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Raise Chickens on a Budget

Raising a flock can cost a large chunk of change if you’re not careful. At the same time, raising chickens can have a huge positive impact on your overall quality of living if you utilize the perks. Chickens can be used for food, for companionship, and as a learning experience. If you’re looking to raise chickens on a budget, there’s a few things you can do to keep your cost to a minimal:

?  Build your own chicken coop. The biggest expense when raising a flock can be caused from your chicken coop. Many chicken coops can be in the hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the size, location, and features included. Rather than pay for the convenience of a built coop, build one yourself. Purchasing a chicken coop plan is a fraction of the cost, and you can customize to your liking.

?  Purchase supplies locally. When you purchase your food or supplies online you’re paying the marked up cost for convenience in addition to a shipping and handling cost. If you find a deal that’s hard to pass up online, keep in mind that when you purchase online returning the item is difficult. In addition, you will not have the opportunity to inspect the item before purchasing.

?  Raise your own chickens. Adults chickens can cost more money depending on the breed. You also have no say in how the flock was raised or what they were fed before coming to you. By raising your flock from eggs or as chicks you now have the ability to monitor what they consume, how they are treated, and how much you spend to do so.

?  Free range your flock. Over time the purchase of food can drive up the cost of caring for chickens. Rather than keeping your flock strictly on a feed diet, allow your flock to free range as well. Provide your flock with a clean and safe area for them to free range. Your chickens will get much needed vitamins and minerals from eating free range in addition to saving you plenty of money.

?  Make your own food. Save even more money feeding your flock by making your own feed for the flock. By making your own feed you’ll be saving money and you’ll know exactly what your flock will be eating, with no added fillers or preservatives.

?  Keep your flock healthy. If one chicken gets sick you risk your entire flock growing ill, which can then cause you to lose lots of money in vet fees or lost profit. Through proper nutrition and shelter you’ll be providing your flock with the opportunity to have a long and healthy life. If you’re raising your flock for food you’ll want to make sure your flock receives the best nutrition to ensure you receive the best quality food as well.

Following these tips you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars when raising chickens, as well as provide your flock with a good quality of living.


Why You Should Start Farming Your Own Food

If you’ve been debating on starting your own farm, now is the perfect time to do so. On the other hand, if you’re still on the fence on whether or not farming your own food is for you, here are just a few reasons:

We live because we supply our bodies with the nutrients it needs to survive. Without proper nutrition our bodies suffer and give out on us. Many items purchased from a grocery store promise good health and claim to be packed with the vitamins and minerals your body needs. What they fail to tell you on the label is that so many items claiming to be “healthy” are also packed with preservatives and chemicals that end up doing more harm than good. Avoid this by raising your own food. Through proper care and monitoring you’ll grow a crop fit to feed your whole family, without all the harsh additives other food contains.

Food is expensive. If you go to your local grocery store you’ll notice the price of items is steadily rising. It may be as small as a penny, but over time that penny adds up. Items such as vegetables, fruits, and chicken have increased almost double in cost over the past decade or two, and will continue to grow in price. By planting your own crops and raising your own chickens you decrease the cost of food by half, if not more. Your crop provides plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, while your chickens provide plenty of eggs and meat. You can even raise your own cattle for milk and meat as well. Now the only thing you’ll need to purchase from a grocery store is a few spices, perhaps bread, pasta, or rice if you desire it, and the occasional miscellaneous item.

Lessen your carbon footprint by eliminating the heavy machinery and poisons that pollute so much of our foods. By purchasing from big stores you’re not only polluting your body, you’re also contributing to the pollution of the world. Popular food brands process and produce their foods in large factories that pump out toxins into the air and water. By raising your own food you’re cutting all of that out. You monitor what goes on and around your food, and can even use non electrical hand tools to eliminate all forms of pollution. Take a deep breath of the fresh air you’re contributing to without all the harsh pollutants. Doesn’t that feel better already?

