With the current state of the world a lot of people have been considering taking the jump into backyard chicken keeping. As the current owner of 9 chickens I can attest that it is a very rewarding and entertaining hobby. If you are thinking about getting chickens here are a few things to consider. You need to have a space in your yard large enough to provide them with a coop as well as a run. Chickens love to scratch in the dirt, catch bugs, and dig up worms. They also use the dirt to take dust baths in to maintain healthy skin and feathers. It is important that the coop and run be safe from predators. In Northern Nevada there are a lot of critters that would like nothing more than to nab one or all of your chickens for a meal.
If you have the space and the time to care for them you can get them as chicks, pullets (teenagers), or fully grown chickens. If you are interested in chicks they do require more care initially, but it is usually worth it for their fluffy cuteness. Chickens are social birds so plan on getting at least 2-3 so they have friends. A word of warning though, you will probably end up getting more chickens than you originally intended. Depending on the breed you can expect to have an egg every day or every other day. They do usually decrease egg production in the winter months. Once you have everything set up they are fairly low maintenance, but do require food and water as well as routine cleaning of the coop and run. Supplies are readily available at any of our local feed stores. These stores generally have chicks available in the spring and early summer months. You can also order chicks online through a hatchery. They will ship them when they are 1 day old. I do recommend that you get chicks that have been vaccinated for Marek’s disease (a viral and highly contagious disease that causes paralysis, weight loss and vision impairment).
Chickens not only provide you, and likely your friends and family, with a steady supply of fresh eggs, but they are entertaining to watch, help control bugs in your yard and will eat your fruit and veggie scraps with enthusiasm. Happy chicken keeping!
(DISCLAIMER: SWVH does not treat chickens.)