There are a lot of great reasons to start raising your own backyard chickens. You’ll save money and have fresh, organic food. You’ll be more self-sufficient and better prepared for disasters. You’ll manage pests in your yard. Oh, and you’ll probably have a lot of fun raising chickens.
To help you get started, I’ve compiled a mega list of the best backyard chicken resources on the net. These include blogs, free download guides, and free chicken coop designs. If you have any resources to add to the list, please do so in the comments!
Free Backyard Chicken PDF Guides for Download
This book has 411 pages which cover pretty much everything you need to know about backyard chickens. The chapters include:
- Choosing Chickens
- Housing Your Flock
- Caring for your Flock
- Breeding from Chicken to Egg and Back Again
- Special Management Considerations
- Top 10 Lists
Created by VeryEdibleGardens.com, this guide has some great beginner’s info on what to feed chickens, where to keep them, making a fenced run, terminology, and other requirements. It’s only 5 pages so you won’t be an expert after reading this, but it will give you the basics you need to delve further into the topic.
By Chickenreview.com, this is a great guide for people who aren’t sure which breed of chickens to choose.
By Alabama Cooperative Extension, this guide goes over poultry diets and has a great chart with the diet type based on type of chicken and age as well as info about supplements like calcium and grits, feed management, finishing feed, and more. It is a more advanced-level read and, after you read it, your chickens will be the better off for it!
Created by the University of Florida, this in-depth report isn’t exactly an easy read, but it has a lot of valuable information (mostly about nutrition) to make sure your chickens are producing the maximum amount of eggs.
Free Chicken Coop Plans
- This plan is for 4-5 birds with 2 nest boxes. Plan for 4-5 birds
- 40” x 144” including the 28” x 40” coop
- 9’ x 3’ including 4’ x 3’ coop
- From MyOutdoorPlans.com
- 72” x 45” coop, no run
- For 2-4 birds
- Doubles as a carrier
- 32 ½” x 25”
- Includes a video tutorial
- Great step by step guide on making a cheap chicken coop from found materials
- Includes advice about choosing materials
Backyard Chicken Blogs
(In no particular order)
This website has tons of info on raising backyard chickens including a learning center which is organized into categories. I also really like that it has a forum where you can get firsthand tips from other people raising chickens.
Leigh gives firsthand advice on raising chickens the natural way. She doesn’t blog very often, but her articles are really useful. Here are some of the top articles to check out:
- Should I Vaccinate My Chickens?
- From Brooder to Flock Member – Integrating Chicks Into The Flock
- Why Putting Sod in the Brooder will Help Your Chicks
This is a blog from Nutrena Animal Feeds. It is nicely written and covers some more in-depth and specific topics that you don’t see elsewhere. Some of their top articles are:
Terry Golson shares her 20+ years of experience with raising chickens. The blog is known for having live webcams which stream feeds of the chickens. Top articles include:
The Chicken Whisperer is a live podcast run by Andy Schneider. It airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm-3pm EST.
This is a big community website where bloggers from Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine talk about chickens. You’ll find new posts frequently on lots of different topics. Top articles include:
This blog covers a lot of topics including backyard chickens, home canning, and natural remedies. It is really inspirational for people who are just getting started to see how much she has been able to accomplish in terms of growing her own food. Some recent articles are:
Pam is well known and respected in the world of backyard chickens. Considering that she is a solo blogger, she does a great job of getting articles out regularly and also has videos. Some top articles are:
This is a really fun yet educational blog that covers everything about raising backyard chickens from incubators to feather loss. There are lots of great photos and new articles come out regularly. Some top articles include:
10. The Eggs & I.
Chris Thompson from Indiana is a registered nurse, mother, and chicken raiser. Her blog has proven really popular for getting insight into what it means to have your own chickens. There are also lots of great recipes here. Some articles include:
In addition to lots of useful info about backyard chickens, you'll find DIY projects, recipes, giveaways, and gardening info. Some top articles include:
- Chicken Checkup: DIY Physical Exam
- Fowl Pox Prevention & Treatment
- When & How to Trim a Chicken's Nails & Rooster's Spurs
12. Tilly’s Nest
Till has info about coops, chicken health, gardening with chickens, predators, and more. She is also the author of the book A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens. Some articles include:
13. Fresh Eggs Daily
Lisa keeps backyard chickens and ducks. She’s authored several books and is a well-known authority on the topic of raising poultry. Some top articles include:
- Why Does my Egg Look Weird? Eggshell Quality Problems in Backyard Chickens
- Easy Way to Keep your Chickens' Water from Freezing
- Coconut Oil Suet Cakes for Chickens or Wild Birds