I’ve been keeping backyard chickens as part of our food waste reuse and for food production for nearly ten years. Each day we place all our food waste into a 10 litre bucket and it is fed to the chickens the next morning – with a couple of scoops of layer pellets.
Our family of five easily feeds five chickens with our waste – plus we get the benefit of 3-4 eggs each day. Fresh chicken eggs from your backyard are really something else when compared to store bought eggs.
Basic needs of backyard chickens
- Clean water: ensure ample cool, clean water is always available.
- Food: as a minimum a quality layer or scratch mix; ideally also regular access to grass, vegetables, food scraps and insects through free-ranging.
- Protection from weather: provide shelter from cold winds, rain, prolonged dampness and heat.
- Protection from predators: protect backyard chickens from foxes, dogs, cats and birds of prey by surrounding and enclosing pens with mesh.
- A place to exercise: chickens like scratching, dust bathing, foraging and socialising. General space rule is at least one square metre per bird.
- A place to lay eggs: hens require a quiet, dark place to build nests and lay eggs. Line nesting boxes with straw, shredded paper or sawdust.
- Somewhere to roost: most chickens like to perch at night so provide rounded perches that are at least 50mm wide.
- Other chickens: chickens are flock birds and need company to be happy. Never keep just one backyard chicken.
Here is a great resource for backyard chickens – even though it features some specs for Tennessee, there is still plenty of helpful information and tips in the 28 page pdf on Housing and Space Requirements for Backyard Chickens.
The best most complete guide – Raising Chickens For Dummies – all 411 pages included here in a pdf for FREE download for you – have your wifi ready…