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Raising Chickens in Your Backyard

I have been a gardener and Chicken lover for over 30 years. But when I moved back to Las Vegas over 5 years ago, I thought that dream was dead and over, until I saw a neighbor had put a chicken coop on the curb. My heart started pounding and I instantly found out if I could raise chickens in my new neighborhood. Chickens are considered pets here, but as long as they are outside and you don't have roosters, no-one has an issue with it. So off to the store I went!

I grabbed my neighbors chicken coop to start, since it was free. It was broken at the bottom, but we made it work until I figured out what my new chickens would need. We went to the local feed store, where they had a ton of white game chickens and very colorful roosters. But since the roosters are noisy, beautiful but noisy I had to pass on those and go for the white ones to start. I grabbed four chickens, a heater, some bedding and feed. I quickly realized how cramped they were in the coop, so jumped on Amazon to see what I could find to upgrade them to be more comfortable.

Since I was on a budget, I couldn't find anything super nice as most of them range between $500 and $1,000 dollar, but I soon found this one and knew this small chicken coop it would be a perfect fit for four chickens. Within a week of moving them, one of my chickens died, which was very sad for me. I think all the stress made her ill and she passed during the night. That got me to realize they needed more room to roam. Soon there after the price of eggs doubled and the new era of egg extortion was born. I knew with all my baking and cooking videos I do, that I would need to invest in a lot more chickens and a lot more room for them to nest and play.

I measured the space in my back yard, then found a large gated walk in chicken coop that would fit the smaller coop right inside of it.

Next I wanted to find baby chickens that would lay tons of eggs, but that was a huge challenge in Nevada, since all the feed stores here only carry the common white chickens. Which are super aggressive and don't lay a ton of eggs. My goal was to find baby chickens that were colorful, yet huge egg producers.


and Instantly placed an order. I even called them to make sure what I was getting would be good laying chickens and they showed me how to tell what kind of chickens they were right on each page. You can choose from hatching eggs or baby chicks. The website shows you dates they can ship, so you can choose the dates and they overnight them right to your door when they are ready.


1: Exchequer Leghorn

The Exchequer variety of Leghorn has an unusual history, having developed spontaneously from a flock of White Leghorns in Scotland. Fascinated by these birds, the owner spent time developing them, and eventually gave them the name exchequer, inspired not only by the amount of revenue the birds contributed to the estate's "Exchequer" in eggs, but also inspired by their plumage, which was checkered evenly in black and white all over. (To our knowledge, none of the birds has ever mastered checkers.)

These birds are productive layers of large white eggs--reports suggest they lay nearly as many as the White Leghorns--and have an unusual, eye-catching appearance with their spotted plumage. They are active birds not prone to broodiness. Roosters are dandies with impressive hackles and large red combs. Like all Leghorns, the hens have large combs, too--so large, they usually flop over to one side like a fancy hat set at a fashionable angle. Because of their large combs, these birds can be susceptible to frostbite, but they do very well in heat.

and the White Leghorn

Remember Foghorn Leghorn the cartoon? Yep, this bird one and the same. (Seasoned pros pronounce it like "leggern.") The White is separate from the rest because they lay large, white eggs practically every day! Other varieties aren't nearly so prolific. Whites are said to be nervous, but we've personally found that some White Leghorns are actually quite sweet and very tame! So give one a try and find out for yourself. (In winter, use petroleum jelly on their large comb to prevent frostbite.)

2: Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red chickens are a favorite chicken breed among many backyard homesteaders and farmers. And with good reason, they are excellent brown egg layers that are heat and cold hardy.

Rhode Island Reds are held in such high esteem that they're the official Rhode Island state bird. They were once hugely popular in America but declined along with the small farmer.

Today they're making a comeback due to small flock owners (like us!). They're the do-everything bird: they lay exceptionally well, they're valued for their meat, they're extremely cold hardy, and hardy in general. They're a wonderful choice if you're looking for a dual-purpose breed. And ours just happen to be stunning. Generations of careful breeding to the standard have produced a fine-looking bird!

3: Plymouth Rock

Barred Plymouth Rock