Learning how to raise backyard chickens is one of the most rewarding experiences! As a gardener you will find that one of the top benefits of raising backyard chickens is chicken manure. Yes, that's right, the chicken's poop! Of course the eggs are great too! However, composted chicken manure is one of the best natural fertilizers you can add to your Back to Eden Garden. Paul calls his chicken run his "soil manufacturing plant." That is because he collects and screens his composted chicken manure to add to his garden. Chicken manure amends your soil by adding nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can experience all of the benefits of raising backyard chickens too!
There are a handful of excellent chicken hatcheries throughout the US. Paul told us he recommends Murray McMurray Hatchery. Since they were sold out of chickens, we researched to find a local farm that sold chickens. Thankfully we discovered Dare 2 Dream Farms based in California. They offered free delivery to a local pet shop. From most hatcheries you can purchased baby chicks, coop-ready, pullets, laying hens, or roosters. Depending on the breed, some chickens will begin laying around 6 months of age. We got 9 week old coop ready chickens.
OPTIONAL CHICKEN COOP UPGRADES
1. Elevate the Chicken Coop: We raised the coop 24 inches off the ground for security. An elevated coop also prevents the growth of mold and fungi, which is detrimental to the health of chickens.
2. Install a Waterproof Roof That Will Last: We upgraded the roof to galvanized steel sheet metal so the chickens will stay dry during the rainy season and winter.
AUTOMATIC CHICKEN COOP DOOR
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You definitely want to build a chicken run that is safe from predators. Predators for chickens include but aren't limited to raccoons, coyotes, foxes, hawks, owls, eagles, etc. Although many people use chicken wire to secure the chicken run, we recommend using 1/4" Hardware Cloth. It is more expensive but it really helps keep out rodents and predators way better than any other material. We also placed a "skirt" around the run where we buried at least 1 foot of wire to keep any animals from digging under the run.
Lavender smells incredible but it is also an insect repellent and stress reliever.
Mint naturally lowers body temperatures, which can be helpful in keeping your flock cool in the summer. Mint is an excellent fly, spider and rodent repellant.
Rosemary is responsible for assisting with pain relief and enhancing respiratory health. It's also great for repelling insects that hang around your coop.
Thyme repels insects. It’s anti-parasitic, antibacterial and rich in antioxidants. Place it in nest boxes of chickens suffering from respiratory ailments to help them breathe.
Sage is full of antioxidants and vitamins and is believed to combat salmonella and other diseases.
Water is probably one of the most essential nutrients for growth, egg production, health, and life. Chickens consume at least twice as much water as they do feed. So it is important that they always have a clean supply of water.
Compost Bin & Sieve
Lastly, you will find yourself cleaning out chicken manure from the coop daily and the chicken run weekly (remember this stuff will turn your soil into gold). You will add the chicken manure to your compost bin. We like to add some pine shavings from the nesting box and wood chips to help the manure break down. It also reduces the odor! After your chicken manure has composted for at least 6 months, you can sift it through a sieve and add it in your organic garden!
Automatic Chicken Coop Door
One of the biggest reasons people give up on raising backyard chickens is the responsibility to open the coop at sunrise and close the coop at sunset. Our recommended solution to this problem is the Omlet Automatic Chicken Coop Door. This is a universal automatic chicken coop door that is easy to install on any coop or run. You can set the time for the door to open in the mornings and close in the evenings. Chickens are very routine oriented so they will appreciate being so well taken care of. Also, you can sleep soundly knowing they have one of the most secure automatic doors in the world. Use this coupon code to get 10% OFF your order: BACKTOEDENCHICKENS
Chicken Coop Cleaning Supplies
Once you have all of the supplies, have built a safe coop and run, and purchased chickens, you are officially prepared to raise backyard chickens! Before you know it you will be eating fresh eggs for breakfast and amending your garden so that it flourishes for years to come!