And, finally, if you have children, this is a great opportunity to teach! By teaching your children how to grow their own plants and raise their own flocks, you’re not only teaching them responsibility but you’re also teaching them survival. If, for some reason, stores were to run low on food items (with our population increasing every year this isn’t too far off) your children will now know and understand the basics on survival and raising their own food. You will have given them a lesson that will be irreplaceable!

Join the food revolution today, and you’ll be on your way to being completely self-sufficient. 

ChickenHousesPlus.com provides fertile chicken eggs to schools for their projects and research centers for their research.  We carry poultry supplies and organic feed. 


All about Barred Rocks Chickens.

The Barred rocks breed of chicken is casually referred to as "rocks" in breeder circles. They're a cold hardy breed that is ideal for small individual farms. They're also a favorite of small backyard flock owners since they double up as great pets too. Their name comes from the odd greyish rock pattern of their feathers. It's eerily similar to rocks with a barred white pattern. This chicken breed is sometimes also referred to as Plymouth Rock. However, it's better to not confuse these two as the name "Plymouth rock" refers to its extended family and not the barred rock variety by itself. Now let's get to know a little more about this unique breed of chicken.

Barred rocks are very hardy birds and can usually adapt to any situation. They also tend to survive cold weather much better. This makes them the bird of choice for small individual farm owners. This quality is important because poultry in flocks keep warm by sticking together but a few chickens in a coop can't survive without being resistant to cold weather. This breed of chicken has an interesting history too. It was first introduced as a breed in England in 1869 following a long process of cross breeding that involved Dominiques, Cochin, Black Javas and probably a couple of other exotic chicken breeds like the Malay and Dorkings.

The Plymouth Rock breed came from the original Barred rocks breed. All varieties of Plymouth rock were produced by crossing the Barred rock breed with other chicken breeds. The Barred Rock is the first and oldest member of the Plymouth Rock family. This chicken breed carries a combination of some of the best farm chicken qualities like docility, hardiness and broodiness. The barred rock chicken is also excellent at producing meat and eggs and is renowned for being a very docile bird that doesn't create much of a ruckus like other chicken breeds do.

By nature, Barred Rocks live quite long. Though they are prized for their egg laying abilities, they also make excellent meat. The hens usually weigh about 3kg while the cock weighs about 3.4kg to 4.3kg. This is a dual purpose bird and is usually either a good layer or a great source of meat. The trademark feature of the barred rock is its bright red face and red earlobes. A single comb of average size marks their crown and their beaks are tipped bright yellow. This breed is usually known for its excellent temparament and docility. They are friendly birds that get along really well with people.

ChickenHousesplus.com carry a wide range of fertile chicken eggs, fertile duck eggs and chicken coops. 

Since Barred rocks are prized for both their meat and eggs, the latter is given more importance. A hen will usually be allowed to live out much of its egg laying days before it is taken for its meat. However, barred rock hens that don't lay many eggs are often consumed as meat very early. The eggs laid by this breed are brownish pink in color and the number of eggs a barred rock hen lays is directly dependent on the strain it comes from. ChickenHousesPlus.com has a large variety of fertile chicken eggs of different breeds, duck eggs, guinea eggs, bantam eggs and chicken egg incubators. We are a one stop shop for all of your backyard chicken needs

What is the Ameraucana Chicken About?

The Ameraucana chicken, which is also spelled out as the Americana
chicken in some cases, is one of the more interesting chickens to grow. It has one of the more attractive designs of any chicken to take a look at.

The Ameraucana chicken was originated out of Chile. It is not clear as to how early the chickens were found but they are believed to be from the early part of the twentieth century. They were first explained to the civilized world in that period of time. The Mapuche Indians of Chile had been raising them for a while. The Ameraucana chicken was eventually harvested and brought into many other parts of the world, particularly the United Kingdom.

