Tips for Happy Chicks
Bask in the sun: Sunlight is good for a chicken's health and spirit. Face your coop's windows to the south to get the best sunlight. The sun provides free heat in the winter and allows Southern breezes to cool your birds in the summer. If you live in a cold climate, a heater is a must, especially for young chicks. Make sure your coop always protects your birds from wind and rain.
Roam room: Avoid cooping up your chicken too much. Chickens thrive when they have room to roam, and a happy chicken lays tasty eggs. Make sure your birds each have at least 4 feet of room to move around.
Your nest egg: The return on investment is easy to calculate: expect about one egg per chicken per day. Hens begin laying eggs as early as 6 months old. Check your nests regularly, because hens will not lay more than two or three eggs in one nest. It's a little extra work to check daily, but you'll enjoy fresher eggs, and more of them.
In the zone: It's easy to check zoning regulations for your area. Just call the county health or zoning department. Most regulations involve how many chickens you can keep and whether you can breed them. Keep neighbors on your side by minimizing noise and smell, and by sharing a few fresh eggs from time to time
borrowed from chickencoopsource.com
When we got started I read Raising Poultry the Modern Way by Leonard S Mercia, it gave me a step by step plan. I was able to prep the area I was going to put the chickens and know the appropriate equipment I needed to get started.
We got chickens because fresh eggs are so much better tasting than store bought and they have dark golden-yellow yolks... YUM.
If you have a small yard or live where your chickens can not free range you can make or buy a chicken tractor. It is a small house with the fenced yard attached. It has wheels on one end and handles on the the other so it can be picked up and rolled to a different area each day so you don't end up with a stinky, bald spot that tends to get muddy when it rains.
Since we have enough room for ours to free range we do not have a chicken tractor but I have found a site that gives various designs to look at so you can make an informed decision.
http://thecitychicken.com/pictorialhistory.htmlHere's to a little independence from the grocery store and better eggs to boot!