Meet the Real Deal Chicken: No Process, No Steroids or Cloning "How to Raise Your Own Healthy Chickens Easy"...
"Learn Why It's Better to Raise Your Own Chickens and Not Buy It from Your Local Super Market"... Forget Chicken Surprise!
by Terry Clark
Table of Content
1. A Short Over-View to Raising Chickens - Basic Coops & Daily Care
2. How to Raise Day Old Chickens
3. Best Kind of Food for Tiny Chickens
4. Building Up Chicken Nest Boxes As Part of Healthy Chicken Raising
5. Card Box vs. Chicken Brooder
6. How to Care for Hens
7. Coccidiosis – What It Is and How to Protect Your Chickens from It
8. What to Do with All Those Eggs
9. Food and Housing Needs for Bigger Chickens
10. Why 'Greens' Are Important for Chickens
11. Nutritious Diet to Raise Chickens Successfully
12. How Should I Raise Baby Chickens?
13. How to Build A Chicken Coop for Laying Hens
14. How to Handle New Chickens
15. How to Prevent Diseases In Chickens
16. Raising Chickens – What An Amateur Must Know
17. What Diseases Chickens Are Prone to?
18. How to Prevent Marek’s Disease In Chickens
19. Mistakes Commonly Made In Raising Chickens and How to Avoid Them
20. Precautions You MUST Take When Raising Chickens
21. Principal Styles of Raising Chickens - Their Benefits and Drawbacks
22. Raising Chickens in Winter in a Hassle-free Way
23. Raising Chickens - A Satisfying Experience for Any Person
24. Raising Chickens As A Business Venture
25. Raising Chickens - Feeding Dos & Don'ts
26. Raising Chickens under Different Weather Conditions
27. The Importance of Choosing the Right Breed of Chickens
28. The Significance of Probiotics for Ensuring the Health of Your Chickens
29. Reasons Behind Stress in Chickens – and how to Treat it
30. Tips and Suggestions on How to Raise Chickens
31. Top 5 Things To Be Aware of When Raising Chickens
32. 3 Top Reasons for Raising Chickens at Home
33. Vital Aspects of Chicken Coop Construction
34. What Baby Chickens Need the Most?
35. What Beginners Need to Know about Raising Chickens
36. What Breeds of Chicken Would Do Well In Extreme Cold Climates
37. What Supplements Keep Growing Chickens In Optimum Health?
38. Where to Buy Chickens?
39. Worried About Feeding your Chickens Healthily?
40. Keeping Chickens As Pets
41. Raising Chickens at Home For Meat - 3 Popular Meat Chickens For Your Small Flock
42. Raising Chickens at Home - Waiting For the First Egg
43. Things to Consider About Cheap Chicken Coops
44. Advantages of Mobile Chicken Coops
45. Tips on Proper Catching, Handling and Caring for Chickens
#1. A Short Over-View to Raising Chickens - Basic Coops & Daily Care
Raising chickens is a lot of fun, but if you lack the fundamental information about caring for them on a day-to-day basis, then it will turn into a lot of hassle for you.
Before you get your chickens, you need to prepare a coop for them to stay in. It is very important to choose the right location for this coop in your back or front yard. The first factor to consider is the wind direction or you might end up with chicken smell all over the house. If the wind is coming from the north, then the coop should be placed at the farthest point to the south.
Make sure that the coop provides an external access to the laying boxes in order to collect eggs easily. Some breeders forget about this and the daily collection of eggs is very hard for them because they need to get inside the coop. Also, make sure that you can access the feeders and the water dispensers easily, as you will need to fill them up regularly.
Constructing a chicken run would be a great idea because you will be able to let your chickens free all day long. This means that the coop will require less cleaning and that there will be plenty of fertilizer for your garden.
Make sure that you collect the eggs daily or the chickens may crack them while getting in and out of the nest. Do not attempt to do all the work yourself, but try to involve all the family members in order to decrease the amount of work you have to do. Make everyone share the fun.
Make sure that the water source is always clean and warm, especially if you live in a place where the water freezes in winter. It is highly advisable to get a heated water dispenser or place a heater under the standard water dispenser.
When you are purchasing chicks, make sure that you are getting them sorted out in terms of sex. If you have neighbors nearby, they can be annoyed by roosters crowing in the early morning. Hence, getting hens is a much better idea. On the other hand, if you do not mind the sound in the early morning and you are more interested in the meat, then roosters might be your choice. You can mix males and females according to your circumstances and your needs. Also, decide whether you want to raise the chickens primarily for eggs or for meat.
#2. How to Raise Day Old Chickens
Whether you have hatched the chicks in the incubator or have purchased them from a hatchery, this is only part of the battle. The true test will be when you can rear the little day year old chicks to full grown chickens. Just as a brooding hen would look after her little chicks, you will also look after, care; provide food, water and warmth to the little chicks as well.
Building a coop that has enough area for them and keeps them warm as well
Remember that chicks can’t be kept at home and they require their own coop. Ideally this chicken coop should be round so that there are no corners that can hurt the chickens. Even a small tub would do initially and it should be secured on all sides with a wire mesh. This prevents the chicks from being attacked by outside predators while providing them with enough fresh air and preventing them from running all over the place. The area of the chicken coop would depend on the number of chickens that you have.
The chicks have to be kept really warm. For this the heat source should be adequate enough to keep them warm and not roast them alive. A 100-watt bulb with a heat lamp should do perfectly fine for about 25 odd small chicks. Usually the temperature should be set at a comfortable 90 degree F or 32-degree C. To ensure that the temperature is constantly maintained, you would also need to have a thermometer inside the chicken coop. This temperature would be gradually decreased over the coming months.
More often than not, the chickens will themselves tell you whether the temperature is hot or cold for them. If they are really peeping loudly and are huddled in a group under the lamp, it means that they are feeling cold and the distance between lamp and chickens should be decreased. If they are trying to get away as far as possible from the lamp, then it means that they are feeling extremely hot. Move away the lamp and the chicks will feel really comfortable.
Lining the coop
Now that the coop and lamp is in place, the coop also needs to be lined up with sand and grit as well. Don’t line the coop with newspapers as the chickens have a natural tendency to scratch and they will tear up all the newspapers. The grit in the coop will help them to digest the food easily. If you aren’t sure about the amount of grit to be used for the coop, then ask the store from where you would buy the grit and the chicken starter feed.
Waterer and feeders are equally important
A waterer is also very important, as the chicks are extremely thirsty after they are born. Place the waterer in such a way that it can’t be toppled over when the chicks are running around in their coop. The temperature of the water should also be maintained at 90-degree F. this would prevent the chicks from catching a cold when drinking the water.
The feed for the day old chickens would be chicken starter or chicken crumbles, and they will come in medicated as well as un-medicated variety. The option to buy either variety would be yours. If you have bought the chicks from a hatchery, then you could try a bag of medicated and then switch over to non-medicated. If you have hatched the chickens in your own incubator, the option is completely yours. When the chicks are just a day old, use small feeders, but ensure that they aren’t made of Styrofoam. Chicks have a tendency to peck at everything and can easily digest the Styrofoam that isn’t good for them.
Teaching the little chicks to drink water
When you first introduce the chicks to their coop or pen, just watch them for sometime and let them get familiar with their surroundings. The day old chicks need to be taught to drink water. Just dip their beaks into the waterer, but ensure that their body remains dry. When they get wet, they can get chilled and die very easily.
Keep a watch on them and ensure that house pets including dogs don’t come near them. Teach the children the proper way of handling the chicks as well.
#3. Best Kind of Food for Tiny Chickens
The food for tiny chickens is vastly different form the food that is given to the adult chickens. They should be fed the right amount and type if you want them to grow well and be healthy and prevent the spread of diseases as well. Many farm owners will give the chicken their specially formulated chicken feed, but many a times, these home made chicken feed can lack the nutritional content that the commercial available chicken feed can provide. If the home made recipe is been given to the chickens, ensure that the ingredients are fresh and haven’t been treated with chemicals or pesticides as it can interfere with the breeding and the overall development of the tiny little chicks.
Use best quality chicken starter feed for the little chicks
Usually the best kind of food for the tiny chickens is known as chicken starter feed and is quite easily available in poultry shops. Remember that all vegetarian poultry mix isn’t quite natural for the little ones as well. In nature they would also have consumed little bugs as well. They need the animal protein to grow. An all-vegetarian fare can render the little chickens quite malnourished as well. An ideal situation for the chickens would be to roam free and eat as many bugs and plants and weeds that they can lay their hands on. This will give them the maximum nutrition. Of course, since this isn’t the case, it’s better to stick to the feeds that are available in the market.
For beginners the pre made commercial chicken starter feed will also take out the headache and unnecessary tension of figuring out what to give the chickens. The feeds have a healthy balance of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional elements that are necessary for the chickens to become healthy and strong and lay eggs (or become meat birds meant for producing chicken meat). Other mixes or food shouldn’t be given to the little chickens, as this will interfere with the nutritional balance of the commercial food that is being given to them.
The feedbag label will tell you about the feed for the exact stage development and will also mention the amount of nutrients per serving and the quantity that should be fed. The well-prepared diets are substantial for the little tiny chickens and additional use of vitamins isn’t required.
Table scraps may be fed occasionally
Table scraps that consist of grains such as barley, wheat or corn can be given as additional treats when training the chickens. However the use of such treats in daily food isn’t advised. It can interfere with the daily food that is been given to the chickens. You may also feed them vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, and many other fruits and vegetables. However the commercial feed is still quite practical and beneficial.
The chickens will usually feed till the time that their little tummies are full. For this top up the feeder in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. This will also make the little ones. The chickens usually help themselves to the food when they are hungry and will leave the rest when they are quite full. Remember to clean out their feeders everyday and never feed them leftover feed.
Provide clean and fresh drinking water
Water is also an essential part f their food and water feeders should be ideally kept at an elevated level. This will prevent the bird dropping from falling in the water. Change the water containers at least twice a day in ideal situations. If you can’t do that then change the containers at least once a day or when they seem really dirty and cloudy. . The clean drinking water should be provided at all times. Remember that the temperature of the water should be just right. Ideally for the first week, the temperature of the water should be kept at 90 degree F. this prevents the little chicks to be chilled out.
In case you can’t get chicken starter feed, you can do with breakfast cereal for the first few days or even mashed hard-boiled eggs. But the sooner you get them on the started feed, the better it is.
#4. Building Up Chicken Nest Boxes As Part of Healthy Chicken Raising
If you are planning to raise chickens, then it’s important to start off in the right way. First, start with their habitation. Chickens require:
4. Fresh air
5. Plenty of water
6. Food supplied all the time
7. Cleanliness to keep off diseases.
The pen or coop that you will be building must meet all of these requirements. You cannot afford to miss on one. All of the above points are equally important. To ensure that your chickens get all of the above, you will either need a sturdy cardboard box or a wooden box. Always go for a wire netted enclosure. This will give you all the conveniences that you are looking for.
Water supply and good sanitary facilities are of utmost importance for healthy chicken breeding. You must have access to a good source of water. Buy a water jet with adequate piping to wash the brooder or box where the chickens are kept. Water is the best medium when it comes to cleanliness. It also helps in removing dirt and sticky droppings. A number of diseases can be prevented if you can devote some time to cleaning the chicken brooder. You do not need soap and detergents for this, plain water is sufficient.
Always use good surgical gloves when you are cleaning the area around the boxes or nests. In this way, you will not be contaminated with any infection. If you find any of the chickens’ bottoms pasty with the droppings, apply wet cloth and lightly wipe them clean. The cleaner your birds are, the more likely they are to stay away from diseases and infections.
Do not apply anything around the box. The more open the box is, the better the ventilation is. Chickens need lots of fresh air to breathe and live.
Keep the feeding tray clean and allow access to feed all the time.
Meat chicken breeds also give a robust flock of birds ready for consumption. Most of these birds are extremely fleshy and have small bones. They sell well too and are highly valued. Younger birds tend to have a larger price than older birds. If you are having a meat business in mind, then go for these rapidly growing breeds.
#4. Card Box vs. Chicken Brooder
The card box can be a relatively inexpensive proposition to build for the newly hatched little chicks, but is only suitable for small numbers such as about five chicks. Commercially there are several chicken brooders that are available. The essential purpose of the chick brooder is to keep the chickens warm and protected. It’s essential to have the brooder till the time that the chickens can be left outside in the chicken coop.
