A Guide to Raising Urban Backyard Chickens for Busy People

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Maybe you heard one of your friends talk about raising chickens in her backyard. You’re intrigued by the idea. Perhaps you like the idea of producing your own eggs, maybe you think chickens are cute, or maybe you think it would be a fun project you can brag about to your friends. You are hesitant. You have lots of questions. Will it be too noisy? How much will it cost? Do I have enough space? How much time will it take to take care of them? I went through the same process. It’s not as difficult as you may think. In this guide I’ll describe step by step how you can get started raising your own chickens. If you are just getting started raising chickens in the city, I’m assuming You want enough eggs for your family and some surplus to share with friends. You enjoy animals and want to feel more connected to your food and nature. You don’t want your chickens waking you up at 5 am in the morning. You don’t want to deal with cleaning chicken poop every day. You don’t want to spend more than a few minutes a day caring for your flock. You don’t have a lot of space in your yard (perhaps only a few hundred square feet). Here’s what I suggest: 1. Check your city ordinances. Make sure you are not breaking the law. More and more cities allow backyard chickens these days. Backyard Chickens has a page with information about the laws governing backyard chickens. In San Mateo, I’m allowed up to keep up to ten chickens, but no roosters. San Francisco only allows up to four chickens. 2. Start with four to six hens. This should give you at least 16 to 24 eggs a week, more in the summer and less in the winter. Keeping less than four chickens is more trouble than it’s worth, and caring for more than six might be too much if you’re just starting out. I recommend a docile, heavy breed such as Orpington, Australorp, Wyandotte, or Plymouth Rock. Docile so they don’t squawk and peck each other to death, and heavy so they don’t fly all over the place. If your chickens are docile and happy, they will make very little noise. You will hardly notice them if you are inside. Some common breeds such as White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red may lay more eggs, but can be more aggressive and harder to care for if you don’t have enough space. Chicken Breeds List has a good list of different breeds and their characteristics. I like to start from chicks so I can watch my chickens grow up. I don’t recommend hatching from eggs because it’s tricky and you will end up with some males. You can search Yelp to find places near you that sell baby chicks. When you buy your chicks the people at the store should be able to help you get started with a chick waterer, chick feeder, chick feed, bedding, and brooder light. I just use a cardboard box for the brooder. You can keep your chicks inside until they are about six weeks old.¬†After that they are ready to go into their coop. Your chickens won’t start laying eggs until they are five or six months old. Backyard Chickens has some great tips on raising chicks. 3. Build an enclosed coop and run. A typical chicken coop consists of a hen house and a run. The hen house is where they lay their eggs and sleep, and the run is where they spend most...

Read More

Pullets almost ready to lay!

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Last fall we get some more chicks to refresh our flock. Our older hens are nearly three years old and are not laying so much anymore. Last week we found an egg from one of the 5 month old pullets! We’re looking forward to getting a good stream of eggs in a few weeks. My father-in-law has done a great job of expanding the coop and reinforcing the fencing. We salvaged some discarded lumber from some construction sites in the neighborhood and made a more sturdy wooden fence around the run. Check out this video of our happy...

Read More

FarmPlenty Flock Manager now available!

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

We are pleased to announce that FarmPlenty Flock Manager is now available! We support importing your existing data and can produce a variety of valuable reports, including egg production and feed cost reports. We also can provide personalized recommendations for your flock based on your data. For example, we will notify you if feed consumption or egg production is outside the normal range and suggest next steps. Go try it out and give us your feedback. At FarmPlenty, our goal is to give small and urban farmers the tools they need to be successful and operate more sustainably. Having raised chickens in my backyard for more than three years now, I know how bewildering it can be to care for your flock. What kind of feeder should I use? What’s the right coop for me? How can I save time and money? And keeping track of all your eggs and expenses is such a pain. I spent days setting up a treadle feeder and training my flock in order to reduce waste, but how can I know it’s working? We hope that FarmPlenty Flock Manager will now give you the tools you need to manage your flock with confidence. To celebrate the launch, the first 100 subscribers to our newsletter will receive a free 30-day trial of FarmPlenty Flock Manager, you can sign up here: Sign up now to our free newsletter to receive money-saving poultry management tips and news about our upcoming products. Leave this field empty if you're human: Let us know if there is anything you would like to see in future versions, we value your input. Thanks! George Lee Founder,...

Read More