The American Poultry Association officially recognizes this breed of chicken in the Miscellaneous class. This is primarily due to its color considerations.

The comb on the chicken is a pea comb. This features a series of ridges that go from the beak to the top of the chicken's head. The middle ridge is higher up than the rest.

The tail will be positioned at a unique angle. It is about forty-five degrees over a horizontal pattern.

The wattles are not very visible. The chickens do have wattles in most cases but they will not be easy to notice.

The earlobes on the Ameraucana chicken are red. They have a pale appearance on the females in this breed.

The color of the chicken can vary. It can be brown, black or blue in most cases. The males tend to have more of an orange tint to them. A silver appearance may be found on a few of these chickens as well. The designs will vary by each chicken.

The feet are white on the bottom. The shanks are also blue and gray in color. The eyes have a red-brown tone to them.

The size of the Ameraucana chicken is relatively small when compared to other chickens. A rooster can be six to seven pounds in weight. A hen will be around five to six pounds.

This breed is a dual purpose breed that is used for eggs and meat alike. It is best suited for egg production though. It can handle about 250 eggs in the course of a single year.

The eggs are especially unique. The chicken will produce eggs that are often blue or green in color.

The meat that is produced off of the chicken will be very scrumptious. It is often compared in quail meat in terms of its flavor.

Finally, the chicken can be calm and quiet and works well in confined spaces. There are some cases where a chicken might become hostile to people who try to handle it. It may also become tough on other chickens. Some males may even try to rape other hens. It is often best to keep this chicken in confinement. It will at least be calm in this environment.

You can find fertile Ameraucana eggs at ChickenHousesPlus.com. We offer chicken eggs, bantam eggs, duck and guinea eggs and even incubators for all kinds of eggs. We offer everything you need in one stop.v

All about the Black Australorp Chickens

One of the best egg laying chicken is the black australop developed in Australia. Here keepers required a breed with the ability to lay consistently regardless of season or weather pattern. It is considered a large breed chicken with hens that weigh an average of 7 pounds and roosters weigh about 8 to 9 pounds.

They have their origin from Australia where they were bred from black orpingtons from England hence the name Austal for Austarlai and Orp for Orpington. It was bred as a dual purpose or utility purpose bird to provide both meat and eggs.

They have black pretty feathers that sometimes take a green shimmers when there is sunlight. Although smaller in size, they gave the ability to produce over two hundred and fifty brown eggs per hen each year. Upon maturation they will weigh about five pounds and have a white pinkish skin.

Most chicken enthusiast understands the value of having these birds in their farm. Although not very common people have every reason to look for them since they have the ability to provide consistent income when well bred. Their white pinkish color and small body size is what makes them different from the black jersey giants.

This breed has a sweet, calm, dignified and docile temperament and they do not mind being confined apart from being somewhat shy. As dual purpose birds they are renowned for their sweet and excellent meat. For individuals thinking of rearing chicken for subsistent reason, then this is the breed to go for.

As if that is not all, these birds are excellent brooders and have the ability to sit on eggs and care diligently for them until they hatch. Since they are meat birds, people can slaughter the old ones for a great delicacy. It is considered as a fairly rare bird and breed despite being an all round chicken. However, there are many reasons why many people are now opting to have the bird in their farm or home.

This is without doubt an all rounded bird and has the ability to endure extremely harsh weather conditions and especially winter season excellent for laying and brooding chicken. Additionally, they are not prone to flying too high above the sky making them best to be reared in a fenced location. With these birds in the compound, there is no need to worry about them escaping due to this inability to fly too high.

Ensure that you are able to take them home as soon as they arrive and be sure to follow whatever directions send by the hatchery. These are very wonderful chickens for people with desire to keep an all rounded bird that is easy to keep and maintain within a home.