Another point to consider is that the brooder has to be cleaned everyday and that food and water should be readily available to the chicks at all points of time as well. Even if you are using a commercial chicken brooder, it needs to be disinfected and cleaned before the chicks can be placed inside. Furthermore the brooder or the card box should at least be 12 inches or more in height. If it’s any shorter, the chicks can easily climb out of the brooder. Further you should really put a cover on op of the cardboard box to prevent them from getting out as well.
Size is another major factor, when you are choosing the brooder. Get a brooder that can accommodate the number of chickens you intend to get. Remember that chicks grow quickly, so get a brooder that can be used till they are ready to go out to the coop. The ideal space requirement per larger chick is 2 sq ft., this ensures that the chicks have room enough to grow and space out. However, day olds will not need so much room. If you cover the box, the chicks will need ventilation so make holes in the top and sides. Ensure that the box is not kept in a draft as this can harm the little chicks.
Chicks don’t require precise temperature control, however some rare and exotic species of birds may require specific temperature controls. For this reason, commercial brooders are better than the cardboard box. For new born chicks and chicks that are less than a week old, the temperature must be maintained at 90 degree F. This can be decreased as the weeks go by.
Whether it is a commercial brooder or a card box, it would need to be completely dry before it can be lined properly. Remember that it also needs to be changed daily as the chicken poop and other droppings need to be cleared. This will prevent the spread of the diseases and also maintain hygiene in the brooder. The lining can be done with paper towels (if there are few chicks), hardware cloth, burlap, newspaper or newsprint (it’s better to have shredded newspaper than whole newspapers as the newspaper is less absorbent), decomposed non toxic saw dust and wood shavings, peat moss, clean sand etc. the lining should be at least 2 inches thick. This helps the chicks to get a better foothold and also makes the surface non slippery.
A heat lamp is must for keeping the chicks warm. It is better to have a red light than the white light as the red light can’t hurt the chicks. You can also opt for a 250-watt infrared light that can keep them warm. Ensure that a healthy distance between the chicks and the lamp is maintained. This ensures that the chicks are kept warm without been roasted or chilled.
If you find that the chicks are huddled together under the lamp, then you need to move the clamp closer. While the lamp needs to be moved away from the chicks, if you see that the chicks are moving towards the edge of the brooder. Pick up the lamps and reflectors at any of the hardware shops. The commercial chicken brooder come with a variety of temperature controls and thermostat and this removes the headache of checking the chickens often to ensure that they are warm enough.
The feeder and the water tray in the commercial brooder are clamped to the outside of the mesh so that the chicks cannot topple the containers or get wet. For the card box, you will have to set a heavy based feeder and waterer, so that the chicks don’t fall over them and get all wet. If the chicks become wet, they can easily die.
Choose your option and just follow these simple rules to ensure that your chicks survive well.
#6. How to Care for Hens
People would think that raising chicken is very easy but, the truth is totally different from that because in order to breed some chicken in your backyard, there are some information that you need to know and there are some steps that you need to do in order to be able to breed them and get a good amount of meat and eggs from them.
Before you start, you should learn to care for your hens. The process starts with determining the needed amount of space inside the coop. this is possible when you know what the strains that you will breed are and how many chicken you will get. Always make sure that the chicken coop has an extra space for future expansions or you will need to dismantle it and reconstruct it once more in a new place or in a new direction.
After deciding which strains you will get and what the amount is, you can start building your chicken coop and put your hens in it. Before you enter the hens, you need to make sure that the floor of the coop is covered with soft bedding made of wood shavings or straw. These two materials can help keep the chickens warm and also protect the eggs from falling on the ground.
After putting the bedding, the coop will be ready to receive your chickens and you should allow them an hour or two inside the coop then check the whole coop. it is very important to see that every part of the coop is connected tightly to the other parts and there is no loose parts or holes that predators can go inside from.
It is very important to dig a little in the ground before installing the fence as this is the only way to protect your hens from the predators that can dig through the ground. Try to choose the materials that you can afford but, do not go for the cheap stuff because they will wear very quickly and you will need to replace them soon. That means that you will end up paying the double of the cheapest price.
There are three important factors that you need to keep in your consideration when you are starting your hobby or project of hen breasting. First is the light, lighting the coop in the morning is not necessary but, at night, you may need to keep the light on as they need to eat and they won’t eat with the lights off.
If you are breeding hens for egg production then you may need to invest in some nesting boxes or your hens will start laying their eggs on the ground and most of it will be cracked before you collect it. You can use the wood shavings instead of the straw because they last longer and will provide more warmth to the hens in cold weather.
Make sure that you are supplying your chicken with enough amount wood shaving as bedding inside the nesting houses and on the ground of the coop. also you should change this bedding periodically in order to make sure that the hens are enjoying dry and healthy bedding free of fowl all the time.
The third factor is the water and it is a very important issue for hens because they get thirsty all the time. You should provide a source of clean water in the coop in appropriate amount for all the chicken you are breeding. Make sure that this water is always clean and available for the chicks to drink from.
Feeding your chicken is one of the things that you need to do on daily basis and you should also choose the right type of feed for your chickens in order to yield the meat and eggs you need. Some people would take the easy way and feed their chickens with the dry food but, others would prefer to take the right turn and feed their chickens with green feed that yields better meat and better eggs.
Greed feed contains large amounts of water so, the hens won’t feel thirsty all the time and it also contains huge amount of nutrients that will keep your hens healthy all the time.
You need to know all the essential information about your hens and how to care for them before you proceed with getting them into your back yard.
#7. Coccidiosis – What It Is and How to Protect Your Chickens from It
Coccidiosis is one of the most dangerous parasitic diseases. Hence, you should do what it takes to protect your chickens from this protozoan disease. This disease afflicts not only chickens. Other birds like ducks, geese, and turkeys are prone to it as well.
The protozoan parasites appear naturally in most types of soil. There are only certain types which are responsible for causing harm to chickens. One of the harmful parasites belonging to the Eimeria genus is Necatrix.
The cocci outbreaks generally affect the youngsters. The adult chickens develop some sort of resistance to this disease, particularly to the strains they have previously been exposed to. When any new strain comes from another poultry farm and the conditions are favorable for the proliferation of the protozoa, the adults will succumb to this disease as well. This is the reason why ‘bio-security’ is so important for ensuring healthy chickens.
The initial indicators of this fatal disease are ruffled feathers in previously healthy chickens. Then diarrhea occurs along with blood or clear fluids oozing from the chicken’s mouth. Once any of these symptoms has already occurred, the bird dies within 96 hours.
Chickens’ eating habits are responsible for the quick spreading of the cocci infection. Chickens tend to poke and dribble manure and litter where protozoa might be naturally present. The cocci oocysts are present in the droppings of the already infected chickens. The manure is found easily in the soil. Then a healthy bird comes and ingests these oocysts.
Sporozoites get released after the crushing of the oocysts in the chicken’s gizzard. Slowly these sporozoites start replicating and destroying the various parts of the chicken’s digestive tract. If the bird has been infected with a very small amount of oocysts, there is a possibility for it to combat the infection and build up its immune strength.
In order to protect your chicken from this Cocci menace, it is important to keep the floor of the coop clean at all times. Although rampant cocci outbreaks can be reduced by this method, it is certainly not full-proof. A more effective way is to provide medicated feed to the chicks till they become adult chickens. Amprolium and Bacitracin are two important elements of these medicated feeds given to young chicks. A Cocci vaccine is also available on the market. Before you decide to adopt any of the prevention methods involving medication, you should consult a veterinarian.
#8. What to Do with All Those Eggs
One of the major mistakes that occur to amateur hen breeders is the high yield of the eggs. Once a breeder build his first chicken coop and it starts to produce eggs, he or she will realize that this small number of hens is producing a huge amount of eggs that exceeds his personal and family needs. At that point, the excess amount of eggs constitutes a problem because the breeder does not want to throw them away and in the mean time he does not know what to do with them.
The best solution for such situation is to sell these eggs through what is known Farm Gate Selling. Farm Gate Selling is a legal way to get rid of the excess amount of farm products that you do not need and it does not incur any taxes from any kind. In this way, you will be able to get back a portion of what you are paying to keep these hens but, there are some points that you should keep in your consideration when you Perform Farm Gate Selling.
The first step is to advertise and promote your eggs to people. Do not expect people knocking at your door asking if there are any eggs to buy without knowing that you are willing to sell. The best thing to do is to hang a visible sign announcing that you are selling eggs. It is also very important to amend this sign with two other signs. The first sign is a fixed one showing the people how they can contact you if they want to buy eggs.
For example, you can ask your customers to ring the bell or knock the door to get the eggs. This sign will encourage those who want to buy eggs to contact you. In many cases, buyers may steer away because they do not know how to contact you. The third sign is a detachable one; this sign should indicate either if you already have eggs to sell or if the whole stock had ran out. This sign particularly plays a very important role because if it reads that there is egg stock then it will entice people to come inside and buy and if it reads stock sold out then buyers will understand that your eggs run out quickly and they are always fresh so, they will flock for it every day.
After you advertise your products and your eggs, you need to make sure that you legalize everything in order to start selling these eggs and make some profit. When you start your own farm selling point, you need to make couple of things in order to encourage people to buy the eggs you are selling.
The first point is to write down the production date of the eggs you are selling. Usually, the egg can withstand three weeks in storage before it becomes unsafe to eat. When you add such sign, you spare yourself lot of problems and money spent. The presence of the production date on a stand beside the products solves lots of problems and spares you a lot of hassle so, it is mandatory to put the production date and the “best before” date. That will help people determine how many eggs do they need and will assure that you are selling fresh eggs.
After that you should ask your regular customers to place their buying orders upfront so, you can prepare them the eggs they want. This is a very effective way to promote your eggs and any other farm products too.
When you display your eggs, make sure that you are displaying moderate sized eggs, not so small or so big, so they are accepted by all buyers. When someone needs smaller or larger egg he or she should give you a note upfront and that will help you pick the required size and amount of eggs.
Also it is very important to choose the clean eggs. Buyers may accept a little spot on the shell but, you should do your best to choose the clean eggs to display for your customers and save the others for your household usage.
Selling eggs that exceeds your needs can cut down the costs immensely.
#9. Food and Housing Needs for Bigger Chickens
Chickens are biologically designed to live for 30 years and those hens that lay eggs can lay eggs for almost 18 years of their lives. However this isn’t normally the case since the chickens succumb to diseases, predation and many other stress factors. If you want to have a healthy brood of chickens and hens, it’s essential that you take care of their food and housing needs.
Clean safe drinking water
Water is extremely essential for chickens as well. Clean drinking water is absolutely a must and especially for hens that are also laying eggs. Normally roosters don’t require abundant drinking water. They will also require the water to essentially have fun and roost around in the water container. Usually the water should be changed at least twice a day in hot weather. In cold water it can be changed once a day. If you find that the water has become extremely dirty with bird droppings and faeces, then change the water. To prevent the water from getting contaminated, the water container can be set at an elevated level. This will discourage the chickens from getting inside the water.
Many probiotic supplements that contain vitamins and minerals can also be added to the drinking water to fortify the drinking water as well. This is quite an inexpensive measure and works well for their general health and upkeep.
The right chicken feed is extremely important. Since the chickens can be segregated into broad varieties of egg laying chickens and chickens that have been bred for their meat, their feed should also be different. You can easily get the chicken feed at any of the poultry shops. Remember that all kinds of chicken feed are available for all the stages of the chicken life. For bigger chickens, you may want to control the consumption.
Chicken feed and vaccination
You may also create your own custom blend for the bigger chickens. Never feed them table scraps and don’t add oil in their feed. Never feed them chocolate, as it can be fatal for them. If you want to give them a treat, give them white bread for training purposes only. You may also use a medicated feed that contains Amprolium as it makes the chicken immune to cocci over a period of time. You can also use unmediated chicken feed if you want to.
Vaccination is very important and this should have been already done, when the chickens were a day old. One of the deadliest diseases that can kill the flock is known as ‘Marek’s diseases and vaccination against the diseases can prevent them from dying. The vaccination also has a booster dose that should also be given to the bigger chickens and the adults and since this is an airborne diseases the flock can get this diseases, if even one of the chickens is suffering from it or another farm down the down has become prone to the diseases.
