raising backyard chickens

A Guide to Raising Chickens in Your Small Yard

Are you up to the task of raising backyard chickens in your town or city for fresh eggs and free soil amendments?

By Leah Zerbe


A Guide to Raising Chickens in Your Small Yard

Backyard chickens make life more interesting.

Your backyard is as local as you can get for food. Thousands of people around the country have started growing organic produce in their yards, and some have even taken it a step further and started raising chickens for fresh eggs. "You’ll know what the chickens ate and how they lived. As with a backyard vegetable garden, backyard chickens give you some measure of self-sufficiency," explains Christine Heinrichs, author of How to Raise Chickens: Everything You Need to Know (Voyageur Press, 2007).

About three hens will provide a family of four with plenty of eggs, but before you start salivating over the thought of fresh, Sunday-morning scrambled eggs, it's important to understand what raising backyard chickens entails. And if you don't find your lifestyle friendly to home-raising poultry, don't feel bad. You can do the next best thing and buy your eggs from local small-flock poultry farmers who let their chickens live more natural lives outside (compared to filthy, factory-farm cage conditions). You can even join organizations like the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities or the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy to support the cause. "Everyone doesn’t need to keep their own chickens, but by supporting each other, we can create stronger local food networks that will serve all of us better," says Heinrichs.

Published on: November 3, 2009
Updated on: January 30, 2013

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hwo long to keep chickens inside

depends on your definition of inside??? I keep babies "inside" 3-5 months the first 2 in winter with supplemental heat depending on the weather the remaining 1-3 months is in a lean two/pen before turning them with the adults. if you put too young of birds with adult hens the pecking order will cause harm and death to some of the young if to young. each situation is different.


I got my chicks late Spring, and in was warm enough to keep them in the garage. with a low heat lamp over them. I have eight, so an 8' plastic kiddie pool with wood shavings worked great--but you need some type of fencing around it, as they learn quickly to jump over and out, but have a hard time getting back in!

How long to keep chickens inside

I question the advice on keeping chickens indoors for 3 to 4 months. Three to four weeks is more like it, except in very cold or wet weather.


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