To get some black australorp, there are numerous hatcheries online that can send people one day old chick upon order and request. The hatcheries will ship them through email as perishable items since they will not need food or water during the initial couple of days. They get their nutrition from the eggs making it possible to ship them over a given distance.v

Respiratory Disease In Chickens

Respiratory disease in chickens is a common worldwide occurrence with the most common season for these diseases being in the winter months. This is better noted in the temperate poultry-producing areas. There are quite a number of viruses and bacteria responsible for these diseases, as well as some other factors which may aggravate or set the right conditions for these diseases to occur. Some of these predisposing conditions include poor ventilation, ammonia and dust.

The bacteria responsible for such diseases include Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale and E. coli, while the viruses include Lentogenic Newcastle disease virus and the Avian pneumovirus. The mortality rate from these respiratory diseases in chicken may be 5-10 percent, sometimes even high if the condemned birds are included. Below are some common respiratory disease in chickens and their symptoms.

1. Mycoplasma Gallisepticum Infection

Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG) is a bacterium responsible for the onset of the chronic respiratory disease in chickens, and also infectious sinusitis in other poultry and birds. It is transmitted through carrier eggs, with most commercial flocks being free from this bacterium. However, it can be introduced to a flock if it is mixed with carrier flock.

Symptoms of Mycoplasma Gallisepticum

There are a number of obvious signs and symptoms of MG. Others are not so obvious and especially in young flock. Sometimes, the chicken may also show no outward signs at all. Some of these signs and symptoms include:

- Coughing
- Presence of a sticky nasal discharge
- breathing difficulties
- sneezing
- face swelling
- airsacculitis
- Presence of a foamy secretion in the eyes
- lowered appetite
- lowered body weight
- A decrease in egg production

In young poultry, you may notice rattling, sneezing, and sniffling. There is also some stunted growth of the chicken when they get infected with MG. As the infection gets worse, you may notice wattles and a blue comb, meaning that there is very limited oxygen supply to the tissues. This is a strong indicator of a severe infection that compromises the chicken's life.

MG bouts are commonly triggered by weather changes, a change in the home of the chicken, poor diet, lack of water, and any other factor that increases stress in the chickens. Avoiding stress for your poultry may reduce the chances of this infection.

2. Avian RhinoTracheitis (ART)

This is a viral disease, also referred to as the swollen head syndrome, SHS, thick head, or facial cellulitis. It is caused by a Paramyxoviridae family pneumovirus. The mortality rate from this disease is anywhere between 1-10 percent.

Signs and symptoms

- Swollen sinuses
- decreased appetite
- Swollen tracheitis

In broilers and their breeders you may notice red swollen eyes, sneezing, face scratching using the legs, head swelling that is progressive, and lowered egg production in the breeders.

3. Infectious Bronchitis (IB)

This is one of the most common chicken infections caused by a Coronavirus which varies antigenically. The depth of this infection varies depending on a number of factors including the birds' age, virulence of the virus, vaccination done prior to infection, maternal immunity, and presence of other complicating infections. The mortality rate from this disease is anywhere between 0-25 percent.

Signs and symptoms

- Loss of appetite
- Depression
- coughing
- Gasping
- Dyspnoea
- Huddling
- Diarrhea
- Wet litter
- Diuresis

4. Infectious LaryngoTracheitis (ILT)

This is a viral infection in chicken caused by a herpesvirus that varies in pathogenicity. It has a mortality rate of 10-20 percent but this may sometimes be as high as 70 percent. The causative virus can be spread through air and is highly resistant when outside a host. However, it is quite susceptible to disinfectants. Mixing and moving a flock is one of the major predisposing factors.

Signs and symptoms

- Gasping
- Coughing
- Dyspnoea
- Reduced egg production
- Discharge from the eyes
- Nasal discharge
- Sinusitis

Treatment for respiratory infections and diseases in chicken

Most of the infections caused by bacteria can be treated using antibiotics. However, for the viral infections and diseases, there may be no cure. All you may need to do is to control the secondary bacterial infections. Some common treatment options include use of Agrimycin®-343 Soluble Powder , Tylan Soluble Powder, and Lincomycin-Spectinomycin. Sodium salicylate may be used in acute infection of IB, but only when permitted.

