Backyard Poultry Farming in Australia- How You Can Make It Work

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Backyard Poultry Farming is a practice that has been gaining pace over the last few years as a means of utilizing open spaces at home to earn an additional income. It involves rearing a small flock of 10-15 chickens in the backyard of a household either for the eggs or the meat. If you're looking to at simple outdoor home improvement ideas to earn a quick buck out of as an additional source of income, backyard poultry farming is a fantastic idea! With a tad bit of effort front up and some backyard redesigning, you’re well on the way becoming a poultry farmer! It’s just you, the chickens and all those eggs to sell! If you’re wondering where to get started, here's all you need to know on getting started with backyard poultry farming!

Do Your Homework

Before you bring home those adorable little chickens, take time out to do a due diligence on your knowledge about chickens. Right from learning the technique to catch birds securely to checking for their health and threats to health, it's important you fill yourself in on everything there is to know about poultry farming. Study the optimal diet of chickens, their mealtimes, droppings and the level of activity they need. Understand the nuances of identifying diseases at first sight, so quick remedial action can be taken. The rule of thumb is that any chickens displaying aggressive behaviour may in fact be showing signs of sickness.

The best way to learn this kind of information is by researching online, talking to friends who run poultry farms, and even having on board a poultry expert whom you can shadow for the first few weeks of your new venture. Needless to say,  you'll learn something new every single day that will make you a better poultry farmers as time goes by.

Choose The Right Breed Based On Your Farming Motive

It is important to choose the right chicken breed for a small backyard farm. You may breed chickens primarily for three reasons, and that's either the eggs, the meat or both. Based on this, you can choose the ideal breed. Additionally, if you live in a humid/ temperate climate, it's always better to choose light breed soft feather flocks such as the Australorp or the Australian Langshan.

Backyard poultry farms are primarily family run small businesses, where every family member pitches in to take care of the flock, many of whom may not be poultry experts. In such a case, it's wise to go with friendly breeds of chickens that include the Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Red, Easter Eggers and the silkies. Specially if you have children at home, these chickens won't mind interacting with them and will welcome visitors often. Go with the above breeds as they're also easy to maintain and nurture. The Rhode Island Red is also a big hit if you are looking at volume of eggs.

Choose The Right Coop

The coop is where your chickens will spend a large chunk of their time. Hence, it's necessary that you get it right. Not only should they have enough space to eat, drink water and roost but also walk about, lay eggs, flap their wings and thrive. Based on the climate of your area, ensure that the coop has enough ventilation and insulation so that you chickens breathe fresh, clean air.

While the area available to you may be a small space, you'll have to make sure that the walk-in chicken coop for backyard has a sound drainage system as well as natural sunlight & shade. Needless to say, it must have an easy walk-in path so you can enter it without hassle to clean and replace feedings/ water.

An external mesh covered area is a boon for you and your chickens. While it gives them free space to walk about and flap their wings, it ensures you are able to keep an eye on them even from afar. A wooden coop with a felt insulated roof is your best bet from a durability and safety perspective.

Focus On Food & Water

In addition to the right space and sunlight, your chickens need an optimal feed and clean water to thrive. There are different types of chicken feeds based on whether you are farming them for their eggs or for the meat. Choose the right feed to suit you end objective of poultry farming. The nature of the feed also changes based on the age of the chickens. Considering the number of chicken you have in the coop, ensure you put out enough food for all of them to be well fed and thriving.

The water your chickens drink should be the same water you drink - clean,  filtered water. Specially if it's summer, each chicken may need up to half a liter of water. Ensure there's enough and more water for them to stay hydrated and healthy. The water source and the feeder needs to be at a distance from their place of droppings to maintain good health. They also need to be away from the food and water is other animals you may have in your backyard to prevent any passage of germs or bacteria from and to your chickens.

Follow Poultry Farming Best Practices 

No matter if you run a small backyard poultry farm or a large estate, there are a few best practices that the best poultry farmers swear by. Here are some of them to ensure you begin your farming journey on the right foot:

  • Always maintain hygiene in the coop, cleaning droppings,  leftover food and water often

  • Keep away rodents, insects, other birds and pets from the chicken coop as exposure to their droppings can cause diseases

  • Vaccinate your flock regularly as prescribed

  • Wash your hands before and after you handle your birds

  • Isolate chickens that display any signs of disease immediately

  • Minimize visitors and the number of people handling your chickens

  • Don't over crowd your coop. Keep only so many chickens that can fit in your backyard coop easily and comfortably

  • Provide good quality food and drinking water to your flock always

Happy farming!