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How to Raise Chickens in Your Own Backyard

Everything you need to know about starting and maintaining a happy, healthy chicken coop.

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2012

Keeping chickens as pets is fun and easy, and the benefits are far-reaching. A backyard of chickens helps reduce your impact on the environment, as you cut out the need for pesticides and fertilizers in your garden. And savvy home cooks know that the most flavorful and nutritious eggs are from chickens grown in home-built coops. Learn how to raise your own chickens with these tips from Traci Torres, founder of

Getting Started

  1. Research your locale's zoning rules and regulations.
  2. Learn how to care for chickens before purchasing them. and "Free-Range Chicken Gardens" are good resources.
  3. Budget accordingly. Space-wise, chickens require minimal space, so a small backyard or even a rooftop garden would be suitable. Costwise, expect to make about a $500 investment as you'll need a predator-proof coop, special water/feed containers, wire mesh for the run, and chickens.

Popular Breeds

French Marans: Calm with feathered feet.
Spanish Penedesencas: Lay dark brown eggs.
Silkies: Half the size of normal chickens.
Brahma bantams: Docile and make great pets.

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