Raising Chickens 101​


BYC (BackYardChickens) has TONS of fantastic information on all aspects of chicken keeping, combined with a wealth of experiences and knowledge shared by our community members. If your question isn't answered in our Learning Center Articles, we promise there is an answer on our chicken discussion forum.

The information below will help you begin your journey by covering the basics of raising chickens. We'll link to other areas of the site where you can scratch up even more details!



So, you are interested in raising chickens? Keeping a backyard flock can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, one that is gaining in popularity as more people recognize the many benefits of having a "a pet that makes you breakfast"! You'll quickly experience how fun it is to have chickens as pets. We're happy to help as you embark on the fun and exciting journey of raising BackYard Chickens!

If you have chickens, you'll often be asked the question: "Why raise backyard chickens?" Most people know hens (female chickens) provide delicious and nutritious eggs, but don't realize the many other benefits that come with having your own backyard flock. Here are some of the most common reasons to raise chickens:


Before you take the plunge and start your own flock, make sure chicken keeping is allowed in your town/city and make sure you understand the ordinances applied to your specific area.


Before you take the plunge and start your flock, you'll want to choose the breeds of chicken that might be the best fit for your wants and needs. When you're choosing, keep in mind your main goal in chicken keeping, and which breeds will do best in your climate. Here are some resources to help you choose:


There are a number of places you can purchase chicks, older chickens and even fertile hatching eggs to get you started on your journey.


Did you impulsively buy a box full of chicks? ;) Or are you planning to get some fluffy little chicks soon? Here's a quick rundown of what you'll need:


Your babies are quickly becoming teenagers and anxious to leave the brooder. Hopefully you've thought ahead and have their chicken coop and chicken run ready to go! Once the chicks have feathered out (roughly 6-7 weeks) you'll want to move them out of your house and into a chicken coop! When buying or building a coop, make sure it's big enough for them (and any future additions). A good rule of thumb for space requirements is approximately 3–4 square feet per chicken inside the coop and 10 sq/ft per chicken for the outside run. Check out this great guide on how much room do chickens need?

Chicken Coop:

Food & Water:


We know, it happened so quickly... your little fluff-balls grew up so fast! It seems like it was just yesterday that they were constantly cheeping. Well, now you're onto an exciting new stage... one where you'll be inspecting the nest boxes daily, waiting for that first egg! While you wait, here are some additional items to keep in mind to maintain a healthy flock:


Now that you've skimmed the basics, you might be ready to dive deeper into learning more about raising backyard chickens. We suggest the following: