I would think that most people who launch out into homesteading bring on chickens first. After all, they’re relatively low maintenance and can be instantly productive.
We did not follow that path, however, because frankly we had other more important issues to deal with. Issue #1 was tick control. We raised guineas from a couple weeks old to help us eat the ticks. FYI, if you don’t already know this, guinea fowl are your #1 bird for tick control. You just have to accept the noise as part of the package.
To raise guineas, I had to build a coop. Once we had released our eight guineas onto the land to find their own food, we quickly lost one to a stray dog. We lost a second bird to a hawk. It became clear to us that all our hard work could disappear before next Spring if we didn’t protect our birds.
So we acquired two dogs. And before long, we had guineas, cats, and dogs. But no chickens. No food production. To make a long story short, we ended up with dairy goats and rabbits next. And finally reached a point where it made no sense to NOT have chickens. Our coop is large enough and it wouldn’t be any extra trouble.
My PDC instructor, Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture, was offering to sell year non-GMO fed old Red Star layers (aka Red Sex-Link), and I jumped at the opportunity. We picked up six hens and a rooster on Sunday.
Our first yield!