Tips on Raising Backyard Chickens
So suddenly you have found yourself interested in raising chickens. Or maybe this is something that you have been dreaming about for a long time now. In either case, it is extremely important to make sure that you are reading everything you can and learning everything there is to possibly know about raising chickens before you even attempt to begin. There are investment costs to consider along with a lot of hard work and sweat.
Once you do get past the start up costs and all of the learning that you have to undergo, you will be happy to know that full grown chicken are low maintenance. Not only are they easy to take care of but they also offer many benefits to the person raising them. Whether you are in the city or in the country you can have your own little set up of backyard chickens. Chickens are no longer just for the farms.
While the first and only thing that normally comes to mind for people is that their chickens are going to be able to provide the owners with eggs, there are more benefits to having chickens around. Besides making fantastic pets, chickens are excellent with bug control around the yard. Before stepping that big leap and ordering your chickens, there are things to consider and items to purchase.
The first thing you want to do is to make sure that you have enough space for your chicken coop. If you don't, this may be the time to re-arrange your yard to give you the space needed. A coop must have at least two square feet for every chicken you will have in it. It is important to make sure that the coop you purchase will keep the chickens dry, safe from their natural predators, and free from drafts. While you could always make chicken houses yourself, it is much easier and safer to go with one made by experience people or companies.
Although it was mentioned that chickens need little care, there is some time that is involved. You have to make sure that you are always available to look the chickens back into their chicken houses at night and to let them out again in the morning hours. Fresh clean water is also needed on a daily basis along with proper feedings. Speaking of feedings it is important to make sure that the chickens are getting a well balanced diet of whole grains. This includes living grains, kernelled corn, whole grains, pure corn, or a mixture of everything. On top of what you give the chickens they will eat a wide variety of bugs and worms to complete their diet.
If it is time to purchase your first incubator you are going to want to make sure that you are putting extra caution into this. Someone inexperienced could very well end up with something that is not going to do the job right. This is not an area where you want to go too cheap just to save a few bucks. Putting the money here to make sure that the incubators are of high quality is well worth it.
Pay attention to the various incubators out there. The two types are that of the forced-air and the still-air. The still-air incubators do not have a fan and require much more of your attention. They will also hatch a much smaller amount of eggs. If you want a larger number of eggs to hatch then the force-air incubators are the right choice for you. Of course, there is nothing better then a setting hen to do the job. But since setting all the time can take its toll on a hen you may experience problems with that route.
Fertile eggs will require a lot of your attention so make sure that you are doing everything you can to make sure that they have the best shot possible. You have to make sure that you are also turning those eggs daily. The best way to keep track is to mark one end of the egg with an X and the other end with an O
Many people love the idea of simply having free range chickens instead of keeping their chickens locked up in chicken houses. While this is probably the best way for the chickens to live and they certainly enjoy it, you must know that your land situation may not be the best for it. If you live close to a road that is full of traffic then free range chickens are not the way to go. Also, there are many township or city laws that prohibit free range chickens because of the problems it may cause for the neighbors. Before going any further make sure that you are checking your town laws to make sure that you are staying on the right side of the law.
When it comes down to it there is a lot to consider and get prepared for before you bring chickens into your backyard. Once they are there and everything is in place you should have no problems maintaining everything. It will all be worth it in the end when you see all of the eggs you end up with. There will be plenty for your family and for the neighbors as well. And maybe after a while you may decide to start using some of your chickens that you raise as food, in terms of the meat that they provide for humans.
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