The bottom line is that you should keep your poultry houses clean and well ventilated to reduce possibilities of infection. Make sure to also vaccinate your poultry on time, where applicable, and also use broad spectrum antibiotics and sulfonamides to treat bacterial infections. This will help you easily get rid of respiratory disease in chickens.v

How to Identify a Healthy Chicken

It is very important to learn how to identify a healthy chicken. This is especially true if you keep chicken or you want to buy some. Leaning what to look out for could help you know if any of your birds is sick and help you provide treatment before it's too late. Alternatively, you can avoid wasting money buying a sick bird only for it to die soon afterwards. While some people are experts at identifying signs of sickness in chicken, most have to learn the technique. In any case, it is better to regularly examine each individual bird for signs of ill health.

 A physical examination is the best way to find out how healthy your birds are. There are some physical markers you should be on the lookout for. A healthy chicken is usually alert and active, at least during the day. Any bird that shows signs of excessive drowsiness or lethargy should be examined.  Watch out for any bird that sits away from the rest of the flock with its head tucked in close to the body and in a hunched up pose. This could be a sign that the bird is not healthy.

 The chicken's comb is another good indicator of the bird's health. It should be bright red in colour. A pink comb is normal in hens and simply indicates that the bird is not in lay while a red one indicates she is. If the comb has a bluish colour you should take it as a warning that the bird has poor blood circulation and is not in good health. A comb full of scabs shows that the bird has been in fights. You should take care to assess the temperament of a cock before buying it. Purchasing a bird which likes to fight will only antagonise and disturb the rest of the flock.

 Another sign of a healthy chicken is shiny feathers which have a nice sheen to them. You should examine each bird for signs of parasites. The most common ones are lice and these have a habit of hiding between a chicken's feathers. Also take a look at the shanks of the feet. The scales should be smooth. Protruding scales could be a sign that the bird has scaly leg mites. The feathers under and around the vent should be clean and not messy. Birds which have dirty and scruffy feathers should be examined for any signs of illness. The bird should also have straight toes with no bending or twisting.  Bent toes do not always indicate sickness since it could be a genetic trait. Such birds should not be allowed to breed with the others.

 While examining the bird, check the eyes to ensure they are bright and clear. Any discharge or bubbles around the eyes and nostrils could point to respiratory problems. If the bird wheezes when breathing, you have reason to suspect it has a respiratory problem. A healthy chicken has an upper and lower beak which meet at the middle. They do not cross over each other.

 Learning these few signs enables a person to tell which birds are sick and which ones are healthy.

 ChickenHousesPlus.com has a large variety of fertile chicken eggs of different breeds, duck eggs, guinea eggs, bantam eggs and chicken egg incubators. We are a one stop shop for all of your backyard chicken needs. All breeds of day old chicks on sale now, join our mailing list to be notified when chicks become available to ship. We have specials on all of our fertile chicken, duck and bantam fertile eggs.



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All breeds for chicks on sale, straight run only

breeds that we have available to hatch are the following

Jersey Giant - Dual Bird - Eggs and Meat

Rhode Island Reds - Brown Egg Layer

White Leghorns - White Egg Layer

Americana - Blue/Greenish and Pinkish Egg Layer

Black Australoup

Barred Rocks



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The Five Most Common Backyard Chicken Flock Diseases

