Still chickenless? 5 ways to shift from stuck to cluck

Chicken being held in urban backyardYou’ve read the books. You’ve chosen your breeds. You’ve even cleared a spot in the yard for the chicken coop. And yet, something’s still missing.

Something feathery.

It’s okay. Look, you’ve already made it from the idea stage to the planning stage, and that’s quite a big leap. Now you just have to get from planning to doing.

Here are some tips for actually making it happen:

  • Visit someone who has chickens. This completely demystifies the process of keeping chickens. Find a friend, neighbor, meetup group, or local chicken coop tour. Ask questions. Hold a chicken. Fill the feeder and waterer. Spread some straw around the chicken run. By watching how others do it, you’ll realize that once you’re past the brief learning curve, keeping chickens is pretty easy.
  • Walk through a local farm/feed or gardening store. I love these places. They’re full of all the tools and gear you need to keep animals and grow your own food. Browsing the aisles will get your juices going. And there’s a good chance you’ll leave with something new. A mud rake. A shovel. A few baby chicks, perhaps. . .
  • Buy your chicks. This is risky, but it worked for me. There’s nothing like the cheeping of a few fluffy and fragile creatures to spur you into action. You’ll need a heat lamp, feeder and waterer, some starter feed, bedding, and a large cardboard box for a brooder. But don’t focus on all that stuff. Any place that sells chicks will set you up with everything you need to get started.
  • Or don’t buy chicks. Maybe the sticking point for you is the whole process of brooding chicks. In that case, get pullets (young hens) or even full-grown laying hens that will start laying eggs for you right away. They may end up costing a little more, but with a small backyard flock, the cost difference might not matter that much.
  • Build your chicken coop. This really is the part of the process most people are intimidated by. But instead of focusing on the end result, think about it in steps — and take it one step at a time. Start with a detailed coop plan. Line up your tools. Gather your materials. Make the first cut. Drive the first screw. And that’s it, because by this point you’re hooked and well on your way.

Do any or all of these things — in any order. The important thing is that you do something. That doesn’t mean you stop thinking and planning, just think and plan while you take action. It goes better that way!

If you already keep chickens, how did you get from planning to getting it done? Was it a hard or easy step to take? What one thing ultimately got you moving? Any words of advice for someone who’s stuck? Leave a reply below!


4 thoughts on “Still chickenless? 5 ways to shift from stuck to cluck”

  1. I’ve been reading a lot about chickens lately. A few years ago, when I was younger, I was a farm store for some food for my dog, and there were baby chicks. I was 10. My eyes got big, and I just had to have those chickens xD. So the next day, without any planning or research WHATSOEVER, got 3 Arucuana chicks. All girls. We kept them in a recycling bin, and then a huge dog crate my dog had never taken to. We certainly got lucky. They all lived and grew up healthy and happy! Until we found out chickens weren’t legal in our neighborhood. We had to get rid of my 3 babies Lilac, Clover, and August… but now we’re fighting the HOA, and our meeting is tommorow.

    So… don’t be intimidated. It’s so easy! 🙂

  2. For me the most intimidating part was the coop. I never had the time to put it up, so in the end, I paid for the labor. A predator proof coop takes all the worry out of keeping chickens.

    I only have 3 and raised them from chicks, without too much trouble and didn’t lavish them with attention, but even so, they do seem to like me quite a bit. One will peck at my hand when I go to change the water, etc. But the pecks never hurt.

    I don’t have a fence in my yard, but I feel very comfortable letting them wander my small property, (with supervision). They’re not very adventurous and are not looking to go far. They want to stay within sight of me, I guess out of instinctive fear of potential predators. Sometimes I’ll see a hawk circling and I’ll shoo them back into the coop. They let me pick them up mostly, but I have dried meal worms on hand as an extra incentive to get them moving quickly.

    Once the egg door was accidentally left open overnight and they stood barking at my back door till I came out. Hilarious!

  3. We had recently moved out of town when a friend of mine was getting rid of her 6 hens and a rooster. She had a very small coop and quite a bit of feed. I drove over, loaded the small coop into the back of my pickup, and put all the chickens into dog kennels, and that was the beginning.

    I still have one of those originals hens but all the rest are gone. I gave the rooster away when he became a little ornery, but before he left he gave us a legacy of 12 others that we hatched in an incubator. The coop that was given to us was moved into a large dog run so they could be a little safer at night from predators.

    Within the next month, though, all our girls will be moved into a larger area with a double-decker premium chicken coop my father-in-law made for me. I have been amazed at how easy it is to keep chickens and how friendly they are. I am tremendously proud of my girls and the eggs they produce. God willing, I will always keep chickens — they are a joy.

  4. “…how did you get from planning to getting it done?”
    In February, my wife ordered chicks for April delivery! The pressure was on, and I had a couple of months to figure it out, otherwise I would have put it off.

    “Any words of advice for someone who’s stuck?”
    1) Raising layers is a lot less daily work and much less complicated than I thought it would be.

    2) The chickens crack me up! I did not expect to enjoy them as much as I do.

    3) A good coop is essential. We bought The Garden Coop plans, and I think the coop is a major factor in this being such an enjoyable experience. It is easy to maintain, well-ventilated, sanitary, and the girls seem to be happy.

    4) Our girls started laying four weeks ago at about 20 weeks of age. Having fresh, safe eggs “manufactured” right outside our back door is really cool.


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