Hello and welcome back to the Gubba podcast! I’m Gubba, a first time homesteader following in the footsteps of my homesteading forbears. In this podcast I discuss prepping, homesteading, and everything in between. Today I’m going to be discussing chickens and why every household should have chickens, especially NOW with what seems to be the world unraveling. If you are interested in raising your own chickens, I would encourage you to check out my raising chickens downloadable to help you get started on your chicken journey.
How do you hatch chickens? What do you need to hatch chickens?
This spring I took a crack at hatching my own chicks. Hatching your own chicks isn’t a difficult process, but it does involve a few things: an incubator, fertilized eggs, and a brooder for when the chicks hatch. Honestly, hatching your own chicks is so easy and could be done in a bathroom or a laundry room. You simply load the incubator up with fertilized eggs and let the incubator do its thing. I ended up getting a fancy incubator that rotated the eggs for me, and I absolutely loved it. I let it run its course for 21 days and patiently waited for chicks to hatch. I ended up hatching seven out of 12 eggs. One chick passed away shortly after being born sadly, but this was my latest adventure on the homestead and found it to be relatively easy.
Is hatching chickens hard?
The difficult part of raising chicks would be having to build a brooder to keep them in after they hatch. The incubator has to be kept warm while the chicks grow in their true feathers and you have to keep water and food in there for them. This is the biggest hassle because they are messy and constantly get their food and water dirty, so you have to quickly elevate their water and figure out a system for their food. Once their true feathers grow in, you can transition them outside to a chicken coop.
Benefits of hatching your own chicks
I will definitely be hatching my own chickens in the future because I love that my farm-hatched chickens don’t have any weird vaccines injected into them and they are all natural. I’m hoping that I will have some chicks go broody, so I don’t have to even hatch my own eggs. Broody means that the hen will lay on her eggs to hatch them and raise them herself.
Benefits of having backyard chickens
I think everyone should have their own backyard flock even if you live in the city and have a small backyard. Chickens make you self-sufficient and I think as a society, especially with where we are heading, self-sufficiency is the way. Chickens make you self-sufficient because like a garden you are growing your own food. You are raising chickens for meat or raising them to consume their eggs or sometimes both. Because you are creating your own source of food, you are going to depend less on outside sources to supply you with food. Do you see how this lessens your load on the system and allows you to be more independent?
What do chickens eat?
Even if you have one or two chickens, I would suggest getting two because a solo chicken would get lonely, you are still going to be less dependent on the system than you are right now without chickens. One to two eggs a day will provide meals and building blocks for your baked goods that you would have otherwise needed to get from a grocery store. Say the whole system collapsed overnight and you weren’t able to get food at all from the grocery store, you would still have a reliable food source in your backyard. The best part about chickens, too, is that they forage for their own food. Their natural diet is bugs and other plants around the yard, so they can sustain themselves. If you live in a cold climate, you would need to figure out a plan for winter and caring for your chickens.
Let’s take a moment and think about the world right now. Train derailments are happening across the board here in America. We just had a disastrous one in Ohio and it poisoned the water and I imagine the surrounding soil and farmland. Things appear to be spicing up around the world with Ukraine and China, so what does that mean for the everyday person who relies on worldly systems to get by? Well, it means that the systems we know are most likely in for a change as well. Imagine being in Germany or Venezuela back in the day and waking up to your money meaning nothing and not being able to afford a loaf of bread. I’m just saying that we can’t become too comfortable in our system or else we will really be having a reality check when we wake up to a similar type of morning. Seriously, chickens could save the day in a situation like that. Recently, banks have been collapsing and just weird things have been going on with the banking system. Rumors of digital currencies are swirling about like the digital dollar and having our money become paperless. I’m telling you, weird things are floating about and now is the time to get as ready as possible.
Do chickens make compost? Do chickens till the garden?
Who would have thought that chickens could help you get ready for a potential doomsday? Seems kind of silly but chickens are incredibly valuable. Like I mentioned, they provide food. Not only do they provide food, but they provide compost by eating the food you give them whether that is chicken feed or kitchen scraps then turning all of that into manure that can be composted. Chickens also till the land and will eat bugs. If you have a serious bug problem in your yard or around your house, get some chickens. Back to chickens saving the world though, because of their compost, they can help you grow a miraculous garden which then provides food for you and your family. After your garden has had its time, allow your chickens to go in and till the ground for you. They provide free labor while working on making your delicious food. If you are interested in growing a garden, check out my garden downloadable to help you plan and cultivate your dream garden to feed your family.
How do you care for chickens?
My favorite part about chickens is how low maintenance they are. They tend to themselves for the most part and as long as you keep them with a clean coop, clean water, and fresh food, they will be happy. So far, I have had my chickens for a year and the only problem I have had is predators. Those predators are my own dogs, so that is something I am working on. Seriously, I haven’t had any serious health issues with my chickens or any major concerns. During the winter, they slowed down laying and their combs got pale but they are back into full swing of laying and healthy bright red combs.
Chicken care requires making sure they have fresh water. This was tricky in the winter because their water always froze, so I got a plastic feed tub that worked great because I could easily kick out the frozen water and fill it back up. I would recommend feeding them the highest quality feed that you can afford especially if they can’t free range around and have a natural diet. You will need to predator proof their coop and hopefully if you have dogs make sure that they don’t kill the chickens and know that the chickens are a part of the family. If your dog does kill a chicken, know that chickens can be replaced and be patient with your dog as they learn. Predator proofing is ensuring that there are no easy entrances inside their coop like cracks in the siding or roofing. My neighbors flock got wiped by a single racoon who was lifting up wiring on the roof. They went in during the night and killed most of their chickens. Once you have the predator proofing down, just managing water and feed and that’s really it. On top of feed, chickens do need to have grit for digestion which is just oyster shell or they will find small pebbles for their grit. Truly, chickens are so easy and there is no reason not to have them. The only reason I could think for not having chickens would be if you had an HOA and they didn’t allow chickens. It is so important for everyone to see the power they can have by being able to harness their own food sources instead of depending on a flawed and broken system. Chickens are a great start.
On top of being easy to care for, they provide entertainment by watching them peck about in the yard. I love watching my chickens. Not only that, they are an easy chore for children that can teach them how to care for animals and graduate them into other chores around the farm. Gathering eggs, getting water, and getting feed are all easy chores for children and will free up your time a bit.
Most importantly, I spent time discussing chickens today because they are a powerful tool to get us back to being self sufficient. Our ancestors did it but got sucked into modern day conveniences and that’s how we ended up depending on a system that makes us sick and keeps us sick for profit. That will have to be a whole other podcast episode, but chickens will grant you some of that freedom our ancestors experienced. With the way the world is trending, I think things like chickens, having a food storage, and growing a garden are the way to go. What do you think?