The growing popularity of keeping a backyard flock of poultry for their nutritious eggs, or even their meat, means that people who have no experience with chicken diseases are now faced with learning to diagnose and prevent the spread of pathogens among their flock. Although the backyard is generally a much more healthy living environment than a large commercial farm, owners of a backyard flock need to be familiar with common chicken diseases that might affect their flock.
Fowl Pox
Although this disease is also called chicken pox, it is not the same as the human disease. Transmitted directly from chicken to chicken or by mosquitoes, fowl pox is a viral disease that can be prevented by mosquito control and vaccination. The dry form of the disease is characterized by warty bumps on the face or legs. In the wet form, lesions form inside the mouth and air passages. Chickens can get both types at the same time. As this is one of the chicken diseases caused by a virus, there is no treatment.
Respiratory Diseases
There is a wide range of conditions that can cause coughing, sneezing and runny eyes in chickens. Consulting a vet knowledgeable about chicken diseases is the best way to discover what is causing the problems in your flock. Avian flu has respiratory symptoms as well as other viral chicken diseases.
Infectious Bronchitis
Infectious bronchitis is highly contagious and also affects the respiratory tract, but other symptoms may be present as well. Great difficulty breathing is noticed primarily at night. The chickens will eat and drink less, and egg production drops significantly. If eggs are laid, the shells are rough and the whites watery. This is also a viral disease and there is no treatment. Try to keep the chickens warm and comfortable, avoiding drafts.
External Parasites
External parasites include fleas that can also infect your household pets. Search for fleas around the head area, looking closely near the comb and eyes. Treat all external parasites with medication developed for chickens. Mites are tiny and may not be noticed, but can spread disease in your flock. Tics also affect birds and can transmit diseases. Lice are another common parasite on chickens.
Internal Parasites
Internal parasites are less common than external parasites, but young birds with immature immune systems may be particularly susceptible if they are exposed to older birds that carry parasites. Worms are quite common but rarely cause serious problems in the birds. If you notice weight loss or diarrhea, take the bird's feces to a vet for examination. Coccidiosis can be fatal to young birds, so keep the coop clean and dry to help prevent this disease.
As with human diseases, the best method of caring for your backyard flock is to practice prevention methods. Thoroughly cleaning the chicken coop, protecting your chickens from exposure to disease, buying vaccinated chicks, and maintaining an overall healthy environment for your backyard flock will go a long way in preventing chicken diseases. Keep any newly acquired chickens isolated from the flock long enough to be sure they are disease free. Most chicken hatcheries vaccinate chicks at one day old, preventing many of the most common virally caused chicken diseases.

ChickenHousesPlus.com carries some medication for your flock.



Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs

ChickenHousesPlus.com supplies schools, Universities and Homeschoolers with fertile chicken eggs, fertile duck eggs and incubators.  We are a one stop shop for all of your chicken needs.  [Read More]

How to Raise Chickens – Tips on Raising Chickens

Raising a coop full of chickens can be a fun and educating experience. Chickens can be hatched or bought from local farmers. They can also be ordered through a number of different hatcheries. If you are learning how to raise chickens then it is best to buy already hatched chicks. It is also recommend to only try raising female chickens, hens, the first time you raise chickens. Roosters can be aggressive, territorial and very loud.

Housing - Find the right Chicken Coop

Before bringing the young chicks home a brooder should be set up for them to spend four to five weeks in. A brooder can be made of almost any type of cage or tub. The brooder should be large enough for the chicks to be able to spread out comfortably. Wood shaving should be used to line the floor of the brooder. The bedding should be changed daily to avoid smell and illness.

Once the chicks are old enough to go outside they will need a chicken coop. The coop should be large enough to shelter the chickens from wind and rain. The chickens will also need enough room for them to scratch at the ground and search for bugs. Most hens will begin to lay eggs around six months. Having a chicken coop will make it a lot easier to find those eggs before they spoil.

Food and Water

The chicks will eat food called crumbles at this time. This type of chick food can be bought in either medicated or non-medicated form. Feeding medicated food will help avoid an illness killing off most of the chickens later on. When you feed non-medicated food then you will have to be especially careful about keeping the brooder and the chicken coop clean. Once the chicks reach a few weeks then you can fed them worms or bugs found in the yard or garden. Avoid feeding them green bugs. This could cause loose droppings and may get the chick sick. Full grown chickens can be feed a well balanced chicken feed. They will also scratch in the dirt looking for worms and bugs.


