You don’t need a large flock or an expensive setup to get eggs for your table as there are many breeds lay 5 or 6 eggs a week. It is however best to have a minimum of three hens, as they are sociable creatures who like the companionship of others of their kind.
In the winter they roost up next to their friends, and in the summer they’ll dust bathe in groups and flop around in the sun.
If the idea of a rooster keeps you from having chickens you need not worry as you do not need to have a rooster around for the hens to lay eggs. I have noticed the hens appear quite content to not have a male in their midst, constantly trying to mount them and don’t seem to wander as far without a cockerel around. I keep a great many roosters but they are a handful to deal with, the crowing or aggression. My egg flock does just fine without a rooster, and I have no problem with bullying in my flock despite not having the male influence. It is possible to find a nice, although they are rarely quiet, rooster and I always select good natured cockerels for breeding and keeping.
Raising your own chicks is incredibly rewarding and I hatch around 3000 a year both with hens and in incubators. I also breed chickens to help improve my strains and for showing so what I have learned about genetics will appear in these pages as well.
Hens are bossy, demanding, endlessly curious and easily gratified. They are comical to watch, make great friends to your family, provide amusement for you, and supply eggs for the table. I’ve enjoyed keeping chickens for more than twenty years. Currently, I have 140 birds across 22 types living in separate coops and fenced yards.
You’ll need to provide your chickens with a henhouse to give them shelter from inclement weather, a place to lay eggs, and a safe haven to spend the night.
The more space your chickens have, the healthier and happier they’ll be. During the day the chickens need access to sunshine and an outdoor run. They need a place to dust bathe and protection from predators. The term pecking order originated with poultry.
Chickens enjoy free-ranging, and it’s the best life for them. However, it’s not always practical or safe. Chickens tear up plants, eat everything from flowers to tomatoes, and will quickly turn a small lawn into packed dirt. When you have chickens you have losses. Predators and disease will thin your flock.