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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.

 
 

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


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.

 

 
 

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.

Temperature

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.

 
 

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.

v
 
 

Raising Chickens from home.

All chickens need the following to be successful, happy, and healthy.

  1. Be sure that whatever area you do provide for your flock, you also provide plenty of safety. A fence is ideal for safety, allows for your flock to roam free but also still keeps them safe from predators. For ideas, tips, and tricks to keeping your flock safe, visit our website today.
  2. It comes as no surprise that a proper diet is needed. In order to keep your flock happy and successful, they must first be healthy. Check with local vets or feed stores to figure out what is the best food for your flock
  3. If you have decided to raise your flock for their eggs, be sure to provide them adequate space to nest in. Also be sure to provide plenty of materials for your chickens to use to create their own nest. A flock should have a home to retire to, such as a well built chicken coop.
 
 

Raising Chicken for Food

If you’ve decided to raise your own chickens for food, here are a few tips to follow.

Avoid steroids and other chemicals for your flock. Although these materials may make your chickens larger, it is unhealthy for you. Any unnecessary chemicals can also cause damage to your birds as well.

If you are gathering eggs, be sure to handle with care. Any eggs that are fertilized do not wash as this could damage the baby chick. Check local and state standards for any eggs that you plan to sell. There are many rules and regulations regarding the proper handling and care for food being sold on the market.

Additionally, any meat you plan on selling, be sure to check the regulations as well. If you are planning on selling organically, these rules and regulations are a lot stricter than others. Follow any and all rules from the very beginning, and you’re sure to have a quick turnover and sale.

For purchasing eggs, or chickens, check out www.chickenhousesplus.com.

 
 

Wanting to sell organic chickens? Tips.

For those who are choosing to raise chickens organically for their own purposes, and not for market, take into consideration all that is needed for sale. Your chickens should be fed an organic diet, and allowed to free range.

 It is entirely up to the owner whether or not they feel their chickens should be vaccinated or should receive medicine when sick. A free range chicken on a healthy diet is unlikely to get sick. The best organic chicken is ultimately a happy chicken. Keep your flock healthy and happy by allowing them daily access to a pasture, as well as giving them attention.

Many do not realize that chickens are very social creature and enjoy the human interaction, especially once they become comfortable with that human. Be sure to take all safety measures before allowing your flock to free range to protect against unwanted predators, although allowed to free range the flock should still be monitored.

Additionally, be sure your flock has a coop or house to retire too, or flee to if they feel threatened. And last but not least, always make sure your flock has access to water, and be sure to supply fresh and clean water daily as many contaminants and bacteria build up in water left unattended.

 

 
 

City Living for a Chicken

 

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Fertile Chicken Eggs Black Copper Maran

Black Copper Maran Fertile Chicken Eggs are not only gorgeous but they are considered an exceptional eating egg and highly prized by chefs the world over.  Maran Chickens are a gentle breed generally quiet and docile.  They are also considered to be a “dual” bird in that they supply both eggs and meat.

 Black Copper Maran Fertile Chicken Eggs are a beautiful dark chocolate brown and medium size.  Place your order now for fertile chicken eggs from ChickenHousesPlus.com and you can enjoy these eggs in a few short months and start your own Black Cooper Maran chicken flock.

 
 

Amish Built Chicken Coops Now Available From ChickenHousesPlus.com

Amish Chicken Coops

Amish crafted chicken coops start as low as $375 and may be shipped directly to your home.  Adorable chicken house designs include the “Little Red Hen House”, 4 x 4 Chicken Coop that may be customized to match your house or barn and is perfect for any backyard, a Barn inspired chicken coop for larger flocks and so much more.  Pricing includes delivery to your house.

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When are Chickens Ready to Retire?

Raising hens for the purpose of having fertilized chicken eggs or fresh eggs daily is a good way of always having safe food. You have taken good care of your egg-laying hens since they began performing at six months old. Now, at five years old, your hen has stopped producing eggs. Five years is a long time to spend with an animal and you may have grown fond of her. If you have fond feelings for your hen or think that the chickens would be depressed if she disappeared, it is okay to keep her as a pet.
 
 
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