Save Money in 2009: Raise Your Own Chickens


Raising chickens is rewarding.

Kate and I have raised our own poultry off and on for more years than I care to count. We have raised both meat birds (broiler chickens, geese and turkeys) and layers. In every case, raising our own poultry helped us save money, while providing endless hours of entertainment and providing higher quality meat and eggs than we could have ever even hoped to buy at the time. Now that we are once again living on the land, raising our own chickens has become a priority.

When it comes to raising chickens, I am a little more conservative than Kate is. She will often go overboard (in my mind anyway) when chick ordering time comes around. I always ask what we will do with all those chickens; she always answers we will enjoy every minute of them. And she is right.

Rasing your own chickens is rewarding.

All you need to raise chickens is a little space, a little know how (mostly know to leave them well enough alone) and some desire. If you order day old chicks through the mail, you will need to make a brooder for them. The brooder can be as simple as a heat lamp suspended over a cardboard box (it’s best to staple cardboard across the box’s corners to “round” them … this keeps the chicks from piling up in the corners and suffocating those on the bottom of the heap. You should definitely take a look at our books and articles on raising chicken if you have never done it, but suffice it to say this isn’t rocket science.

As you might imagine, raising your own chickens requires a commitment to care for and nurture the animals. For best success, you need to protect them from predators … including pets and children, and you need to provide food, water and access to shelter throughout their lifetime. During the growing season, much of that food can come in the form of grass, clover, alfalfa, bugs, worms, various garden trimmings and excess fruit and vegetables. The shelter can be a chicken house, barn, shed, old grain bin, you name it.

Rooster Shamblin
1/24/2010 11:44:23 PM please read my chicken blog. 40 years experience raising chickens.

George Hanna
7/27/2009 2:41:28 AM

Can I mix laying hens with meat chickens in the same coop and run? Also what about turkeys? Can I have then in the same coop, etc.?

7/15/2009 11:20:44 AM

My mom grew broiler chickens last summer. They brought her so much pleasure because they grew very fast. But sometimes she worried about them because it was difficult for them to walk. So, if you grow broilers yourself, read books about poultry diseases. I found one at It was of great help. But I believe there are lots of others. Just don't lose time, it will be of no use to treat the bird which is already big. It is better to find out first what exactly vitamines and food it needs.

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