I recently purchased chickens as a project for my daughter and I to raise as a way of teaching her a bit about how food goes from the farm to the dinner table. We’re not planning on using them for meat, but the thought of having fresh eggs was intriguing enough to at least start a small flock and see how it goes.
The first thing I did was contact the city and see what kind of regulations they had for backyard farm animals. The city office was very helpful and sent me the 3 pages of regulations – assuming I’ve read them correctly, I can have up to 14 chickens but no roosters. So the next step was then to get some chickens.
I went down to the Pomona Feed Store and they had a great selection and the staff was very helpful. Which was great because I had only done the basic research on what it would take to raise a chicken from a couple of websites that i found from googling the subject.
We ended up getting 4 types of chickens, and we are starting off with one of each to see how we like the various breeds.
- Plymouth Barred Rock
They also had several coops for sale for between $200-$400, but being somewhat handy with a saw and a hammer, I ended up building my own – total cost for a 4×4 coop ended up and just under $175 and two weekends of trial and error.
So now we have the coop and the birds. They’ve been in the backyard about 4 weeks now and are roughly 8 inches high, it seems like they grow by leaps and bounds every day. My daughter is totally in love with these feathered friends and she’s already named two of them. The red is named Ariel and the black barred rock is named Flounder (Yes, she is into the Disney film ‘Little Mermaid’)
Some of the sites I’ve used for my research include
- www.mypetchicken.com – (They have an awesome eBook)
- en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Raising_Chickens (interesting little tidbit in there about how you can feed a chicken pieces of chicken…ewe)
And the bible that I’ve pretty much gone by is called Chickens in Your Backyard : A Beginner’s Guide.
One good piece of advice to people out there who are thinking of raising chickens – do the research, but at some point, you’ve got to take the plunge. I did a ton of research, designed about 5 different types of chicken coops and various schedules, and then realized almost 6 months had gone by and I still wasn’t even sure if I was going to like raising chickens, so I took the plunge, bought the chickens, then built the coop while the chicks were still in their box under a heat lamp. My daughter and I are having a blast with these great animals!