Six Rules for Mindful Chicken Keeping

In addition to being a source of fresh eggs, raising backyard chickens can connect us with the land and, as a result, our common history as humans. Get started with these thoughtful guidelines from Dalia Monterroso.

The following is a list of commonsense rules that take into account the benefits of all living things. Think of these as a foundation for all the practices we will dive into in Let’s All Keep Chickens!. While it’s best to keep these considerations in mind when you get your first chicks, it’s never too late to evolve the way you keep chickens.

Photo of author Dalia Monterroso feeding her chickens.
Photo © Rick Dahms.
  1. Listen to your heart. When in doubt, follow your intuition. Remember that humans have been keeping chickens for thousands of years and this ancient knowledge exists within you.
  2. Chickens belong outside in nature. Let your flock have contact with the natural world from chick to old age. That’s where they have existed for millennia, and it’s where they are supposed to be today.
  3. Focus on balance. Health is attained in a balanced state. Keeping your flock’s emotions, environment, and nutrition balanced is the key to avoiding issues.
  4. Choose natural options whenever possible. Synthetic medicines and pesticides have a time and place, but they shouldn’t be your first option unless they’re your only option. Natural methods and modalities are generally less disruptive to life and the environment.
Photo of black, white, and tan chickens in the grass.
Photo © Rick Dahms.
  1. Choose practices that are compassionate. Making compassionate choices for your flock extends to your fellow humans and all the creatures of the earth.
  2. Live in harmony with wildlife, big and small. The ecosystem in your chicken yard is complex and intelligent. Seek to limit disturbing it.

Excerpted and adapted from Let’s All Keep Chickens! © Dalia Monterroso.

Dalia Monterroso

About the Author

Dalia Monterroso is a chicken keeper and a popular teacher on the basics of backyard chicken keeping. She speaks and teaches classes on the joys of chicken keeping and is passionate about broadening the community of chicken keepers to be more diverse and inclusive. She is the creator of the popular website Welcome to Chickenlandia, YouTube Channel Welcome to Chickenlandia, podcast Bawk Tawk, and an online course called Chickenlandia’s Backyard Chickens 101: A Chicken Course for Everyone. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her husband and children. Find her online at 

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