Doing a simple Google search for chickens can unleash a torrent of information with no real focus. We’ve found some resources and references that really helped us wrap our head around what it meant to have chickens.
Books and Websites
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens is the whole enchilada, and then some. It gives you the know-how you need to get in and raise a healthy, productive and happy flock.
Raising Chickens for Dummies was the first book we found that explained a lot of details in basic, easy to understand instructions. We loved this book because it was quick and easy to read with information that was easily absorbed. It serves as a fantastic quick-reference guide as well as an excellent start.
BackyardChickens.com has been an excellent resource for any questions we’ve had. They have a great friendly and active forum, tons of well written articles and links to even more resources. The people on the forums are excited to answer any questions you may have and eagerly give advice from experience.
For us, we wanted a simple, mobile structure that had a well protected run, easy access and easy to clean. It needed a small footprint and able to be removed from the premises if necessary. It turned out the Chicken Ark was just the thing. Since the roosts and nests are upstairs, the ladies have 32 square feet of run to play in and peck at bugs. Unfortunately the Arks were selling in our area and online for nearly $1000. We ended up finding construction plans for $20 and spent about $250 building it ourselves. We did have to buy a couple tools but were able to find great deals ($20 for a miter saw) on craigslist and classifieds. Even if you don’t have the tools, most areas have tool libraries or rental stores where you can rent or borrow a tool for a day.
Feeders and Waterers
There are tons of options for feeders and waterers online and in stores. We went ahead and went for galvanized feeders and waterers simply for durability. The price difference really wasn’t that much compared to plastic ones and these should last a very long time.
Little Giant 2 Gallon Poultry Waterer
Little Giant Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder