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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
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
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:14 AM EDT
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
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
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 10:24 AM EDT
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 12:14 PM EDT
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
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
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
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:54 AM EDT
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
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:47 AM EDT
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
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
- Presence of a sticky nasal discharge
- breathing difficulties
- face swelling
- 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
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
- Wet litter
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
- Reduced egg production
- Discharge from the eyes
- Nasal discharge
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
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:45 AM EDT
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
Learning these few signs enables a person to tell which
birds are sick and which ones are healthy.
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:01 AM EDT
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
Visit our store today at chickenhousesplus.com
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 07:12 AM EDT
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 10:21 AM EST
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 10:16 AM EST
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
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
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.
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:09 AM EST
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 11:01 AM EST
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.
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 10:17 AM EST
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 09:55 PM EDT
Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader
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
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
Posted by Suzie OConnor
@ 09:05 AM EDT