Country chickens or city chickens? Raising chickens can usually be a wonderful part of your rural living lifestyle. If you aren't in the country be sure to check into the regulations concerning chickens in your area. Lately, many cities have changed the codes that determine whether or not chickens are allowed within city limits. Some planning departments turn a blind eye as long as you don't have noisy roosters and your neighbors don't complain. Sharing your eggs with them is a neighborly way to keep them seeing things your way. As with everything else - check it out ahead of time so that you know what you're dealing with.
Chickens are interesting, can be fun pets, and can be a source of income, but from my point of view, the most important reason to raise chickens is to have eggs that we know are healthy. Our chickens wander all over our place eating bugs, seeds and plants - as well as our kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps. They love stale whole wheat bread too! In addition, we of course provide them with the proper food and they give us the most beautiful delicious eggs. We have enough eggs left over to sell to pay for their food, so our eggs are free - unless of course you count our labor. In this case, it's a labor of love!
There are lots of great books and websites that can give you more ideas on raising chickens. Andy Schneider, The Chicken Whisperer seems to be the "go-to-guy" when it comes to everything having to do with chickens. He is the host of the "Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer" radio show and writes for Mother Earth News, Grit Magazine and Farmers' Almanac.
Chicks - at least the more common breeds - and all the equipment necessary to raise them successfully can be found at most feed stores. If you want special breeds you can order the chicks from hatcheries all over the country and have them mailed to you.
It wasn't very long ago that you had to design and build your own chicken coop. They were usually quite utilitarian and many times downright ugly. Today, not only can you find plans online to build quite stylish coops, you can buy them at local feed stores or order them online.
At TheCityChicken.com, you can see all the amazing entrants into the "Hen House of the Month" contest.