This is the time of year to celebrate spring…which means seeing lots of new growth in gardens… and several species of newly hatched, or newly born, animals.
You might want to hold off on buying that cute baby chick, though.
“Raising chickens, like any other pet or livestock animal, is an investment in time and money. Those cute fluffy baby chicks will soon become large, dusty hens that require food, care, and a well-constructed coop,” says Cooperative Extension’s Ashley Wright, Area Assistant Agent, in Livestock.
“Often this time of year, we see instances of someone who decides they want to try raising chickens. They purchase a few chicks, but not knowing any better, they end up with a bunch of roosters and few or no hens,” Wright says.
In her job as area agent, Wright primarily works a lot with beef cow-calf producers, but gets dozens of questions from people across the state regarding raising backyard chickens. The questions come from people looking to keep backyard chickens, and those who already have them – she helps with both types of inquiries.
“Backyard chicken keeping is on the rise, as evidenced by several areas in Arizona that have or are seeking to reduce restrictions on keeping these birds on smaller residential lots,” Wright says.
And with more backyard chicken keeping… more eggs are available in backyards, or often for sale in farmers’ markets.
Wright offers a few common sense tips when it comes to eating eggs from backyard chickens.
“Eating eggs from backyard chickens is safe, but as with anything you eat there are some food safety guidelines that need to be followed. Collect eggs as soon as possible (especially during the summer heat), keep chicken nesting areas clean and use a disinfect-able material (such as plastic dish pans) for the nestboxes themselves. If you are buying eggs from a small hobbyist, inspect them before purchase to ensure they look clean,” Wright says.
To learn more about eggs, or chickens… click here to email Ashley Wright.