Chicks drink a lot of water, and will need to have clean water available to them at all times. Automated water containers are very helpful. These will help keep the water clean, and can be easily removed to be cleaned.


You will also need a heating lamp to help maintain the temperature. The behavior of the chicks can help determine the settings used on the heating lamp. If the chicks huddle close together constantly then they are chilly, and the lamp should be moved closer. If they act sluggish, and avoid contact with each other then they may be too warm. As the chicks' feathers grow then the lamp can be raised higher and higher.

The chickens can be placed outside once their adult feathers have come in. Temperatures should not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Otherwise the young chickens may freeze.

Outside Time

When learning how to raise chickens it is important to have fun, and that means for the chicks also. Chickens are very curious creatures, and love to wonder around. Play time outside is a great way to get the chickens use to living outside later on also. Be very careful to keep an eye on the chicks while they are outside. They can get stuck easily, and are very venerable to larger prey animals, like dogs and cats.

Rhode Island Red Chickens

Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular breeds of chicken, and for good reason! These hardy, easy keepers do well in almost any climate, are great layers of brown eggs, and come in both standard size and a much smaller bantam size. Developed in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the 1840's, early flocks contained chickens of various colors and comb types, but the most common color today is a lovely deep red that has become the most identifiable characteristic of this iconic breed. Curious and athletic, and able to handle poor diets and even poorer weather, they're a great choice for small flocks. Although usually gentle, quiet, and sociable both towards humans and other chickens, Rhode Island Red chickens can be feisty and independent, and their seemingly endless curiosity can get them into trouble. They can be kept in close quarters, but often become restless and pushy in really tight confinement. These traits, however, also make them great foragers a quality which makes them popular among backyard flocks.


Hens begin laying early, and though they will not always lay in the extreme heat or cold, they can lay more than 200 large medium sized brown eggs a year.  It isn't too unusual for them to lay large eggs in their first year, and they may go on to lay double yolked eggs in subsequent years. Because of their egg laying abilities, Rhode Island Red chickens are often used in some of the most common commercial hybrids such as red sex links, ISA browns, and golden sex links. As you may guess from some of the names, the color of day old chicks from some of these hybrid crossings depends on their gender, making it easy to sort females from males as soon as they are hatched.


Roosters are large and handsome, and are big enough as cockerels that Rhode Island Reds are considered a "dual purpose breed", meaning that while the hens make great layers, extra males and older hens traditionally provided large and meaty carcasses for the Sunday dinner table! Don't be too quick to send young roos to the freezer, though. They can make for very watchful protectors of the flock, will warn of intruders, and can even make great pets.

The hens rarely go broody, making them ideal for flocks where the maximum number of eggs is wanted. But beware: because of their popularity, and because they are so widely available, some flock lines are considered much better layers than others. If you are considering keeping Rhode Island Red chickens, do your research and make sure you get your birds from a reputable source. Also be aware that there are both "production" lines and "show" lines. In show quality lines, chickens are bred to have close to perfect color and conformation, but may not lay quite so many eggs in a given year as their less pretty relatives.

For adaptability, willingness to forage for some of their own food, personality, and egg laying ability, it's really hard to beat Rhode Island Reds. Whether standard size, bantam, show quality or production variety, these chickens will continue to be among the most popular breeds worldwide.


Day One: Raising Chickens

Have you decided to raise your own chickens? If so, you may be at a complete loss of where to start. Let’s take it from day one, assuming that you’ve already decided to raise your own flock.

Day One: Where to start?

