Are Backyard Chickens Right for You?

Many towns have passed laws legalizing backyard chickens, encouraging families to raise chickens as a rewarding hobby.

Raising backyard chickens has been a growing phenomenon for several years and shows no signs of slowing down.

One of the biggest benefits to raising backyard chickens is that their eggs are fresher and often tastier and more nutritious than store-bought varieties. Hens can lay one egg per day. Multiply that egg per hen, and breakfast is always available.

Another benefit to chickens is they produce a natural fertilizer that can be used in gardens. “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” says chicken manure can be composted, aged and eventually added to the garden. In about six months, a person will accumulate about one cubic foot of manure per chicken. Egg shells and other compostable material can be added to create an even richer formula.

Chickens also can help control bugs around the yard, offers the experts at Tractor Supply Company.

Before investing in backyard chickens, people should determine if chickens will fit with their lifestyle. Costs and care are a consideration.

Each chick will cost anywhere between $3 to $5 a bird. Then there’s feed and other supplies to consider like feeders and waterers, supplements, etc. The most expensive item will likely be the coop. If you are a handy person, it’s very possible to build your own coop and run (there are many downloadable instructions online), but ready-made ones will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands depending on how many birds you keep and what materials you choose. The coop will need to offer around four square feet of space per chicken (or what’s recommended for the breed).

Despite being seemingly independent birds, chickens need people to be active caregivers. They require feed and water daily. Your flock will need a daily caregiver while you vacation to make sure eggs are collected and that the birds have fresh water and food.

Chickens also are prone to worms, parasites and lice. To help keep themselves clean and mite free, they will require an area where they can “dust” and self-groom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises not to cuddle and kiss chickens like pets because they can carry salmonella. Not every coop is completely varmint-proof, and some chickens may succumb to predators especially if you free-range your birds unattended. Squeamish or sentimental folks may find chickens aren’t the right fit.

Chickens require commitment and care so it is essential to do your homework to ensure that backyard chickens are a sound investment and an enjoyable addition to your lifestyle.

BREED SPOTLIGHT:

Black Australorp 

Black Australorp Chickens are a popular producer of large brown eggs and are known for their heat and cold hardiness and persistence in laying—especially in hot weather. They can lay around 4-6 brown eggs per week and often continue to lay into winter.

When this breed was being developed, the breeders focused on utility and today this is what they are known for.

Black Australorp Chicken.

Australorps mature early and are docile, quiet birds, which makes them great for handling and children. When mature, Australorps have glossy, all-black feathers that show a gorgeous green sheen. From the time these chicks hatch until they are full grown, their feathers have white tips.

Great dual purpose choice. Average mature weight: rooster 8 1/2 lbs., hens 6 1/2 lbs.

Lisa Steele’s Cookies and Cream

Meyer Hatchery is proud to once again partner with our friend and fellow chicken enthusiast, Lisa Steele, to bring you Lisa Steele’s Cookies and Cream Day Old Chicks. This medium-sized chicken is sure to dazzle within your flock with their mottled, smooth feathers and feathered legs. Lisa Steele’s Cookies and Cream Day Old Chicks will produce medium sized cream-colored eggs, sport a crest and beard, and most will have 5 toes. Like other crested birds, they can be flighty and nervous but are friendly and docile birds. They are hardy in all climates.

Lisa Steele’s Cookies and Cream.

This breed is a hybrid. Hybrids are created by crossing two different parents and will not breed true.
Crosses are generally created for vigor and production qualities, but also for desired traits such as egg color or feather patterns.


Meyer Hatchery offers more than 160 breeds of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, and gamebirds.
They also offer a full-line of feed, supplies, gifts and decor.

Use Code: HGNJLISA22 to SAVE $5.00 on any order
at meyerhatchery.com