Now that you have got the food, water and vaccination part covered, another important aspect is the shelter or the housing that needs to be provided for the bigger chickens. If course the chickens need to be in a coop and this need to be fortified to ensure that the predators such as racoons and cats don’t eat away the flock.
Building your own chicken coop is relatively inexpensive and you don’t really need a loan for doing it. Simply build a box shaped chicken coop with a strong wire mesh all around to prevent the predator’s form getting inside. Also your bigger chickens need ample space else it would lead to stress in the chickens as well as cannibalism and low egg rates. Usually they would require at least 2-3 sq feet of space per chicken. Bigger breeds may require more space. Just multiply this space with the number of chickens that you have, now you know the exact amount of space that is required by you.
Provide for adequate ventilation, as the chickens don’t like stuffy coops. But avoid keeping them in the draft as it can kill them. Insulation in the winters is extremely important else the flock will die. In summers give them enough ventilation. Ensure that they are suitably locked up in the night, if you let them loose during the day on the farm.
#10. Why 'Greens' Are Important for Chickens
Raising chicken is a very interesting hobby. Some people raise chickens just for fun and to make use of their eggs and meat from time to time while others will do this on a wider scale and turn it into a very profitable business.
One of the very important remarks on this type of hens and their egg is that their tastes change from one coop to another or from one breeder to another. The main difference between these hens is the feed that they eat. The type of the feed affects the taste of both the meat and the eggs of the hens and this is the primary cause of the difference in taste from one breeder to another.
The hen feed is one of two ingredients, dry feed and green feed. Green feed is very important because it is the thing that will improve the taste of the meat and eggs of the chickens. One of the major mistakes in breeding chickens is that breeders think that all types of green feed are the same but; the truth is the whole contrary of this.
There are several types of green fodder that you can feed your chicken with. The different types of green feed can affect the health of the chicken and can also add a distinctive odor or taste to the egg.
For example, the green fodder contains high amount of water but, only some of them has high amount of nutrients. Wheat grass is one of the very interesting green feed that hens would like to eat. The plant is full of huge amounts of nutrients as well as water and chickens love them much so they will eat it all the time and that will result into better production rate and better taste for both the meat and the eggs.
In addition to the wheat grass, chickens can eat any weed clipping that you can get from your garden. It is very important to make sure that they are eating safe plants and safe food. Some people think that because they are animals they could eat anything without getting sick. Some plants have highly adverse effect on the chickens so; make sure that you are offering them the right food.
There are two methods to feed your chickens with green food, you either get them out of the coop and let them free – range in your garden or you can cut the grass and the green weeds and put it in their coop.
If you will go for the first method then you need to make sure that the perimeter is safe and there are no predators can harm them while eating around. Also you need to monitor the weather and if it is going to be windy or rainy then you need to get them inside as soon as possible. If you are leaving for work then do not leave your chicken outside unless you are sure that they are safe or predators will make a feast with these easy to get targets.
If you will go for the second method then you need to make sure that you supply your chickens with enough amounts of green food while they are inside the coop or the free run around it. In the mean time you can easily keep them protected from predators with the fence of the coop. Also you need to make sure that the available space in the free run is capable of containing the amount of chicken you have.
Feeding your chicken with green food can save you a lot of money than feeding them dry ration. Green food can be a free source of food for your chickens if you decided to grow some useful greens in your garden or your backyard. If you are able to plant different sections of your backyard with green stuff on different times then you won’t run out of food again.
All the recent researches had proven that green feed will enhance the amounts of Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and omega three in the eggs and will also eliminate a big chunk of cholesterol of the egg content.
#11. Nutritious Diet to Raise Chickens Successfully
One of the most important components of raising chickens is a proper diet. Food changes at every stage of the birds’ life. At chick stage, when the babies are 1-6 days old, the starter feed is different. This comprises mainly of mashed and powdered feed. Grains and cereals broken up and mixed with a variety of vitamins and proteins make the starter feed.
The starter feed is to be provided until the chicks are big enough to peck their own food from the food tray. Chickens should be allowed twenty-four hour access to their food. Chickens need to ingest grit while eating their food. This makes it easier for them to digest it. If their food is provided in trays with small holes in the top cover they will not be able to tip it over or poop in it.
Another important thing in chicken diet is vitamin supply. Vitamins and vitamin supplements, which help in the rapid growth of the chickens, are necessary. How much to provide, and when to provide the supplements are important issues that determine the growth of the bird. If chickens are fed on commercially prepared food, all their vitamins and proteins will be already mixed in it.
One word of caution: chickens are known to peck at other bird droppings. Keep the area in and around the pens clean so that the chickens can never peck at those droppings. Many fatal diseases are known to have spread because of this. In fact, entire populations of chickens have disappeared due to this habit of the birds.
#12. How Should I Raise Baby Chickens?
Raising baby chicks from day one is a very good idea because this will help them get used to the place and to you too. When they are used to you handling them they will not scurry off in a fright when you have to go into the coop for any reason. This will make it easier for you to collect eggs, put in feed water and pet them.
First of all, you will need to make sure that you have prepared the coop to receive your chicks. You should decide on the size of the coop and on the amount of space it will provide. A mature chicken needs 9 square inches, so if you have a 90 square inch coop, then you can farm 10 chickens. In the beginning, the chicks will only need half of this space, so you need to put a barrier in the middle of the coop and confine the chicks to half the available space only.
You also need to cover the coop and protect it from the wind drafts until the fourth week. This is very important because chicks can get sick very quickly. Provide a good source of heating for your chicks, especially if you live in an area with cold weather. A heating lamp will be a perfect choice. Make sure you hang it high enough to provide heat without burning the chicks.
After putting your baby chicks inside the coop, make sure they have good amount of feed and water to eat and drink. Sprinkle some feed around the feeder on day one so that the chicks can understand that there is feed inside. Visit your pet store and ask for the vitamins that you should add to the water. This is very important point because these nutrients protect your chicks from many health problems.
Always watch your flock of baby chicks for sick and abnormally acting ones. When you detect an ill chick, you must quickly isolate it from the flock and put it in a confined place on its own.
After your baby chicks grow older, remove the barrier from the coop and give them the full space to use. Also decrease the temperature every week until it is only slightly hotter than outside.
Get your one month old chicks out of the coop to run and feed outside. Free ranging is very important for the health of the chicken and it will reduce the amount of cleaning necessary for the coop.
#13. How to Build A Chicken Coop for Laying Hens
There are several factors that you should take into your consideration when you start building your chicken coop. these factors will help you grow healthier hens with better production rate and in easier way.
Choosing the right layout for your chicken coop
When you surf the internet, you will find hundreds and may be thousands of chicken coop layouts that you can choose from. In many cases, people just choose the first layout that they can find but, you need to spend some time checking the different available layouts in order to come out with the best one.
First of all, you need to choose a layout that is appropriate to the number of hens you have or you expect to rise in the near future. It is very important to choose a layout that you can build easily, try to stay away from those chicken coops that need highly skilled personnel to carry out because it will consume more time and effort.
Always make sure that you are choosing a layout that is appropriate for your residence. Some people think that they can fit a large chicken coop in a small yard but, they forget that they need a space for the hens to play and the small yard could be very crowded with these hens.
After you settle down to a specific design, you need to collect all the parts before assembling them together to see if they fit together or not. This is a very important step because some times, people miss – measure and this leads into problems in assembling. When you double check your measures, you will be able to proceed with the assembly with no problems.
Assembling and precautions
Assembling your chicken coop is not rocket sciencebut, it is a simple process that contains hundreds and hundreds of details. All you need to know are these details and the assembly steps and at that point, you are good to go. Make sure that you have all the needed tools around you as this will help you concentrate in your work more and finish in a quicker pace.
When you build your chicken coop, you should make sure that you are securing your chicken against outside hazards like predators and weather conditions. When it comes down to predators, chicken faces a long list of them but, protecting them is very easy. First of all, try to use a more rugged construction where there is no lose ends and separation between different parts of the coop where predators can disseminate inside. Small chicken predators like weasels can flea inside through very small spaces do, you need to make sure that your coop is tight enough to defend your chicken against such predators.
Raccoons have a different route to attack your chicken and this is through the ground digging. You can insert wire mesh deep in the ground just to make sure that your chicken coop is fort – strong. Making sure that your chicken coop is safe for your chicken will provide you with healthier chicken and bigger meat and egg production.
Feed, water and light supplementation
These three factors are the main determinant for a good production of chicken meat and eggs. The hen needs light in order to start eating and needs constant amount of feed in a clear place in order to eat constantly and needs a good amount of water in order to keep eating. Providing such three factors in adequate amounts will help the hen to reach the maximum production at its soonest.
Feeders should be located in a clear place but they should be fixed so, the chicken cannot flip it easily and spoil all the feed. The same goes for the water but, the water needs to be prominent and in confined containers so, the hens cannot stand inside the water and contaminate it.
Light should be supplied in adequate amount for the hens and this depends mainly on the reason of raising these hens. For example, if you are raising chicken for meat purpose then you will light up the coop as long as possible and this is usually 23 hours per day in certain ages so, you need to equip the chicken coop with sturdy light that can resist the harsh circumstances inside the coop.
Before you start building the coop, make sure that you know exactly what you are going to do.
#14. How to Handle New Chickens
The new chicks are extremely delicate and fragile and you will have to ensure that you handle them as little as possible, this rule applies to all family members. Children should also be taught to handle the chicks extremely carefully. Ensure that the breed you have chosen will be comfortable with the climate of the area that you live in. also check with the city council, if you are allowed to keep chickens in the backyard. Some cities will only allow hens, as they are less noisy than the roosters that crow all over and can even get into fights.
Once you have the go ahead on all issues, get the chicken from a reputable hatchery or you can order them from an online hatchery too. Usually the hatcheries ship the spring batches since the winter months can be extremely cold for the new chicks to travel. Most of the online hatcheries will only accept orders for 25-50 chickens. But some of the hatcheries may ship as few as 3 chicks. Do a proper research on the breed and the food requirements before you get the little chicks.
Handling them in the first few days
When the chicks arrive, they are extremely stressed and handle them as little as possible for the first 2 days. Since they are extremely thirsty when they arrive, it’s important that the waterer is placed suitably inside their coop and the water temperature is also maintained. You may have to dip their beaks and teach them to drink water. Ensure that you don’t drench their feathers since they can get chilled very easily. Also elevating the waterer on a slab will prevent the chicks from getting wet and soiling the coop too.
After the initial days are over, you can handle the chicks and socialize with them. Allow them to hop over your hand and introduce all the family members to the new chickens. Talk to them and caress their feathers. In this way, they will get used to you.
Keeping the chicks warm and safe
The new chicks need to be indoors for the first few weeks before they are placed outside. They need a warming box or you can build them a coop that will be big enough for them when they are grown up. Remember that the coop should have ample space for them to move around and also protect them from the outside predators. When the chicks are really small, don’t allow house pets such as dogs to be near them as they can sometimes get too boisterous and harm the chickens unknowingly.
The coop must be lined with paper towels, wood shavings or even dry leaves. Don’t line the coop with Styrofoam as the little chicks have a habit of scratching and pecking and can even digest the Styrofoam that is harmful for them. The heat lamp should be purchased with a red lamp, as it is less stressful than a white lamp. In the first week the temperature should be 90 degree F, the second week, it should be 80 degree F and the third week 70-75 degree F. this will give the little chicks a chance to self regulate the temperature. Place a thermometer, so you can be sure that the chicks are getting adequate warmth as well. Don’t place the coop in the area, where there is a direct draft, as this will harm the chickens.
All of the supplies can be easily purchased from a pet shop or shops that specialize in poultry supplies. The food should be started feed and according to the breed of the chicken. The shop can also assist you with the feeding quantity depending on the number of chickens that you purchase.
Taking them out
The chicks should be kept extremely safe. If you have less number of chickens, you can even take them for a short walk or a small vacation. However this should be done, when the climate is nice and warm. If they are feeling very hot under the sun, then place them in the shade. At all times, carry their water and feed. After a few weeks, the chickens will gradually grow their feathers. They should be placed inside the coop as they can cause distress to property and allergies to other animals and humans too.
Within the first two months, the chicks would be properly settled and can give you company for many years.
#15. How to Prevent Diseases In Chickens
There are various ways in which prevention of diseases can be done in chickens.
Vaccinations provide active immunity
First and foremost, the day old chickens should be vaccinated against a number of common poultry diseases such as Marek’s diseases. This produces antibodies in their system and can help the chickens to fight the diseases when they become exposed to the diseases.
Getting passive immunity
Passive immunity can be passed on from the hen to the egg. If the hen had a higher level of antibodies they can be easily passed to the egg yolk and the fluids in the egg. This helps the chick to become resistant towards many diseases for a few weeks. It’s the duty of the poultry manger to know the maternal antibody levels so that they can also schedule the vaccinations at the appropriate time for the little chickens. If the little chickens have high levels of antibodies following their birth, then giving them a vaccination may in fact result in a reduced state of response.
Bio scurrility program implementation
Many of the poultry vets also talk about the bio security that can effectively reduce the exposure to the diseases in chicken. This can be done when the poultry farm owners and workers can understand the mechanism in which the diseases can be transferred and combine the knowledge that they have with a program that will prevent the spread of the diseases. These are known as diseases prevention programs. The program can’t stop the diseases, however it can reduce the probability of the spread. The effects of the correct implementation of the program is usually felt over a series of flocks and isn’t visible in the true sense in the first flock when the program is initiated.
There is lack of support for these programs as many farm managers see this as an expensive program that is time consuming and doesn’t yield the results instantly. As with other products such as vaccinations and medications.
Disinfections of the coop and other materials that come in contact with the chicken
Prevention of the diseases by disinfecting the tires and the shoes before entering the coop is very important. Now commercial poultry farms will go to the extent of spraying disinfectant on the trucks, tires and protective clothing that is worn by humans. This prevents the spread of diseases from one farm to another. Those that have smaller chickens can also resort to disinfections of the visitor shoes and protective clothing.
Oxine is a product that can be used effectively. However remember that oxine has a bleaching effect on the clothes and the feather, so use it cautiously. Fogging with oxine should be done at least once a week, as it can kill all the airborne virus and bacteria. Ensure that you fog well in the areas that have become damp as well.
If you find that there are small rodents, then set for mousetraps immediately, otherwise you can have a real predator problem on your hand. The mouse or rodents presence can be seen through their droppings in the water and the food bowl and they look a lot like pepper pellets.
Ensure that the food and the water bowls are cleared out everyday
Clearing out the water bowls and the food bowls on a regular basis will control the spread of parasitic organisms that spread through the bird droppings and faeces in the water. Bacteria can grow quite easily in the bowls that aren’t cleaned out. This spread of bacteria and protozoa can be extremely harmful for the chickens. The water bowls and the food bowls that are used for them should never be used for other avian population or other animals on the farm. This can be quite disastrous for both the populations.
Keep the young and old population separately
The younger chickens don’t have full-blown immunity and they can get extremely sick when exposed to the older chickens. Older chickens can easily pass on the infections that can kill the younger lot. If this happens, it can have a devastating effect on the avian population in your farm. Ensure that wild chickens or fowl don’t enter the coop as they can get a number of diseases that can kill the chickens immediately.
#16. Raising Chickens – What An Amateur Must Know
Before getting acquainted with the basics involved in raising chicken, a person must know the reasons for which chickens are bred. Some people take up this activity as a which would give them an emotionally satisfying experience. Others might want to have a serious business and raise chickens in poultry farms for fresh eggs, poultry meat and chicken fertilizers.
The reason for which the chickens are being raised will determine, to a certain extent, the materials initially needed for this activity. But, certain common criteria must always be met, irrespective of the purpose for which the birds are being raised.
The first thing that a chicken needs is proper food and water. Giving feed and dietary supplements will help you keep the chickens healthy and devoid of any diseases. Chickens have a tendency to poke at various dirty places like litter and slush. These are breeding grounds of dangerous protozoa which can lead to contagious diseases. Hence, there should be a proper drainage system in place.
The choice of the location for the chicken coop is vital for drainage. Generally, the place should be as hygienic as possible. The purpose of a chicken house is to safeguard the birds from predators and weather.
The breed of chickens chosen will depend on the purpose for which they are being raised. Dual purpose breeds, like Rhode Island Red or egg laying ones like White Leghorn, will be ideal for getting a constant high supply of fresh eggs. For meat, swift growing breeds like Cornish Cross will be suitable, as these can transform feed to body weight effectively.
People who are raising chickens only as a pastime and for getting entertained can opt for any variety. It is good to purchase chicks from reputed commercial hatcheries and not from the local stores. When a person becomes more experienced, he can opt for fertilized eggs and incubate them at home.
Brooders need to be present to keep the new-born chicks warm and cozy. The brooder should be kept in a place devoid of drafts and guarded prom predators. When chicks are brought from distant places they might be fatigued and slightly stressed. Purchasing vitamin mixes can help in these scenarios to boost their immunity. An optimum temperature needs to be maintained under all climatic conditions for proper growth of the chicks.
Chickens, when they grow more mature, should be allowed to roam in the open where there is adequate sunshine, fresh air, plants, shrubs, etc. For that purpose a chicken run will be necessary.
#17. What Diseases Chickens Are Prone to?
There are several diseases that the chickens are prone to. Listed below is a short description of each of disease
Mite infestation in the flock
The mite infestation can be severe and can otherwise kill a healthy chicken in 3 days flat. Look at the bottom of the chicken, where the egg comes out. If this area is dark in color and seems to be moving, then you probably have a case of mite infection. There are several kinds of mites that can be found. Some of the most common ones are Red Mite and Northern Fowl mite.
The chicken can also show physical signs that they have a mite problem. Just check for the comb or the wattles and you can see if there is a mite infection. Also if the chicken has turned pale in color or is sulking in a corner, they probably have been infested with mites. Also look in the vent area for the infection. Other places are the ears, in the thighs and in the neck area also.
Coccidiosis or cocci as it is commonly known can wipe out the entire flock. This is a deadly disease and need only 96 hours to devastate the flock from start to finish. If the chickens are smaller, then the time can even become shorter. This is a protozoa parasitic disease and should be at the top of everyone’s list for prevention.
Physical signs of the disease show that the feathers of the chicken look as if they have been ruffled; they are sulking in a corner. After this stage, they will be oozing diahorrea and taking out clear fluid from their mouth in a stream. This parasite can be found naturally in soil. They can be bought to the farm quite easily through soil carried in shoes and boots.
This disease is spread through the air and your flock can easily get the diseases if a bird farm down the road has become infected with the diseases. There is really nothing much that you can do about this. This is a common virus that can devastate the rest of the avian population that you have in the farm as well. Mareks is a member of the herpes virus and will enter the body through the bird’s respiratory tract. The virus is microscopic and is carried through the dander of the chicken’s feather. The disease can’t be stopped.
This is a contagious disease but doesn’t spread to the egg. The diseases will usually hit the chickens when they are aged between 5 –25 weeks. Beyond that the chickens develop a natural immunity to the diseases. Depending on the type of the diseases, the chicken can also become paralysed in wings, legs and necks. Death may occur in these cases, as the chicken is unable to move or reach food and water. When this happens, it can kill the chicken.
Chickens are also prone to upper respiratory fungal infections
After the cold weather has gone and the sunny days are here again, chicken can suddenly seem to die for unexplained reasons. Actually there is an explanation, which is known as the upper respiratory fungal infection. Actually when there were damp conditions, mold had begun to form in the chicken coops. When it becomes drier, the molds develop spores and find a place where they can survive when these spores are inhaled by the chickens; they land in the lungs and the trachea of the bird that provides them with a warm and moist environment to grow. This gives rise to the upper respiratory fungal infections in the chickens. There are numerous types of such fungal infections and they can be quite deadly for the chicken.
Usually the birds are strong enough to ward off the diseases. However the young, diseased, weak and the old chickens may succumb to the disease. Many a time the disease may stay in latent form and erupt when the chicken is under stress. When infected, they can make gurgling sounds, sneeze, and stretch out their necks, cough and wheeze. These are the symptoms that they have the disease. Medication known as Oxine can help the chickens to fully recover from this disease.
#18. Mistakes Commonly Made In Raising Chickens and How to Avoid Them
People, who are not acquainted to the various aspects of raising chickens, can make some common mistakes. Often these beginners learn through trial and error. But it is much better if a person knows the critical mistakes that are possible, then they can avoid them and raise chickens with confidence.
The first common mistake is the absence of proper planning. Housing for hens and chickens are important. A person needs to make preliminary sketches with the positions of the doors, windows, walls, poultry nests, poultry feeders and water containers. By drawing a sketch, you can make an estimate of the amount of various supplies, like wood and wires, which will be required. Important facilities should be placed in strategic locations in the henhouse. For instance, constructing a small-hinged door at the appropriate spot makes egg collection easier.
Another common mistake is the construction of chicken coops in bad backyard locations. Choosing an inferior location can result in unproductive and ill chickens. There should be proper drainage around the coop. This is necessary because unhygienic and dirty mixture of droppings and muddy water occurs due to inadequate drainage. There is a great possibility of the chickens ingesting this polluted water. This can cause heath disorders, fatal diseases and reduction in egg production. If there is ample water supply available nearby, a person can provide convenient water supply through piping automatically. This would eliminate the necessity of providing fresh water daily.
Novices make a mistake by not providing adequate light to the chickens. The chickens should remain exposed to sunlight for a minimum of 14 hours a day. This will ensure that eggs are laid properly by the hens. Chicken houses facing south offer the maximum exposure to sunlight. Hence, one should keep this aspect in mind when planning. People who are in the poultry business might need to get fresh organically-produced eggs all year round. They would need to use artificial lighting with optimum wattage during the months when there are less than 14 hrs of sunlight.
So, a proper electricity supply should also be available nearby.
Improper or inferior ventilation is caused due to absence of windows. Unpleasant and strong smells emanate from the droppings. These can prove to be detrimental to the birds’ health, if they are allowed to accumulate. One should have optimally 2 or at least 1 window for proper air circulation. This will ensure that the chickens stay dry and clean, resulting in disease prevention.
#20. Precautions You MUST Take When Raising Chickens
Chicks are weak and fragile. Still, the survival rate of chicks is quite high, when they are well taken care of. Generally, the susceptibility of chickens to disease depends on their breed, to a great extent. Raising chickens might be challenging. Still, it is not hard to raise chicks, when you know what to do.
The first and most important thing you should take care of is the wellbeing of the chicks during cold weather. When the temperatures are low, you should provide heating to the chickens to protect them from getting cold. Still, do not overheat the brooder if you want the birds to remain healthy and active. Remember that chickens have a flexible metabolism and can survive in any climatic conditions when handled rightly. So, make sure you provide proper care during the winter.
Ensure you provide uninterrupted water supply. Insufficient supply of water or supply of frozen water to the chickens will lead to poor health and even death. So, make sure that the water is not frozen and has no dirt in it.
When it is summer time, the chicks get exposed to soaring heat and this might lead to dehydration. The dehydration can be quite harmful. To avoid it, make sure that the chicks take enough water throughout the day. Here is some advice and tips on the possible ways to protect the chicks during the summer:
* Ensure that you supply enough water without any impurities.
* Keep refilling the water dispenser.
* Wash the waterers regularly.
* Provide the chickens with sufficient air supply and ensure proper ventilation, so that the chicks will feel better during the hot weather.
Due to excessive heat, the chicks will lay more eggs. Laying too many eggs is not good, because it makes the hens more stressed and more prone to diseases. When the heat settles down to normal, the laying of eggs will continue at its normal pace.
Chicken sickness comes with some signs and symptoms such as teary eyes, depression, weight loss, sneezing and mites. Make sure you notice these immediately to prevent the quick spreading of diseases.
#21. Principal Styles of Raising Chickens - Their Benefits and Drawbacks
There are two primary styles in which chickens are raised. One is the free-range style and the other is the traditional poultry-house style. If the flocks are not penned up, but allowed to run freely, then they are free-range. The second style is adopted when the chickens are kept confined within the boundaries of the chicken coop or shed. Both styles have their inherent advantages and disadvantages.
The free-range chickens peck dirt particles and grass when allowed to roam and run about freely. The chickens are constantly on the move feeding on bugs and plant pieces.
With the traditional poultry shed style, the flocks are kept inside the poultry sheds. Various materials are used for making the houses. These include wood, metals, concretes, etc. Irrespective of the construction materials used, certain comforts are always provided inside the shed.
The free-range style can be used because the chickens do not have the ability to fly away. They remain in the yard near the water and food supplies. One limitation of the free-range method is that dung is scattered and left all over the yard. Although this material can be used to produce great fertilizers, walking becomes a problem.
Also, since the eggs are laid in any place that the hens find convenient, it becomes awkward and time-consuming for the farmers to collect the eggs. There is the constant threat of the chickens being attacked by predators too. When the chickens run free, predator birds like hawks pose a significant risk to these helpless creatures. But even when they are free range, chickens must have a coop to roost in during the night so they are protected from foxes and other predators.
On the positive side, the free-range hens are fitter and happier compared to their confined counterparts. The diet which they have is varied and more natural. But dietary supplements also need to be provided from time to time to take care of any deficiency that might be present. The immunity levels of free-range chickens are higher as the birds get exposed to various diseases right from childhood instead of remaining overly protected.
The main benefit from the poultry-house style of raising chickens is the easy collection of eggs. But constant and comprehensive cleaning must be done to keep the chicken shed or coop clean and hygienic.
Irrespective of the style being followed, proper and regular supply of food and water must be maintained.
#22. Raising Chickens in Winter in a Hassle-free Way
Raising chickens is a very nice hobby, but the winter season is a nightmare of every chicken breeder because the weather is very cold and chickens are very sensitive to cold weather.
There are several things that you should do in order to keep your chickens safe during cold weather. This will allow them to survive the winter with no losses. Before you start, you need to know that the main goal is to keep your chickens warm and away from air drafts.
The very first thing to do is to insulate your coop from the cold. Start by covering the coop with old bags or with cardboard. These will keep the coop insulated from the cold while still allowing sufficient fresh air supply to the coop.
After that, you need to provide warmth inside the coop. The easiest way to do this is by hanging a heating lamp from the ceiling. The lamp should be at a sufficiently long distance away from the ground and from any flammable materials.
Straw or sawdust on the floor will also help keep the coop warm. One of the good tricks that you can do is to put a small partition of hay inside the coop, so that the chickens are confined in a smaller place. When more chickens are confined in a smaller space, they get more warmth. When you do this, you should make sure that the heating lamp is not very strong.
Another important thing that you should do is to make sure that there is enough LIQUID water for your chickens to drink. Water tends to get frozen in the winter, so you should use the heated type of water dispensers, or use a water dispenser heater beneath the standard dispensers. It is also very important to make sure that there is no spilled water inside the coop or the chickens will catch a cold easily. If you detect any spilled water, change the bedding instantly and provide extra heat inside the coop.
Also, you should make sure that there is enough food for your chicken to eat. Food provides more warmth to your chickens. Moreover, you should choose the food with higher fat content to generate more energy. If you are living in a cold region then the winter will be even colder, so you should choose chicken breeds that are able to survive the extreme cold weather conditions. Ask local breeders to make sure that you are choosing the right breed for your region.
#23. Raising Chickens - A Satisfying Experience for Any Person
If you want to pick up a rewarding and fun-filled hobby, you can consider raising chickens. You will be surprised to see that your entire family starts taking interest in the chickens after some time. The people will also be conscious about the birds’ good health.
For a beginner certain aspects might prove to be challenging, but being armed with knowledge will leave you in a good position. Following the fundamental principles meticulously will ensure that you have a wonderful and enriching experience. Many factors are involved in chicken farming. You have to decide which breed to choose, how to take proper care of the bird, how to construct the chicken coops properly, etc.
If you ensure proper health with the correct diet, supplements and medicines for the chickens, they will look healthy and beautiful. There are various poultry clubs which have opened in different places. These cater to the different needs of poultry owners.
When you get eggs of good quality from your hens, you will feel elated. You can also take the birds to various shows and they may even win awards for best poultry. Studying the chicken breeds can also be a very enriching and enjoyable pastime. Variations exist in terms of the sizes and colors of the different chicken breeds.
The birds can have deep red, rich brown, startling white, or shiny and black feathering. The eggs produced can be brown or white in color, as commonly noticed in the grocery stores.
Sharing a common interest or hobby can be a great way to make friends and increase your social circle. Quality time can be spent with people who are as curious and passionate about chickens as you are. You can get great suggestions and tips for providing better care to your chickens. When you face any problem, you can get a good support from these friends.
Watching the chickens grow from childhood to maturity right before your eyes can be a fantastic experience. It is always a magical feeling to visualize the growth and transformation of your beloved birds. Moreover, you will get a good supply of fresh eggs and meat.
Through this wonderful journey, keep in mind the basics involved in chicken care like building a good and hygienic house for the birds, ensuring proper ventilation, drainage and sunlight for the chickens.
#24. Raising Chickens As A Business Venture
Farming chickens can be a profitable business, but you also have to take into account how much money, time and effort you will invest in it. Consider the specifics of the venture as well - producing eggs is simpler than hatching chickens for selling poultry-meat.
Before any such venture is started a person must get in touch with the local government agencies to ensure that the activity is legalized. If the business is not legal, the birds might be confiscated even before initiation. Hence, procuring a business license is the first step that needs to be undertaken. Licenses can be obtained from the state agricultural department or the county agent.
In certain places, a separate business license might be necessary for selling eggs. One can go to the county clerk’s office to find out more details. If this does not work, you can get in touch with a veterinarian dealing with livestock.
Before the chicks are purchased, a person needs to get his entire setup ready. A safe enclosure needs to be constructed for the chickens to protect them from the extremes of weather and from dangerous predators. Although some space needs to be given to the chickens to allow them to get accustomed to the surroundings, they cannot be allowed to run free. Most of the chicken farmers set up wire netting fencing. The height of this fence should be a minimum of 6 feet to prevent the chickens from getting out. Making arrangements for water and food, and in certain scenarios, electricity is necessary.
Coops must be incorporated inside the enclosures. If a person is not sufficiently skillful in constructing, he can conveniently purchase coops from reputed providers. Comprehensive coops equipped with egg trays, perches and nesting boxes are available from these suppliers. Sufficient quantities of hay should be stocked inside the coop to enable the chickens to scratch and peck. Separate nesting boxes should also be arranged for the chickens on an individual basis to allow the birds to stay in privacy and darkness when required.
Small businesses can consider buying chickens from local farms if there are issues with interstate livestock transfers. Initially roosters are not required and 4 hens would be sufficient. Marketing is an integral aspect of any business. It should be done through word of mouth as well as through newspaper advertisements, depending upon the scale of production.
#25. Raising Chickens - Feeding Dos & Don'ts
When you start raising chickens in your backyard, you should have enough information on how to feed them. Otherwise, you will find that you are spending a lot on food and that you are not getting any return from it.
Before you start breeding chickens, you will have to buy some equipment like feeders and waterers.
Make sure you are buying high quality products that will save you money, or you will have to replace the feed and water dispensers very soon. Do not go for the small sized feeders and waterers because they will be useless after a few weeks. Start directly with larger ones, as they will save you hassle. They will also require less frequent filling. Moreover, these items are more durable.
If you are living in a region with cold weather, make sure that you purchase water dispensers with a heating source implemented inside them. You will need this badly in the winter. If you do not get them, the water will freeze inside the dispensers. All you need to do, when the summer comes, is to unplug them and then re-plug them again the next winter.
As a rule of thumb, as long as the light is on, your chickens will keep eating, so make sure that you have a light source that can be easily turned on and off, or your chickens will get too fat to lay eggs. If you are breeding chickens for meat, then you will have to keep the light on for longer.
Feeding your chickens with table scraps is a very good idea, especially from an economic point of view, but you need to make sure that you are giving them the table scraps from plant origin only. You can give them salad leftovers, bread crumbs, vegetables, fruits and similar foods. Table leftover scraps are nutritious for chickens and they will love them more than the chicken feed you get from the store.
Make sure that you protect your chicken feed from wild birds, or you will end up paying a fortune. Some predator wild birds feed on domesticated ones, so make sure to protect your chickens well from these wild birds.
Finally, make sure that you provide a free range lifestyle to your chickens from time to time. Feeding your chickens with grass and weeds will help them grow healthier.
#26. Raising Chickens under Different Weather Conditions
Chickens, especially when they are young, are quite sensitive and vulnerable. Some chicks have a weak immune system and fall prey to harsh weather conditions and diseases. On the other hand, certain breeds of chickens have a stronger immune system which enables them to survive despite the extremes of weather and the diseases. Hence, the right breed should be chosen based upon the weather conditions in the area. The two main seasons which a person must be careful about are summer and winter.
If a person has his house situated in a location where the temperatures are high most of the time, the chickens can suffer from excess heat exposure leading to dehydration. There is a possibility for excessive eggs being laid by the hens during hot weather. This is not desirable as the chickens might suffer from stress due to this.
Adequate water supply that is clean and hygienic has to be provided in a consistent manner during hot weather. The waterer has to be refilled from time to time to ensure that the water remains clean and fresh. The chickens should be kept in the shade when the temperature is high. More importantly, proper ventilation must be provided inside the coop.
During the winter people attempt to heat the birds. This must not be done with healthy chickens, as it might even lead to death. Chickens can adapt to the tough weather conditions. Their metabolism undergoes a natural change to assist them in surviving through low temperatures.
If the temperature in a place is very low, the poultry owner can take various safety measures. In this way, they will be not become exposed to any danger. The water should also be heated to prevent it from getting frozen. Without water the chickens can die, so this aspect always needs to be taken care of.
Chicken owners should always be wary of any abnormal behavior being displayed during extreme climatic conditions. Certain chickens become fussy, remain isolated or start acting strangely when they are affected by extreme weather or infected with a disease. Other manifestations include teary eyes, sneezing, appetite-loss, depression, subnormal stools, mites, etc. You need to put the ill chickens, which display any of these symptoms, in quarantine immediately to prevent the ailment from spreading. The isolated birds must be kept under close supervision, even after it has been diagnosed. If the birds are fortunate enough to recuperate, they can be safely brought back to the brood.
#27. The Importance of Choosing the Right Breed of Chickens
If you are thinking about raising chickens in your backyard, there are many things that you should take care of in advance. Before you start, you should determine what you want to breed chickens for. There are three main options - for their meat, for their eggs or as a hobby.
If you are after the hobby, then you may want to visit the pet store to find out more about the breeds that are more playful and friendly. You will find a lot of information about the shape and the size of chicken, which are raised as pets.
If you are looking for chickens that produce meat, there are specific types that you should look into. The secret is that all breeds of chicken eat the same amount of food, but there are certain breeds that are able to convert the same amount of food into more meat. When your first intention is to harvest a good amount of meat, then you should go for these breeds. They are able to provide you with fresh and delicious chicken meat on regular basis.
On the other hand, if your intention is to collect eggs from your chickens, then you should go for the breeds that are known for laying a good quantity of eggs on regular basis. There are several breeds that are able to lay eggs every day for around 300 days, after they reach maturity. This means that you will be able to cover all your needs for eggs from your coop.
No matter whether you are breeding your chickens for meat or for eggs, you should calculate the number of chickens you need in order to make the production as profitable as possible. In addition to choosing the right breed suitable for your preferred production, you should also make sure that you will select the right breed for your climate.
There are certain breeds that can withstand the cold weather. They are capable of surviving harsh winters. There are also other breeds of chickens that can only survive in hot weather. When you choose the right breed suitable for the weather in your region, you are minimizing the risk of losses in your flock while ensuring that you will be gaining the quantities of meat or eggs you are looking for.
Before you start breeding chickens, make sure that you are aware of the right breeds that you should go for.
#28. The Significance of Probiotics for Ensuring the Health of Your Chickens
Not all bacteria are bad for chickens. There are certain good bacteria which assist in combating the harmful bacteria entering the chicken’s system. In addition to the regular food that a chicken has, it becomes necessary to provide dietary supplements for enhancing the growth of these beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help in processing the food properly and are present inside the intestinal tract.
The process with which the probiotics prevent the various bacterial infections is called ‘selective exclusion’. It has been proven to be effective for keeping the chickens disease-resistant throughout their entire life.
One of the best dietary supplements is Probiotics. People in the poultry industry use this dietary supplement on a daily basis. One form of probiotic that is quite effective is Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It is naturally existent in certain foods like yoghurt. But the most effective method of giving this probiotic to chickens is either through powder mixed with water or through a suitable liquid medium. Also, along with the provision of probiotics, certain other mineral supplements and vitamins should also be provided to the chickens.
There are a few stressful periods in a bird’s life, like breeding and showing. During these times the birds are more susceptible to various diseases. To take care of the chickens during these times, the use of probiotics is suggested for reduce the level of susceptibility to diseases. During breeding periods, hens tend to intake more water. At this time, the probiotics can be expediently given through water.
Antibiotics have a lot of benefits, but they also come with a few negative side effects. They kill all kinds of bacteria, irrespective of whether they are good or bad. Hence, those people who are not too keen on using probiotics daily can at least use them just after any antibiotic treatment. This will result in regeneration of the beneficial bacteria that can fight any secondary infection like E. coli. Although E. coli practically exists in most droppings, it causes a problem only when reproducing in a favorable digestive environment.
During stressful times for chickens, hormonal changes take place resulting in the escalation of the pH levels in the small intestine. Antibiotics further aggravate this problem, as the already existent harmful bacteria manage to take control of the intestinal lining due to weakening of the protecting mucous lining. This results in villi loss, and in turn, in lower absorption of nutrients by the intestinal walls. This can be avoided by use of probiotics. It will provide better nutrient absorption and increase in appetite.
#29. Reasons Behind Stress in Chickens – and how to Treat it
Stress is something that every bird can go through, but its levels generally vary from one breed to another. The better the quality of the breed the more vulnerable it is to various diseases caused by stress. Genetics also play a big role in the reactions of the birds to various stress levels.
Most chickens are timid by nature and they get stressed out very easily. It has been scientifically proven that diseases can be more devastating when the stress levels are high. When the stress levels of a normal healthy bird are high, the dormant diseases seem to gain their foothold.
Certain changes occur in the guts of the chickens when they are stressed. These result in lower pH levels. When the pH level is low, harmful bacteria become more active as they get a favorable environment for growth. They start replicating rapidly and within a short span of time gain advantage.
There might be several reasons for stress being experienced by chickens. Extreme weather conditions, like tremendous heat or acute cold, might result in the birds getting stressed out. Only certain healthy birds are able to make it through the chill of the night when the temperature falls below zero degrees Celsius.
A similar scenario arises in case of extreme heat. There is acute shortage of water and minimum air movement, and only certain breeds succeed in coping with these stringent conditions.
Fear is another major factor for stress in chickens. There are two basic instincts observed in any animal when it is under stress - fight or flight. Because of their genetic coding, chickens use the second method whenever they sense any imminent danger.
Chickens are quite vulnerable to stress, so you have to take measures to prevent this condition. Ensuring that they have sufficient food and water all through the day and a warm safe place to roost at night will help a great deal.
During the laying period all nutritional requirements of hens must be met, as this is a stressful time for these birds. Oyster shells contain lot of calcium and must be fed to the chickens. Probiotic provision is also quite effective during these trying times. Also, the birds should not be alienated from their familiar surroundings, as this can cause a great deal of stress.
#30. Tips and Suggestions on How to Raise Chickens
The process of raising chickens involves many details that you should know beforehand. It is very important to be aware of some facts, in order to be able to raise your chickens without problems. Below, you will find some useful tips and suggestions that can help you raise your chickens without any hassle.
Firstly, it is very important to plan ahead how many chickens you need to raise. Irrespective of whether you are raising chickens for meat or eggs, the products can be in excess if you underestimate your chickens production power. For example, four or five chickens are enough to cover your need of eggs all year round. If you raise ten chickens, then you will have far too many eggs for your needs.
Choosing the right equipment for your chickens is very important. Do not go for cheap products that will not last long. It is much better to invest in high quality equipment that will help you produce more eggs and meat. It will give you a very good value for your money.
Chickens are very sensitive birds. They easily affected by the weather conditions, so it is very important to make sure that the environment inside the coop is optimal for the birds. Use a heating lamp to provide extra warmth inside the coop, but do not underestimate its power. It could have a negative effect on the chickens if the coop is overheated.
Water and food are essential for chickens. They cannot withstand shortage of water, so it is very important to monitor the water dispensers and top them up as often as the feeders. Water will keep your chickens hydrated, so make sure that they have enough water with a good-to-drink temperature. In winter, water can easily turn into ice and this will make it impossible for the chickens to drink, so make sure that you have water dispenser heater in place. It will keep the water in a good condition for the chickens to drink.
One of the important mistakes that breeders make is to forget to change the straw flooring from time to time. The flooring is a very important item in the coop and it should always remain dry and fresh. The presence of water in the bedding will help microorganisms to flourish and infect the birds.
Make sure that you apply these tips and your chickens will be in good health all the time.
#31. Top 5 Things To Be Aware of When Raising Chickens
There are a number of reasons for raising your own chickens. Like every other pet breeding, raising chickens has its own positive and negative sides. If you are new to raising chickens, you should learn about some aspects such as coop maintenance, raising space, feed and more. You are not recommended to start raising chickens without taking these factors into account. Although this is not rocket science, you should definitely learn how things work. Here are 5 important things that you need to be aware of when raising chickens:
Space: Imagine how bad you feel if you don’t find enough space to walk and relax. This will be stressful and annoying. Remember that the same is applicable to chicks. Give them enough space to roam around, so that they can find insects and scratch about. The space you provide should depend upon the number of chicks you are willing raise. For instance, if you are raising 3 chicks, having 30 square feet of land will be enough for them to roam and grow.
Feed: Give them the best foods and supplements, since health matters! If you are quite new to chicken farming and you do not know what food to provide, it is better to give them chicken feed that you can get from the local store. Also, remember to supply adequate amounts of water that is clean and free from dust and impurities. Chicks usually like to take water frequently, as this helps them in maintaining their overall health.
Breed: Choosing the right breed is the primary factor that should be considered before you start raising chickens. Examine your reasons for raising chickens. If it is just for eggs, choose a breed that can lay eggs in good numbers. If it is for meat, then find a breed that satisfies this type of need.
Security: The most important thing that you should never compromise with is security. Chicks are delicate and they can easily be attacked by violent predators, such as falcons and foxes. To protect your birds from these creatures, it is good to build a coop where the chicks can live safely.
Maintenance: Maintenance matters a lot. You should keep the chickens and their coop clean and to protect them from infections. Otherwise, they can fall victim to some contagious diseases.
#32. 3 Top Reasons for Raising Chickens at Home
If you want free eggs and chicken meat, you can begin by raising chickens at your home. To ensure a lifetime supply of chicken and eggs without having to run to the market to buy them every time, you can start your own homebred chicken farm. Well, doing this is simple. All you would need is a clean box with plenty of light and air. Then, build your own pen and ensure that you clean the droppings every day. Look after the chicks well, feed them at proper intervals and give them plenty of water. If warmth is an issue, just set up two 200 watts lamps on the top of the box and you are done. These will provide the heating the chicks need.
There are two major reasons for raising chickens at your home. They are:
A regular supply of eggs.
You would not have to wait to get your daily supply of eggs. The chickens that you would be rearing would be giving you your supply of eggs all year round. In fact, if you have a surplus, you can put up a small board announcing that you have eggs for sale. In this way, you will have eggs for yourself and money for your extra savings.
A regular supply of delicious chicken.
This could pose a problem because you will have to either kill the chickens yourself or get someone else to do it. Then you’ll have to draw it – take out the insides – and pluck all the feathers out. These things have to be disposed of properly and killing chickens in your neighborhood may not be allowed. But people who live on farms often kill their own chickens for meat.
You have a regular and a growing income source now.Now is your time to prove your detractors wrong. Recession or no recession, you are in business and earning good money. You still have money coming in by selling your chickens and eggs.
If you have expansion ideas in mind, you will soon be looking for more space to move your business. You will have more chickens and more eggs and more people working for you. Soon, you could well be on your way to become one of the top hatchery owners in your locality.
#33. Vital Aspects of Chicken Coop Construction
Chicken coops are essential for raising chickens in a safe and secure environment. The coop can be built in a simple manner, keeping in mind the most important aspects. The fundamental criteria regarding the size, ventilation, design, flooring and amenities of the chicken coop must be met. People who can construct simple structures can make one of these coops at home. Others will need to order a coop, equipped with all facilities.
The minimum requirements regarding the size of the coop must be met strictly. Small and cramped coops result in health problems for the chickens. Complications like feather-picking, low egg production, and cannibalism might also occur if the floor space is inadequate. The greater the space provided to the chickens, the better their health and production performance will be.
But not everyone is endowed with plenty of land to provide unrestricted roaming space. In that case, one must ensure that 2 to 3 square feet of space is given to each chicken individually. When the flock becomes mature more space might be required. Also, the space required will depend on the specific breed of chickens.
The proper ventilation of the coop is of utmost importance. Adequate ventilation is required to drive out the toxic fumes from inside the coop. Placing vents on the east or south facing walls can allow for proper airflow. In this way, the chickens are also safeguarded from the cold drafts. Large holes can be drilled on the southern and northern sides of the coop under the junction between the roof and the walls. The holes must be covered with mesh screens to keep the various predators away.
The proper insulation of the coop is also essential to ensure the comfort of the chickens during extreme weather conditions. Styrofoam sheets placed on the ceiling and on the walls render fantastic structural insulation. Some people also use materials like aluminum for roofing. Along with white paint, this material will reflect the heat during the hot seasons. Tall trees and vegetation can be planted around the coop to help shade it. But care must be taken not to block any windows or other ventilation when this method is used. During winter, a person can stack bales of hay to provide additional cheap insulation.
Various rodents and pests can damage the coop, so it must be able to withstand these invasions. Larger predators like dogs and foxes or smaller animals like snakes, mice and rats all pose a threat to the poultry flock. Hence appropriate structures like fences, robust foundations and covered ventilation-holes must always be present. Concrete flooring must be present to keep the coop clean, dry and rodent-proof.
#34. What Baby Chickens Need the Most?
First of all learn the correct method of handling the chicks. Little chicks are extremely fragile and don’t need frequent handling. If they seem dirty, don’t give them a bath, as this will kill them. If you must handle them, then ensure that they are held firmly but gently. For this slip your hand under the tummy of the chick and cover the chicken with the other hand.
Keeping the chicks warm
Baby chicks need a lot of warmth and for this reason; you should also place them in a warm area. Ensure that they have their own box and the temperature is maintained at 90F or at least 32 C. if you don’t have a warm box, and then just put them in the oven, with the light on, while you prepare the warm box. The chicks need to be kept warm otherwise they will die.
Keeping plenty of fresh water handy
Just like other farm animals and pets, you would also need to give them fresh clean water and this must be kept in their bowl at all times. Check from time to time and see that the water is clean and there is plenty for them to drink from. The low bowl can be found at any farm or pet shop and should be pretty heavy duty so that it doesn’t topple over.
Getting the chick starter feed
Chick starter feed is available at all pet shops and shops selling supplier for chicken and poultry. If you don’t have the chick starter feed, then you could feed them instant oatmeal, flaked infant cereal, whole grain cereals etc. All of this can be put in a blender and then churned. Don’t grind it to a powder or paste rather let it remain grainy. This chicken feed for the baby chickens should have some grain part. Leave the food at all times with them so that they can get their little tummies full. They will stop eating once they are full.
Clean out their box at least once a day and make sure they are warm and rested at all times. Remember all of these things should have been in place before you got the little chicks, but if you haven’t, then you will have to get it organized really fast.
For the food, you can go to the nearest feed shop or even a pet shop. Some pet shops will also have food for the little chicks. For starters get the chick started feed. The quantity is dependent on the number of chicks that you have, but a 5 found bag should do well in the beginning. Yu would also need grit and separate bowls for the food and water. Try your neighborhood shops or you can also shop for the things online as well.
How to make a warming box for the little chicks
A warming box for the little guys is an absolute must. You can buy them, but they can be made just as easily. An old aquarium or even an old sturdy wooden box or a Styrofoam box will usually do (chicks do tend to nibble and eat the Styrofoam, so use this as a really last option). Hang a bulb with a wire mesh around it to keep the chicks warm. Have some holes in the cover or the box to allow them to breathe.
The warming box should also be lined with dry leaves, sawdust or shredded paper. This provides them with a cosy feeling and also keeps them safe. The little chicks also love to play around in this litter as well. But the feeder and the water container should be placed on a cement block and should stay on a firm surface otherwise it will get toppled off. If you have lots of dry leaves, then you should keep adding them as they become compact. The dry leaves can absorb the entire poop and you wouldn’t have to empty out the box very often. Throw the grit in regularly and they will be able to find it quite easily.
These are the things that the baby chicks need the most. Once you have these bases covered, your chicks are on their way to becoming the best ever that you can get.
#35. What Beginners Need to Know about Raising Chickens
Raising chickens without experience is challenging. However, with number of procedures performed regularly, raising chickens can become quite simple and accomplishable.
To start with, decide how many chickens you are going to raise. If you are beginner and have little experience in chicken farming, it is wise to get started with a smaller count. You can farm about 3-4 chickens as a start. In this way, you will get enough eggs for you and your family.
When considering raising chickens, you must decide on the kind of chickens you prefer. No matter whether you want eggs or meat primarily, you can choose a breed that matches your requirements. Besides, no matter whether you are to grow the hens for eggs or for meat, the existence of a rooster is quite essential for the chickens to breed.
Also, check whether you are allowed to raise chickens in your area. Find out more about the legal requirements to get started. It is equally important to find out all about the license you need to grow chickens. Try to get advice from fellow chicken farmers.
As a beginner, you should know how to feed chickens. Feeding them with healthy feed is important for their overall well-being. It is good to feed them with nutritional foods that are easily available from the nearby feed store. Quite a lot of people prefer to raise chickens by giving them food from the kitchen, but this doesn’t work well for beginners. This is because they do not know which food is good for the chicks and can provide them with the nutrients they need.
In addition, remember that chickens like to take fresh water that is free from dirt and dust. Give enough space to the chickens to run around, so that they can eat grass and bugs. If you do not mind spending a few bucks, consider making a coop for the chickens to live in. Give them a shelter to stay safe from the elements and from the predators. The coop should be kept clean and dry at all times.
Being a beginner, you should also know how to deal with raising chickens in different climatic conditions. Since chickens are delicate, they are more likely to suffer from health problems and diseases during the winter and summer.
Overall, it is wise to understand the methods for raising chickens before you get started with this rewarding hobby.
#36. What Breeds of Chicken Would Do Well In Extreme Cold Climates
With the weather in their area cold almost all year round, chicken breeders and those, who are considering chicken breeding, always look for breeds that can adapt to the cold weather. Generally, there are some things that you should consider, no matter what breed you are purchasing.
First of all, you need to make sure that the coop is well protected from the wind drafts. Wind drafts are the first enemy of chicken flocks. Make sure that you are covering the coop with good insulation. This is the first line of defence against cold weather.
Increase the bedding inside the coop to protect the chickens from the cold ground. Ensure there is plenty of straw in their nesting boxes. Make sure that you are using electric water heaters to keep the air as well as the water warm. Add a heating lamp with enough heating capacity to make the coop warm in the winter.
In the mean time, choosing the right breeds of chickens that withstand cold weather will help the birds pass the hard winters safely. The Wyandotte is one of the most famous cold weather breeds that are able to survive the bad winters safely. They have a long history in the US, so they have proven their capabilities to pass cold winters.
The Buckeyes are another breed that can withstand the cold weather perfectly. They originate from Ohio. This state is known for its harsh weather and bad winters, so they suit those who want to try breeding chickens in cold climate for the first time.
Dominique is another breed of cold weather chickens that are proven to pass the winter with no problems. Their rose short comb is well adapted for withstanding the frost bite.
Norwegian Jareghorn is the Scandinavian representative of cold weather breeds. These chickens are relatively smaller than other breeds, but they have passed lots of hard Scandinavian winters successfully and with no losses.
Check with local breeders in your area to find out what breeds they use. They can provide you with good tips on which chickens are suitable for your area and how many you can start with.
The most important thing that you should do is to prepare your chicken coop and flock to pass the winter. Add the needed vitamins in the water to help strengthening the birds’ immunity in cold weather.
#37. What Supplements Keep Growing Chickens In Optimum Health?
Just like humans require supplements, chicken also requires certain supplements that would include minerals and vitamins to make them strong and keep them in optimum health. The intake for the chickens is essentially dependent on the farm that manages their dietary requirements and is also dependent on the breed of chickens as well. Usually the supplements that are necessary for the chickens include calcium, phosphorus, grit some amount of salt and some vitamins.
Calcium requirement for the chickens varies with their age, weather conditions as well and whether the chicken are the ones that are laying eggs. The hens that lay eggs need more calcium in comparison to those chickens that are bred for their meat. If the hens don’t take proper amount of calcium then they may lay eggs with thin shells or even without shells. Their shells are also prone to breaking extremely fast.
Older hens also need more calcium than the younger ones. In hot weather, the calcium requirement for the hens increases since; the chickens aren’t eating enough food and need that dietary requirement. Ground up oyster shells and ground up limestone are rich sources of calcium intake that the hens can take. However you would have to make sure that dolomite limestone isn’t fed to the hens and the chickens, as it can be harmful for them.
Usually some amounts of salt is present in the commercial poultry feed that is given to the chickens. Therefore the chickens don’t really require the salt intake. Occasional treats can also contain some amount of salt intake. If you find that their salt intake is less, then you may add small amounts of salt. In hot weather, ensure that they have plenty of water when salt supplement is given. In the winter, ensure that the water doesn’t freeze over; else it can be quite fatal for the chickens. Remember that too much salt intake can be really bad for the chickens as well.
Phosphorus is required for the proper metabolization of the calcium by the chickens.
Since chicken has no teeth, grit must be added to their daily food intake. This is required for the proper digestion of the food by the chickens. Usually grit is stocked and sold by the poultry feed stores and is found as loose grain sand or small pebbles. When the chickens eat the grit, it is stuck in their gizzard. When the food passes through the gizzard it is broken up or crushed into small pieces and aids in the digestion of the food. Grit acts like teeth in the body of the chicken. Grit is essential part of the meal, even if you are feeding them chicken feed. However the chicken that roam freely on the farm don’t require grit as they get their daily share from the grass and the pebbles that are present on the farm itself.
Chickens also have a requirement for the vitamin uptake as well.
Vitamin D is crucial for the hens. Of course the chickens can absorb plenty of Vitamin D from the sun, if not then you would need to add the Vitamin in their food intake. Vitamin D is also present in cod liver oil and is required by the body for metabolization of calcium and phosphorus. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause the eggshells to break easily or the hens to lay eggs with very thin eggshell.
Vitamin A is also useful for the chickens as well. It’s especially important for those chickens that are used for breeding purpose. This is the reason that chicken farm owner that have breeding chickens must give ample Vitamin A to their chickens. Most commercial chicken feed will take care of the Vitamin A supplement. The chickens can also get this vitamin from yellow corn and cod liver oil.
One of the B vitamins, this is required by the chickens to ensure that the embryo in the egg reaches it’s full stage and hatches as a small chicken. Usually commercial feeds are lacking in this and this needs to be supplemented by chicken breeding farms. The vitamin is usually found in dairy products, yeast; cod liver oil and lots of green leafy vegetables.
This vitamin is essential for the chickens as it helps them to protect against diseases and raises their immunity levels as well. This vitamin is found in fresh greens and wheat germ oil as well.
Ensure that the chicken gets enough of the minerals and the vitamins so that they can lead a healthy and diseases free life.
#38. Where to Buy Chickens?
Before you look at the sources from where you can buy the chickens, it’s important to understand that they are a number of species of the chickens. Just like any other farm varieties, the various species of chickens are also bred for a very special purpose as well. If you are extremely new to buying chickens and rearing them, then here are certain tips that can fare well for you.
As there are many different breeds of chicken, learn about them before you actually purchase the chicken. Primarily chicken can be segregated into 3 broad categories. These are pure breeds, egg laying hybrids and mixed hybrids. Each has their own special quality. For example the egg laying hybrids are bred for the specific reason of laying eggs and have small bodies and not enough mass for them to be slaughtered for their meat.
Buying the chickens from a breeder and online hatchery
Of course the first place to look for buying chickens would be a chicken breeder. Always buy from a reputable breeder. You can always get the reference for a local chicken breeder from those that own chickens in your area. Check out several breeders and look at their livestock, before finally making a deal. Always take note of their livestock and look at the living conditions of the chickens. If you notice that the chickens are looking unhealthy, then never buy from the breeder, even if their livestock is cheaper than the rest of the other breeders in that area.
Remember that there are a number of hatcheries that are also operating online. Even then you would first need to know the breed of chicken that you require. Find a hatchery that is reputable. There are several hatcheries that operate and you can always ask for references from the local chicken owners. Look at their website carefully before making any purchases. Check out their stock before you purchase the chicks online. Hatcheries won’t ship the chicks in the winter months as it becomes extremely cold for them. For this reason, the deliveries for the spring batch are booked well in advance. To ensure that you get your delivery, book for the spring batch well in advance.
The chickens that you have selected should be active, extremely vocal and energetic. If you see any signs of illness, contact the breeder and the hatchery immediately. The chicks should have an entire coat of full feathers without any thinning or bald spots.
When you have booked for the chicks online, you won’t get the deliveries personally. Rather the deliveries will be made to your local post office and you would have to go and pick them up. Remember that these chicks would be quite thirsty and hungry; so ensure that you pick them up the very same day.
But before you buy the chickens online or from a reputed chicken breeder here are a few steps that you should have already fulfilled.
Prepare the living quarters. You will need to get the coop ready that can house the chickens and also house them once they are grown up. The ideal housing should have enough space for them for roosting and also provide protection to them from the outside predators. It’s important that the housing also has easy enough access for cleaning the area. Line the area with plenty of hay, dried leaves and keep enough feed and water for them to be well fed and looked after.
Buy the right kind of chicken feed for the breed that you have bought. Some feed are fortified with extra calcium to ensure that the chicken’s lay good and healthy eggs, while others ensure that the chickens increase their body mass considerably as these chickens are meant for slaughtering. Ask for the correct type of feed. Fresh water and the correct kind of feed are extremely important as well.
Chickens are very social animals and need lots of company pretty much like we humans do. So ensure that you buy at least a dozen or so chickens. In this way, the chickens will be happy and you will also get used to caring for the chickens as well.
Always check the chickens for any signs of illness as it can kill the entire lot quite quickly.
#39. Worried About Feeding your Chickens Healthily?
There is no need for you to get worried about your chicken’s feed. You will be getting the feed from the hatchery itself. They provide you with the chicks and the starter feed as well. You can make your own chick feed at home too. However, it is strongly recommended that you buy the starter feed from the hatchery so that consistency is maintained. As the chicks grow up, you can make your own chicken feed at home.
Most starter feeds are packed with all the vitamins and proteins that are necessary for the growth of the birds. The chicks that are fed with the hatchery-made chicken food tend to grow well and rapidly. Buying this feed may be a bit expensive for you, but the effort is worth the expense and the trouble too. You do not have to worry about the exact feed mix with additional vitamins and proteins. Just ensure that the feeding time is maintained. Have plenty of fresh water ready in the water tray because chicks require a lot of water along with the feed.
For older chickens, you can buy the cereals and grains that are commonly available on the market and crush them up into pellet size granules. Maintain the same feeding timing as you have done during the chick stage. Maintain the regular schedule. The question on the vitamins and proteins mix will remain, however. Crush the vitamin tablets with some sugar to make a powder. Up next, add it to the water in the water tray, and you are done!
Over time, you will find that the feed has been well absorbed in the birds’ system and they are growing up to be healthy birds. You need to monitor them closely to ensure they are growing appropriately. Once the chickens grow up, crush some oyster shells along with the feed. This will help them lay eggs. Calcium in the oyster shells helps for the forming of the eggshells and soon your chickens will be laying eggs. Oyster shells do not help chicks, so do not give these to them.
This is all that you will be required to do. Do not be over enthusiastic to see the growth of the chickens. Not all breeds are known to grow fast, so let the process go naturally. Over time, the chickens become full-grown birds with more meat. The eggs are fuller and appear whiter outside. You are now a mini hatchery owner yourself.
