According to Mother Earth News, February - June (early - late Spring) is the time to start chicks! If you've been considering starting your own chicken coop, now is the optimal time to choose from the variety of breeds out there, buy your baby chicks and keep them super warm, and get to work building (or buying) your coop so it will be ready by the time the chicks are all set to inhabit it. There are many great reasons to raise chickens in your own backyard including: a source of excellent fertilizer; the addition of some friendly, low maintenance pets to your backyard; pest control; fresh eggs; and even meat. There are a number of studies out there indicating that eggs from chickens that are provided appropriate conditions, such as ample outdoor time and space, are far more beneficial to your health than many brands of even organic eggs from your local supermarket.
Here are some links and how-to guides to help you get started. Austin is the perfect place to raise chickens considering the large number of Austinites with backyard coops - there are plenty of people in town to talk to on the subject and you might be surprised how many people in your own neighborhood have chickens and dine on supberb, local eggs fresh from their own backyard.
Austin Backyard Poultry Meetup Group
Austin's Egg Rolls Jump As More Chickens Take Up Roost in Backyard
Good article from Austin 360 about the growing number of Austinites raising chickens.
Buck Moore Feed & Supply
There are many places you can get your baby chickens in Austin. Usually, most feed and supply stores are the places to look. Here's a link to one of the places you should be able to find baby chicks, among other supplies, this year.
Callahan's General Store
Another place you should be able to find baby chicks and other supplies.
Eggstravaganza: A Four Part Series on Raising Chickens for Eggs
An article from Mother Earth News
Funky Chicken Coop Tour
For the past few years, a chicken coop tour has been taking place in Austin where you can print out a map of residences around town where people are raising chickens and tour them. Get design ideas, talk to the people actually raising chickens, and just enjoy meeting neighbors and fellow community members on April 23, 2011.
H & H Poultry
Yet another Austin area business that can help you with your chicken (and other poultry) needs.
Organic Egg Scorecard
This scorecard ranks organic egg companies. Notably, the closest producer to us with the best rating is World's Best Eggs from Coyote Creek Farm near Elgin, Texas with a 5 egg (the best possible) rating. You can purchase World's Best Eggs at Whole Foods. See this page for more info.
Meet Real Free Range Eggs
Another Mother Earth News article - this is the one where they've run some tests on eggs and discovered a health difference in (truly) free range eggs vs. your standard supermarket egg
Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
Chicken Breeds & Care: A Color Directory of the Most Popular Breeds and Their Care
Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock
Chickens in Your Backyard: A Beginner's Guide
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens