JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service said those who want to raise chickens at home should make plans before hand.
“Raising chickens is not as easy as you may have been led to believe. It takes work,” said Tom Tabler, poultry specialist. “There’s a reason you didn’t have chickens before now. Make sure that you have the time and money to devote to them before you start.”
The following recommendations are listed as a guide on how to properly raise chickens:
- Be sure to observe all city or county ordinances that may be in place limiting the size of the flock and the presence of roosters.
- Talk to neighbors about your intention to establish a backyard flock, and determine the time commitment required to properly care for the birds
- There is a lot to learn about how to care for birds and keep them healthy, what to do if they are sick, where to purchase feed, what kind of space each bird needs, and how to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Determine what meets individual demands, and run electricity and water to the structure if needed.
- Select a breed that meets personal goals, and avoid selecting a bird based on looks, simple availability or what kind a friend has.
- Shelter is important. Chickens make easy targets for a variety of predators, plus they need cover from the sun and elements.
- Biosecurity is a critical part of raising chickens. Those with small backyard flocks must make protecting the health of their birds a high priority.
- Isolate birds from visitors and other birds.
- Prevent disease from spreading by cleaning shoes, tools, equipment and housing for the chickens.
- Avoid sharing items with another chicken owner, as this can spread disease from an infected flock.
Owners should also know the warning signs of infectious disease, such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, watery eyes, nasal discharge, and decreased food and water intake.