We recently shared an article about seniors staying engaged at a care home by raising and caring for chickens on the grounds. Many people reached out with what a great idea this is and how outside of the box thinking has brought new energy and meaning to the retired residents.
While we think this is a great way to keep active and engaged, raising chickens is not for the faint of heart and not as straightforward as keeping other pets or animals. If this is something that you’re interested in we have some tips and things to consider before starting.
Check City Bylaws First
Most of the cities in the lower mainland have some sort of regulations if they allow you to keep chickens at all, and you should check first with your city on what is allowed and what isn’t. Some quick reference for your city:
- North Vancouver
- Port Coquitlam
Allowed with specific rules:
- Surrey – On 1 acre or more
- Delta – On large residential lots
- Richmond – On ½ acre or more
- Burnaby – Vague on zone regulations, check with the city first
- West Vancouver
- Maple Ridge – Not in residential zones
Get the right equipment
Building a coop for your chickens will be the first step, and one of the more difficult. But don’t worry there are a bunch of great resources out there to help you build the perfect coop for your space and your chickens:
- Modern Farmer: How to build a chicken coop
- Homesteading.com: How to build a chicken coop
- Almanac.com: Raising chickens 101 – how to build a coop
Study up on how to care for them
Once you have your coop set up you’re ready to start raising chickens, but how do you do that? What do they eat, how many should you get, and what do you need to know to keep the healthy and happy? There are many resources out there, including online videos, books at the library, local farmers, and more.
One great resource is Backyard Chickens – A starters guide by DailyEggs.com which you can download as a PDF, or this Brief online guide from the University of Minnesota.
Know that you’re in it for the long haul
This is an amazing and rewarding hobby, but this isn’t quite like trying a model train kit, or taking a few dance lessons and realizing it’s not for you. Raising chickens means taking care of other living creatures and if it turns out you can’t or don’t want to any more you’ll need to find them a new home.
Some cities have community options or volunteer opportunities where you can try your hand at raising chicken before taking the plunge. A quick Google search will go a long way before you invest in a coop and chicken.
If you have any concerns or would like some help living more comfortably at home or booking an in home visit, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-982-2737 and speak with some about setting up an at home care assessment today.