“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” – S. Parkes Cadman

Start first by ensuring you have the proper facility to raise your flock. Sticking a chicken into a cage is NOT proper facility. A crate or cage can be used for temporary purposes but should never be used as a permanent home. Clean the facility, and ensure there is a safe “home”/chicken coop for your grown chickens to retire to.

If you have decided to raise chickens from eggs, make sure you find a reliable source. Investing in an incubator is an idea if you plan on raising chickens in the long run. Otherwise, some places allow you to rent on.

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” – unknown

Lastly, take your time. Rushing things or skimping on details will result in stale eggs, or chickens that won’t last long.


Hatching Chickens As A Hobby

Are you thinking about raising chickens in the backyard as a hobby? More and more people are interested in doing this. If you are wondering how to begin, there are a number of things you should know in order to get off to a good start to make sure it’s a successful experience for both you and the chickens.  [Read More]

A DIY Brooder Box Guide for your Precious Chicks

Expecting healthy and fluffy chicks is always exciting and the best way to get started is to prepare a brooder box right away. This brooder box will be essential in making sure all of your chicks stay dry and keep warm. A typical brooder box has walls so your chicks are safely contained along with a brooder lamp and a bottom surface with optional shavings. Don't forget that these chicks need to eat food to survive and drink water so be sure that your brooder has the necessary space.


Starting with the brooder's body is recommended because you can use any material for it. It can be a fish tank, storage tub, kiddie pool, or even a cardboard box. Any of these things can pass as a brooder box as long as the chick is in an area of at least two square feet.

Cover is also a vital component of the brooder box if the depth of your chosen container measures over a less than a foot deep. This becomes optional if the box is much deeper. A cover also keeps your chicks safe from harm which may be necessary if you have pets around the house. Any full cover will do as long as your chicks have breathing room. Keep your chicks well ventilated by ensuring that the cover is made of breathable materials.

The purpose of the brooder lamp is to keep your chicks in optimal temperatures. You can achieve appropriate temperature by simply installing a single infrared lamp with a 200-watt bulb. To prevent the dangerous possibilities of starting fires, add a wire guard running underneath the lamp. Make sure that your purchase includes a clamp and reflector as well.

It is up to you on how you want to place your brooder box lamp. Just keep it at a level that looks right for chicks. It also helps to make the lamp accessible to just in case you need to fine-tune the temperature by adding or subtracting five-degree intervals.

You won't be able to figure out the exact temperature unless you have a thermometer. A wire makes things easier in putting the thermometer in place while making it readable too. Another trick is to put a sensor just beneath the lamp.

Next you can move on to the bedding where pine shavings are a smart choice. Place these pine shavings on the bottom portion of your box. Don't worry if you notice your chicks eating them because pine shavings are safe. Just make sure that the shavings are pine and not cedar because cedar shavings are toxic to chicks. Avoid using newspapers as well because their slippery surfaces may cause your chicks to have spraddle legs. If newspapers are your only possible option, the least you can do is to shred them to tiny bits and pieces. Otherwise, consider some alternatives like rice hulls or clean sand.

You can create your own feeder with ease too if you have egg cartons lying around. Just use the egg part and you are all set. If you want to add some style to your brooder box, you are free to pick from various styles and designs that are available in different markets and feed stores. Online sources have even broader selections.

Your chicks will need some encouragement to drink and that is the purpose of the waterers. Rather than getting soaked, the chicks will drink the water instead. The chances are greater if the waterer is in a red hue as it is a lot more visible to the chicks.

These steps are very simple to perform and after a few minutes, your brooder box is all set providing that you start with a complete set of materials.

Suzie O'Conner owns and manages the website ChickenHousePlus.com. Based in sunny Florida, the site offers a variety of quail eggs and fertile chicken eggs. Other fertilized eggs including egg incubators can be found on the site too. It completes the essentials by offering some organic chicken feed, chicken houses, and brooder boxes. You can contact customer service by dial 888-595-5306 or by checking out the live chat located at ChickenHousePlus.com.

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