Think you’ve got what it takes to raise happy backyard chickens? This February, San Diego’s Pacific Magazine published, Move Over Rover: Are Chicken Coops the New Dog House? Although it gave me a laugh to see the chicken listed among the fashion credits, it was a surprisingly thoughtful piece for a trendy pop-culture mag to feature! With more people fully sustaining life at-home, Lisa Lutz, an urban chicken raiser from Del Mar offered practical advice on choosing egg-laying chickens and abiding by the proper city laws before making the big investment. Props to Pacific for offering a practical look at what it really takes to make chicken farming possible in an urban atmosphere!
Chicken Farming From Austria to SoCal
Today we’re joined by guests, SoCal chicken farmers, the Puffer family! Growing up in Austria, Günther Puffer was accustomed to fresh eggs and chickens walking about his yard. He figured with the space he had here just outside of Palm Springs and knowledge of raising the birds from back home, he could reproduce a mini-farm offering his family the same enjoyment he experienced as a kid back in Europe!
Please welcome Heidi, Günther’s daughter and at-home chicken farming fan! I asked Heidi to bestow her top tips on chicken raising so we knew what we’d be getting into!
Five Things You Should Know Before Buying Chickens
5. Cost of Chicken Feed
When you first decide to buy baby chicks it takes up to six full months before they even lay their first egg. For a dozen chickens, a 50-pound bag of chicken feed can run about twenty bucks. One bag a week x 24 weeks = $480. Our local farm feed store LOVES us.
If you buy a small gander of baby chicks there is a chance that one of those may not be a chick… You may end up with a rooster on your hands who crows at 4:30 AM and 5 AM and 5:15 AM and again at 6 AM…. You get the idea!
We call our rooster Romeo because we occasionally catch him molesting the other chickens! Hey, he is one guy with 11 honies. Who can blame him?
Chickens poop. A LOT. Everywhere. Constantly.
2. Happy Chickens = Lots of Eggs
We have found that if we let our chickens out of the coop and let them roam around when it is nice outside they lay MORE eggs! We like this. Occasionally, we find them sneaking through our gate into the street and have to corral them back in. They also eat the bugs around our yard, which we LOVE! Only negative- poop (see above).
1. Orange Yolk
The yolk from a homegrown chicken is a dark orange color. Store bought eggs will forever pale in comparison- literally. But the taste is amazing! And there is something to be said for walking down to your coop and collecting the daily eggs. When they first start laying and you find your first egg, the excitement is hilarious. Then, daily collecting is a fun little adventure away from the everyday stresses of life. When you are in the chicken coop with a dozen chickens that may or may not peck at your toes to say hello you cannot help but smile!
Happy chicken raising! You will enjoy the eggs of your chickens’ labor!