Chickens 101: Checklist For Beginners

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020

backyard chicken keeper feeding her four beautiful free range chickens

There are a few items budding chicken keepers should tick off their checklist before they introduce their feathered friends to their new home, just to ensure that they’ve covered all bases and don’t run into hurdles early.

Keeping these in mind ensures that your transition into a backyard chicken keeper is a smooth one.

✓ Research your breed

Different breeds have different attributes, and depending on your lifestyle there can be certain types of chickens better suited to your needs than others. For example, if your after eggs, maybe try Isa Browns or Rhode Island Reds. If you’re after some wonderful family pets, then maybe Silkies are the perfect breed for your flock!

You also have to look at how much space you have in your backyard. Certain breeds require space to forage and roam, some require fencing as they’re good at flying, while others are happy to poke around a smaller area. Knowing this information is crucial to ensure your chickens will have the best life in the environment you can provide them.

Check out our breed profiles for some more information on different breeds and options for your backyard!

frizzle chicken in backyard

✓ Have a spacious, safe coop

A decent coop is essential to the health and happiness of your chickens. You’d be surprised how many elements a good coop needs! Nesting boxes, cleaning trays, perches...without these essential items, your feathered flock will be flustered!

They also need a run area, where they can forage and stretch their wings whilst being safe in a predator-proof enclosure.

Our coops are specifically designed with chicken health and comfort in mind - not only does it look after your flock, but it makes your life as a chicken keeper infinitely easier in terms of cleaning and coop maintenance!

✓ Give your neighbours the heads up

If you’re in a dense residential area, it might be best to give your neighbours a heads up about your incoming flock, especially if they have pet dogs or cats.

You never know, you might just inspire them to get in on the action and raise a feathered family of their own! Regardless, they’ll probably be knocking on your door for fresh eggs soon after you get your flock, so there shouldn’t be any dramas.

mansion chicken coop with wyandotte chooks

✓ Check the council rules in your area

Council rules on keeping chickens vary according to area and state - so make sure you look up the council guidelines! For example, here are the ones in our area:

  • In residential areas with less than 800m2 of space, no more than 6 chickens are allowed.

  • Roosters are not permitted on any residential premises

  • All feed must be kept in pest-proof containers, to deter any rodents or other pesky animals!

And so on. Most small backyard flock owners won’t intentionally breach any council regulations, but it’s always good to double check - better to be safe than sorry!

Being well prepared makes sure that your feathered friends will have an easy, stress free start to their backyard life! Just ensure that your knowledge is up to scratch, so your choice of chicken suits your environment and needs. For more egg-cellent info on getting started with chooks have a peck at our Complete Beginner's Guide here or figure out what chicken breed you'd prefer to keep here.

As well as daily and weekly routines and tasks for chicken keepers, there are also seasonal challenges to consider. Come rain or shine, hot or cold, something we’ll never be able to control is the weather! This can be a worry and concern when thinking about the safety and comfort of your backyard friends.

Cluckily, you can prepare for all seasons thanks to our friends over at Chickenpedia. I recommend their brilliant Weatherproof Chickens course to all my readers! They have compiled a guide of everything you need to keep healthy chickens through the seasons (which is more than you think!) with a great set of checklists and downloads to keep. Dangerous conditions including dehydration and frostbite can be avoided with the correct information and actions. Whatever the weather, this course will help you keep your chickens happy and healthy all year round.

As chicken keepers, we want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. Many chicken keepers struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock. Chickenpedia have comprehensive online courses on everything you didn’t know you need to know and then some more! From healthcare to raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior, you’ll find beginner-friendly courses that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

As a member, you will get access to ALL their fantastic courses. No need to wing it, become the ultimate chicken eggspert! Check out Chickenpedia and their amazing courses today!

Sources and further reading