Since I’ve had my ladies for a good three weeks now, it’s time to update! They are looking so grownup these days (I guess it’s not just me!), and are more hen-like rather than pullet-like now. Since there was a lot of interest, I have a quick how-to for keeping chickens.

How to Own Chickens

Get a coop. If you’re handy and have tools, build one. If not, buy one off Craigslist (or get one from a feed store or co-op). Mine cost $150, friendly delivery included. I may replace it with something fancier at a later date, but it is fully functional and the perfect size for four chickens.

Get your chickens. Craigslist again! What can’t you find on that site? (And again, feed stores and co-ops would probably help you out here, too). My 6-week-old purebred barred rock pullets were a whopping $6 each.

Buy some food. Fifty pounds of chicken feed costs $15. This isn’t an expensive pet.

Buy a waterer. While you can stick their food in any old dish you have laying around, I found the waterer was a necessity, as they tended to make a mess of bowls of water, spill it everywhere, and run out of water while I was at work. Sticking the waterer on a feed pan ensures that it stays above tail-level. $30 set-up at most.

Fence ’em in. You can let chickens free-range–they automatically come back to the coop at night–but there are a lot of neighborhood cats/dogs around here (plus I’m not technically allowed to have chickens where I live). This pen took maybe an hour to put up. Metal fence posts, roll of chicken wire, zip ties and you’re done. $75.

Find some shade. Again, not necessary everywhere, but they are in the middle of my lawn and it gets hot here during the day. These little pines are perfect for them to hide in/find shade under/chase bugs around. $20.

So there you go! If you’re only looking at it as a business prospect, you may not make your money back in eggs, but if you’re looking for an adorable incredibly low-maintenance pet (that is infinitely entertaining to watch run around after bugs/attack bread out of your hand) thatย willย also give you a healthy egg or two, well, you can’t go wrong!