Keeping Chickens: Little Livestock

chicken coop photoWilderness life is best when you’re sharing it. Of course, that can mean spending time with other people, but who wants to do that? No, today we’re talking about the best company your log-cabin life could have: chickens.

No, wait! We’re not saying that chickens are the solution to life’s problems, but we are pretty sure that they’re a whole heck of a lot of fun. And with chickens gaining popularity as both wilderness and urban livestock, we thought we’d take a second to talk about the best ways to start taking care of our fine feathered friends!

Preparing for chickens is key

First thing you should know about keeping chickens, is that they need a fair amount of preparation before your yard is ready. They’ll need food, water, and shelter. Pretty basic, right? The trick is, there are a couple of different specifics chickens need, especially if you’re planning on raising them in bulk. Chickens need a coop and nest boxes, as well as either a safe, fenced-in yard or a chicken run. All of these can be made by hand or bought outright. If you’re interested in building your own, take a look at this Farmer’s Almanac guide to building a coop!

Make sure you’ve got a good supply of chicken feed and know where to get more. So-called ‘scratch feed’ is what you’re looking for– a mix of different, large-size grains. Chicken feed is often scattered on the ground for chickens to seek out (hence ‘scratch feed’) so larger particles are better. Likewise, make sure you’re ready for the other side of the equation. You’ll have to do your fair share of shoveling, so make sure you’re ready! On the bright side, chicken dung makes for a great addition to compost piles.

Keep your chickens happy, healthy, and safe

Like us, chickens are social animals. You’ll need to get at least four hens to keep them in top laying shape. In addition, they need space to roam and play in order to be healthy. If you want your chickens in top condition, you’ll need to give them enough room– either let them roam in your yard, or give them an enclosed, 5’x20’ chicken run.

Once you’ve taken the time to make them feel at home, chickens are a great source of fresh, tasty eggs. Make sure to check your coop every morning (and sometimes in the evenings, too!) Clean them gently with warm water, and store them in the refrigerator. As a quick warning, chickens can develop a taste for their own eggs– be sure to clean any eggy straw or bedding before it becomes an issue!

If this sounds like your kind of project, stay tuned! The TruLog team as a whole bunch of different TruLog Wilderness Lifestyle tips to put at your disposal. Make sure to keep checking back!

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