The Classroom

Classroom @ The Coop

Chicken Basics for Beginners

If you are just starting out with chickens or looking to keep a flock, you must first compose your flock. There are a lot of breeds, so make sure you choose some that fit your personal situation and context.

If you have an idea of the size of your flock, you can prepare your chicken coop and run. Ensure your chickens have appropriate housing; too many chickens are kept in shady confinement conditions.

Once you get through the basics, you can go to the next guides. Make sure you understand molting behavior if you don’t want to be in for a surprise. Also, protect your flock from predators in your neighborhood.

There are over 34 billion chickens on the planet, and chickens are the most abused. Give your flock a happy home. You can learn all about the global chicken population statistics if you’re into numbers.

Chicken Health

Chickens are prone to many diseases and disorders. As a chicken keeper, it’s important to understand what can go wrong with your chickens. When they get sick, they can only rely on you. It’s to the advantage of every chicken keeper to understand what symptoms to look for.

Start out with some common chicken health problems and their corresponding solution. Or go to our ‘Health Page‘ with all related articles on chicken health, diseases, behavior issues, and symptoms.

Symptoms

Always observe your flock, so you notice unusual behavior. Familiarize yourself with common clinical symptoms and what you should do when you notice them:

Diseases

Learn about some common chicken diseases. Many diseases affect the respiratory system of a chicken, the digestive system of a chicken, and the reproductive system of a chicken. Unfortunately, some very serious diseases are out in the wild and can be contagious.

Always practice good biosecurity to protect your flock. When in doubt, contact a vet for a correct diagnosis.

Chicken Food

Make sure you understand a chicken’s basic needs. There is a difference between basic poultry feed, layer feed, scratch, grit, traits, oyster shells, etc.

Find all our food articles on our complete and comprehensive ‘Food Page‘.

About kitchen leftovers and scraps. Be aware that chickens can not eat everything. Some things are toxic and dangerous for our birds. Your safe bet is to only give them poultry food.

Chicken Coop and Run

Chickens are the most abused animals on the planet. In poultry farms worldwide, layer hens and broilers are surviving in extreme confinement with windowless sheds and artificial lightning. Make sure to give your backyard chickens a beautiful place to live in.

You have a couple of bedding options, all with pros and cons. Whatever bedding you choose, you will need to regularly clean the coop. Also, ensure your chickens have a dust bath, or they will find a place to create one themselves.

Raising Chicks

You can buy pullets on the market, but there is nothing more beautiful than watching your chicks hatch.

If you want to hatch your own chicks and start raising baby chicks, make sure to be prepared when hatching roosters.

Hatching chicks is an essential part of breeding.

Chicken Safety

Unfortunately, there are a lot of predators and pests out there that like some chicken for dinner.

Sometimes you need to protect your chickens from each other. After all, they are animals and although they look fluffy, they can be pretty hard on each other. Some roosters are pretty aggressive and hard to cope with. They can also be quite bold when grabbing a chicken for mating, causing them to have terrible blank featherless spots on their backs.

Chicken Behavior and Eggs

Chickens have a personality and a temperament. In fact, they are very intelligent and have social interactions. Make sure to understand what’s going on in your flock:

There is also a lot to learn about chicken eggs:

If you want to co-house your chickens with other animals:

Chicken Breeds

Learn the basics of chicken breeds with our chicken breeds ultimate beginner guide. Or go to our complete Breeds Page.

We’ve also addressed a list of giant chicken breeds and small chicken breeds that are beginner-friendly.

Or learn about specific breeds:

If you have Silkies, you can make some DIY diapers for your Silkies

Chicken Genetics and Selective Breeding

Whether you want to preserve the characteristics of a certain breed in your flock or you want to create birds with specific traits, selective breeding is what you need. Breeding is fun but can be quite challenging.

Once you understand the breeding principles, use any of the available different breeding strategies like linebreeding, inbreeding and crossbreeding to put things into practice.

Books

If you prefer reading, you can also get some books. Although books can get outdated and won’t always bring you the latest insights, they can offer a good overall view on some topics.

These books are considered by many experts good overall classics for beginners that start raising chickens:

If you want to get an overview of chicken health:

If you want to hatch your own eggs:

For chicken genetics and breeding, the most referenced work is

For a historical overview:

And if you are looking for fiction, you can try out:

About The Classroom

The Classroom overviews all the information you need to keep and raise chickens. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, there is always something new to learn. The Classroom is uplifted by the information of the original The Classroom @ The Coop, a forum with a lot of useful information from a lot of very knowledgeable and skilled poultry breeders.