roosting on branches, roofs, awnings, anywhere they feel safe.
Getting started with chickens is also knowing that they enjoy people leftovers and would fight
over it. Their normal fare though is chicken pellets and clean water.