#40. Keeping Chickens As Pets
There are many different types of hens. The silky bantam hens are prolific layers - some even lay eggs with a pretty, pale green shell. They make quiet, quaint pets for the children.
Other hens are larger and more robust and come in a variety of colors; black, brown, white or speckled. They all eat bugs, snails and slugs - good news if you are trying to reduce the number of these pests!
Did you know that chooks (hens) are able to eat the Sydney funnel web spider without any ill affects? How good is that? They make your yard a safer place to be and double as a pet for the children...
Chickens can be bought as "day olds" (under a week old) or "week olds" (over a week). You can buy them fully grown too, but they make better pets when bought young. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder who can tell what sex they are. The neighbors will not be pleased to be woken at dawn by a rooster crowing.
A young chicken will need to be kept inside where it will be warm, until it is older. A newspaper lined cardboard carton with sawdust or straw in the bottom is fine. A day old chicken will benefit from the extra warmth of a pretend mother. To make this, push many strips of fabric through a strong piece of cardboard and hang it so it dangles to the floor of the box. This is a good job for the children. Chicky will run straight into it and be perfectly content. Alternatively, you could use a new mop head.
To make a drinking trough that the chicken will not fall into or tip over, take an empty food can (tin) and hammer a hole through each side just under the rim. Fill with water and place a saucer over it. Invert the whole quickly and you will see that water trickles out of the holes, but stops when the level rises to the rim of the saucer. It's a fascinating experiment for the children. Another tin to hold the special chicken growing mash is all you will need. Of course, keep the bottom of the box clean and dry.
When the chicken is grown up, change the food to laying pellets and gradually introduce chopped kitchen scraps. It will eat what it wants and leave the rest to be discarded with the soiled sawdust. If you have a garden, this is excellent fertilizer.
The hen will need a warm, dry place to live outside. An old aviary is fine, but it's not much trouble to hammer in some stakes and wrap wire mesh around them. This will keep the hen safe from stray dogs while you are away. If it flies out, cut the long wing feathers back to about half, on one wing only.
This will not hurt the hen, but will prevent it from flying.
Remember that a hen is actually a bird and it is natural for birds to roost in trees. Make a perch for your hen by poking an old broom handle through the mesh of its cage under the roof, but about one metre (3 feet) from the ground. Check on whether your hen is actually roosting. Some hens need to be taught. Dusk is the right time to gently pick up the hen and place it on the perch. It will soon realize what it is supposed to do.
A small drum, box or even a dog kennel filled with straw will make an ideal nest for your hen to lay eggs. If you use a larger dog kennel, it can double as a nest and a night shelter too, with the simple addition of the perch. Or if you have a garden shed, the hen will not mind sharing with a few rakes and spades. If you live in an area where the winters are snowy, it will be best to keep your hen in the barn or shed.
As with any hobby, take your time, enjoy and learn along the way!
#41. Raising Chickens at Home For Meat - 3 Popular Meat Chickens For Your Small Flock
Do you love the taste of freshly grilled chicken, dripping with juicy goodness? Are you considering raising chickens at home for meat? Its' a great idea because nothing comes close to the taste of farm fresh, free-range chickens.
In order for your chickens to lay great tasting eggs, as well as provide you with mouth-watering meat, they should have access to dirt, grass and bugs. An outside run is a great idea and should be implemented when working up the plans for your chicken coop or pen. Having access to the ground will make the world of difference in your birds.
When our chickens have access to clover and dirt (grit) the egg yolks are a deep, rich, golden color. When fried, the eggs have a really wonderful taste. If you use them in cream pies, the darker egg yolks will give the pie filling a buttery yellow color that looks scrumptious. It will taste great, too!
If you can just about smell the aroma of freshly grilled chicken breasts, I think its' time you started raising chickens at home for meat. Here are 3 popular chickens for your small flock:
Orpingtons come in a variety of colors and are big-framed birds that generally have a quiet disposition. They are easy to dress and are excellent winter layers due to their full plumage. Mature males average around 10 lbs. and adult females are around 8 lbs. They lay a nice brown egg regardless of cold weather. This is a great breed to raise overall.
This breed, when butchered young, makes a great fryer, roaster or capon. These birds have large breasts and thighs and are easy to dress. Some hatcheries recommend you butcher females as fryers and save the males as roasters. As I said before, butchering isn't my thing, but you can't do much better than a Cornish for meat.
These chickens come in black and white. Slow to mature, these birds will surpass Rocks, Reds and other more common heavy breeds. Mature males weigh in at around 13 lbs. and adult females at 10 lbs. They lay brown eggs consistently through colder weather.
Keep in mind that a broiler-type meat chicken has different nutritional needs, such as a higher protein rationFree Reprint Articles, to promote growth from hatching to market age. A ration specifically formulated for meat birds will ensure the chickens protein and energy requirements are being met.
#43. Raising Chickens at Home - Waiting For the First Egg
I guess it's a curse to know what a farm fresh egg actually tastes like. With that thought in mind we decided on raising chickens at home so we can have fresh brown eggs whenever we want. The problem: waiting for the first egg.
Once you make the decision to raise chickens yourself you figure out which breed you wish to buy. That decision wasn't that difficult. Rhode Island Reds were our choice. We had them once before and they produced a wonderful large brown egg. This batch of birds is very tame and mellow so it should be easy to gather the eggs.
These brown eggs were the secret to Grandma's cream pies. People tried to duplicate her recipe but they never turned out because she failed to tell them you had to use farm fresh brown eggs to get that golden color. She's gone now so I guess it was okay for me to let the cat out of the bag!
Okay where was I? Oh yeah, the chicks. We have an overabundance of cats right now and were unable to use the brooders in the pen. So, like any other farmer, we ad-libbed. The chicks were raised in a pen with a heat lamp in the garage, in between the truck and the car. While they were growing we got a larger bird pen ready. This they also quickly outgrew.
When we finally got the chickens into their full-sized pen we thought everything was going quite well. That is until one Saturday morning. We had a fan running in the pen to cool things down. It caught fire and started burning the window frame and roof.
Luckily we caught it in time and were able to put out the fire ourselves. The rolling black smoke was so dense we couldn't get in the pen for some time. The goats and deer were in the pasture but I thought for sure the chickens were goners. Believe it or not, those hardy little buggers must have been low enough to the ground that we didn't lose a one of them. I guess someone was watching over us.
We have currently spent around $80 bucks in feed to get 17 chickens started. The chickens are 14 weeks old now and just yesterday we heard the rooster trying to crow for the first time. We estimate that they should start laying eggs between 15-16 weeks of age. So now we eagerly await the first egg.
It's going to take a little while to recoup the money but soon we'll be enjoying our own farm fresh eggs for a long time to come.
If you are even remotely interested in having chickens of your own I urge you to consider it. The taste of the eggs, as well as the meat, if you decide to butcher, is far superior to what you get in the grocery store. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing what your chickens have been fed (no hormones).
As you can see, you don't need a whole lot of room or money to get started. Maybe you'll be so inclined to give it a whirl. You can even sell the extra eggs you don't use yourself. It's a win, win situation all the way around.
#43. Things to Consider About Cheap Chicken Coops
If you don't live in the city and you have seen the mess that the world is becoming, you might have thought about raising your own chickens to lower your food bill a bit.
This is a great idea but there are a few things that you will have to consider before jumping in with both feet.
Your chickens will need feed and a good place for them to roost. This place needs to be safe from predators that stalk the night, things like raccoons, foxes, opossums, and other animals that roam around looking for food in the area.
Before you start to build your chicken coop, you should think of how many chickens you are going to want to keep, and how much room you have in your yard or farm. You should also consider how much time you are able or willing to put into your chickens to help you determine how big this coop of yours is going to be. If you are planning on only spending a couple minutes a day to get a handful of eggs, then you can go pretty small without any hassles. Otherwise, you are going to be putting a lot of work into it.
If you are renting or planning on moving in the future, you might want to go with a small coop that would only hold up to four chickens. This will give you the ability to move the chicken coop easily if you need to, and will only produce a handful of eggs; enough for a couple or small family to enjoy. If you are looking to hold more than a handful of chickens, you will want a larger coop and this will take a bit more time to build, but shouldn't take too much money.
A larger coop is great if you have a large family or want to share your eggs with your neighbors. This type of coop won't be moved easily so it's best if you own your home and aren't planning on moving anytime soon. You can build these coops with spare lumber that is lying around your propertyFind Article, only having to worry about buying chicken wire to enclose it and keep your chickens safe. You should make sure that your chickens have a nice area that they can roam around in as well as a roosting area that you can lock them up in at night.
#44. Advantages of Mobile Chicken Coops
In the beginning, you can keep them in your house and watch them how they move around, chirping and making a mess. Eventually, they’ll outgrow their current environment, and you will need a new space to put them in. That space should be a real chicken coop, which you need to build or buy.
The problem here is that you probably got a backyard that looks great, landscaped and carefully maintained. A chicken coop will probably make your backyard look worse, destroying its aesthetics. Since chickens continue to grow for some time, those small birds will eventually need an outdoor chicken coop, moving out of the house. As attached as you will be of these chickens, you will have a hard time giving them up. The answer to this problem is fairly simple, a chicken coop that is moveable.
Moveable Chicken Coop:
This type of chicken coop that is moveable is actually on wheels, so it can be moved, just as it sounds. While a chicken breeder that is hardcore will probably not use it, as they make chicken coops capable of holding hundreds of chickens that lay plenty of eggs, I like a moveable chicken coop, to use during times when hurricanes show up.
The idea of the moveable coop came during a storm which came to my town, when my dad had to move the chicken coop in another area of the courtyard, so he could clean the mess. A regular chicken coop couldn’t be moved, so he had the idea of putting wheels on it, so he could do it when he needed to. Since he had success with this idea, all the chicken coops we made after that had these wheels on them.
Perks of moveable chicken coops:
When you have a chicken coop that is moveable, you no longer have a yard that is permanently occupied. For example, you can move chicken coops near the porch during the winter, so it’s easier to get to them. When it’s cold outside, you will spend less time cleaning and feeding the birds. Whatever you want to do in your courtyard, if you need space in a certain area, you can move the chicken coops and free the space.
Another example would be a hurricane, when you can move chicken coops into the garage,making sure they’re protected will also relieve the fear and stress on your chickens.
#45. Tips on Proper Catching, Handling and Caring for Chickens
When your chickens get loose and out of the coop, you will have a hard time trying to catch them. They will always try to get away from you. This is also true if you just want to catch them in order to be able to check their health or get them ready to be sold or butchered.
Unlike dogs, chickens are not naturally groomed for petting. It is hard to catch them no matter how familiar you are to them. The easiest way to catch them is to feed them first and after they have started to eat their food, you can already take them. They are best taken by their legs and never hold them by their wings or tails as this can make them run away from you. Stress is bad for their health especially to hens that are groomed for laying.
There are times that the chickens will think that you are also a chicken intending to mate with them so they would get themselves ready for it and lie down making them easier to catch. Always grab the chicken at the legs to protect yourself against getting scratched when they try to get away. Support its body with one hand while grasping the legs with the other hand.
Constant handling of the chickens and making them get used to the human touch is necessary especially if one should get sick and you need to check it up and find out what’s wrong with it. In time the chickens will become familiar with you and they will not make too much noise when you pick them up.
If you see that the dropping tray is almost full, empty it immediately, you can make compost out of chicken droppings which you can use to fertilize plants and vegetables. It is also possible to put the droppings directly to your garden to fertilize it and make it provide you with fresh, healthy vegetables.
Constantly move the chicken coop so that the grass underneath it will not wither and die. Whenever you notice that the grass is turning brown, move the coop immediately. This would also enable you to clean the area and make it disease free. To make sure that the chickens are always well, pick them up and check them for any signs of sickness.
Answers To Raising Chickens - A Complete Guide To Keeping Chickens:
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Step-by-step Guide To Raising Chickens At Home ( Back Yard, In The City, Suburbs, Or Anywhere For That Matter!)
Go to: http://tinyurl.com/mblna2r
Building A Chicken Coop Videos, Ebook And Plans ( Step By Step Plans And Videos Teaching You How To Build A Chicken Coop):
Go to: http://tinyurl.com/mlz6bdp
Here's to your health!