Backyard Chicken Keeping: Are You Ready?

Keeping chickens in the backyard is somewhat of a commitment, and should not be entered into lightly. If you’re going to get into this, make sure you understand what you’re taking on!

Daily Attention

Chickens don’t demand a lot of work, but they do need a little daily attention to ensure they have fresh food and clean water. Your chickens’ lives are literally in your hands: you’ll need to check on them every day, rain hail or shine.

If you go away from home overnight, you’ll need to find someone to check in on your chickens and give them food and water. Most neighbours, especially those with kids, will be only too happy to help you – especially if you let them keep any eggs they collect during this time.

Health and Hygiene

Manure will build up in your chicken coop, and you’ll need to occasionally clean it out and lay fresh bedding for them. Depending upon how many chickens you have, this will probably only need doing once every 2-3 months and needn’t take long. The old bedding is great for the compost and will give your garden a boost, so think of it as harvesting a valuable resource!

While they are generally low maintenance, chickens do occasionally suffer from parasites or diseases. Most issues are fairly easy to diagnose and treat, with a little knowledge. Make sure you buy a good chicken keeping book that covers the common problems.

Personal Experience

Before committing to keeping backyard chickens, try to find a friend, colleague or neighbour with chickens and have a chat with them. There’s no substitute for first-hand advice.

If you have any doubts after considering all the above, you could search for a business in your local area that rents out chickens and coops. If you try out chicken keeping and find it’s not for you, they can simply be returned without fuss. If things go well, you’ll be able to buy the chickens and the coop from the rental service.


Although most towns and cities are fine with residents keeping backyard chickens, many have a few rules about where you can site the coop, how many chickens you can keep, whether or not you can keep roosters, and so on. It’s worth a quick phone call to your local government office to check what you need to do. And believe it or not, there are still a few cities where backyard chickens are banned!

Go For It!

Backyard chicken keeping is not hard work, but it’s important to make sure you understand the commitment you’re making when you take on your own flock. And keep your eye on the prize – for relatively little cost and a small amount of effort, you will be rewarded with plenty of fresh eggs and entertainment!