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!

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