Since my husband and I began the house buying process I have been considering what I will remodel or change about the house and also looking forward to the freedom of owning a house. No landlord telling me how many or what kind of animals I may have (cities still have ordinances regulating this though).
I have always loved animals and ideally I would love to have a hobby farm... my husband not so much. However I came across the urban chicken movement and learned that in many cities you can keep up to 6 hens in the heart of the city! When looking up the subject I came across two great sites:
I love both of these websites! Anyway I was wondering what alternatives there were to chickens that would lay eggs and there are quiet a few. My favorite backyard capable egg layers are chickens, ducks, and quail!
Quail is the smallest option, able to be raised even by apartment dwellers. They are all social animals and do best with company so plan on having two at the minimum!
In addition to be the smallest option Quail lay the smallest eggs, however the eggs are more nutritious than those of a chicken!
All of these birds can lay eggs without their male counterparts, who are only needed if you plan on breeding. In general, if your only keeping a couple birds then the only bird that you would consider keep a male of is the quail since you can have two females to one male of quails where as the other birds require a higher female to male ratio.
All of these birds can also be eaten, in fact if you raise chicken then count on eating them as their lifespan far outweighs their laying years. Quail have a shorter lifespan and thus can lay pretty much until they die, but are considered a delicacy so you may chose to eat them. Duck meat I can't speak on personally...
As far as coops http://www.backyardchickens.com/ has coop designs for free. Some people go overboard and spend upwards of a thousand on a coop. I personally want to build a coop DIY, as while as dog houses for our pups =)
What are your thoughts? Are you planning or currently raising laying birds?