Everything you need to know about owning chickens in Indianapolis

Tired of paying for eggs? Before you go starting your own flock, here’s what you need to know about chicken ownership.

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Different breeds of chickens will produce different colors and quantities of eggs.

Photo by INDYtoday team

You may have noticed during your weekend grocery shopping trip that egg prices are up again, averaging $3 nationwide. Not exactly eggcellent news.

If you’ve been thinking about taking egg-producing matters into your own hands, the bird is the word. Here’s everything you need to know about owning chickens in Indy.

How many chickens can I have?

Zoning codes — which were last updated in 2016 — allow Indianapolis households to keep 12 chickens and one rooster. To keep noise down for your neighbors, roosters must be kept inside an enclosed structure from dusk to dawn.

Like all of us, chickens get by with a little help from their feathered friends, so be prepared to get at least a few chicks to start your flock. In fact, many providers will not sell single chicks.

What kind of chickens are best?

There are many factors that go into choosing the types of chickens that will thrive at your home. Considerations include free range vs. confined, temperature sensitivity, friendliness, noisiness, egg color, and more.

Do your research to make sure the breeds you choose will be a good fit for your needs (and that you can provide for theirs as well).

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Some hens can lay up to eight eggs a week.

Photo by INDYtoday team

Where do I get everything?

Locally-owned Agrarian Urban Homestead & Supply has everything you need to start your flock, including chicks. It even offers local delivery of chicken supplies to homes or businesses across eight counties for a flat rate of $15. You can also stop by your local Tractor Supply to pick up chicks and supplies.

Here’s a shortlist of everything you’ll need to get cluckin':

  • Coop
  • Shavings
  • Starter/grower feed
  • Chick grit
  • Probiotics + electrolytes
  • Waterer
  • Feeder
  • Thermometer
  • Brooder
  • Brooder lamp + bulb

The single most expensive supply you’ll need is your chicken coop, which can cost $300+ brand-new. If you’ve got a barn or a shed on your property, you can skip that cost, or you can keep an eye on Facebook Marketplace for used coops for sale (just make sure you clean any used materials very thoroughly to kill off disease-causing pathogens, mites, and lice that could hurt your chickens).

What should I expect once my chickens are grown?

You’re gonna be peckish for a little while longer — chicks take about six months to mature, at which point they’ll start laying eggs. Hens typically produce the most eggs in the spring and summer, anywhere between one and eight eggs a week depending on breed and health.

When the cold weather sets back in, however, you’ll probably be back to the grocery store — hens can sometimes go weeks without laying any eggs during winter.

Once you’ve got your flock settled in, upkeep can be fairly simple if you’re dedicated and observant. Here’s a full guide to chicken care throughout their life cycles.

Best of cluck with your new flock. If you have any tips we missed, let us know.

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