It’s a little hard to know how to discuss a topic so huge as chicken keeping. Consequently this “bucket” will see content grow topic by topic.
Out of the gate I would like to advocate for homesteading without animals of any kind. Part of the appeal of homesteading is an increase in freedom. Animals on the homestead will greatly limit freedom. Now I love our chickens I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But we are not likely to get away from the homestead except for day trips because of them. If all we had was a garden we could pick up and go almost any time the mood strikes us. Additionally the animals’ care and feeding is the responsibility of the already-busy homesteader. With a homestead scaled properly and certain dietary choices the need for any animals on a homestead can be completely eliminated. Obviously if a person WANTS animals, that’s their prerogative. But if you value freedom and simplicity, you might want to consider and animal-free homestead.
When we started homesteading I assumed homesteading required animals. We greatly enjoyed chickens and loved goats, so we assumed we’d work up to having both. Within 10 months of starting our homestead we had baby chicks. We adore them but in no way are they practical. Our girls will give us however many eggs they give us and they will get full “retirement” with all the benefits after that.
After that I won’t get chickens again until I’m 100% sure I am retired, done with travelling, and – preferably – living on an obscure tropical island somewhere. I think it only took a couple of weeks with the chicks to convince us there was no way in hell we’d EVER get goats, no matter how much we love them. Caring for our girls is a tremendous amount of work; yet chickens are nothing compared to goats!
Without further ado, the basic chicken categories are:
- Chicken Infrastructure: the coop, run, chicken garden, and dealing with things like water, electricity, and – of course – chicken poop.
- Chicken Care: general well-being, illness & injury, feed, and “free” ranging.
- Chicken Antics: the real reason we have them!
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