Many cities are allowing residents to keep a few chickens in their yards now that the economy is getting tougher. This means that more people have a chance to grow their own fresh eggs. Why is this better than what you get in the store? Store eggs are often several weeks old by the time we get them, and they are not as nutritious. Chickens raised in cages on commercial feed produce eggs that are lacking in many nutrients, while chickens raised in your backyard with access to fresh air, greens and insects will produce eggs that are not only more nutritious, but they have more flavor, too.
Chickens are easy to care for. Once they have feathered out all you need to do is make sure they have food, water and protection from the elements and predators. This can easily be done with many small coops you can purchase readymade. For instance, a small A frame style coop can hold up to 2 or 3 chicken hens, depending on their size. This style of coop has a small protected area for them to sleep in, and a run where they can go out at will to pick at grass and bugs or enjoy the fresh air. These small coops can easily be picked up and moved around the yard so the chickens get fresh forage every day or so. In return, they are happy to fertilize your garden.
These A frame style coops don't look like your standard chicken coop, and they can fit in nicely in any backyard. They are also versatile enough to be used with other pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs or large reptiles if you find that backyard chickens are not your thing.
You'll want to feed your chickens a standard chick starter until they are ready to lay eggs. Then you'll want to switch to a layer ration. Table scraps can also be added, as well as what they forage. You may need to provide calcium or grit if they need it.
When your chicken hens are about four or five months old, they will begin to lay eggs. Eggs will come sporadically at first, and then they'll begin to lay one almost every day. Depending on the breed you get, your chickens may lay white, cream, tan, brown or green eggs. Most hens will lay a variation of white or brown eggs.
There is nothing like fresh eggs! The yolk is bright orange and round. Even the white has enough body to stay thick when you pour it into a pan. Use your eggs for baking, frying, scrambling or anything you'd like. The one thing that is more difficult with fresh eggs is boiling. The shell is difficult to peel off of a fresh egg. Save your boiling for when you get a back up of eggs that are at least a couple of weeks old.
You'll find that your hens soon become pets. They will look forward to their daily treat of table scraps. They will beg for bits of bread. Instead of bringing you fleas, they will bring you eggs. Chickens can be a lot of fun as well as help provide groceries.
Posted by Suzie OConnor @ 06:10 PM EDT