Raising Back Yard Chickens by Chicken Review
Here at Chicken review we think that raising chickens should be a serious matter. There are so many times when people run out to do something just because someone else does it. An example of this is when all those lovely little chicks are sold around Easter and those big eyed children are so happy to see the little guys they can hardly contain themselves.
What happens after Easter? Where do all of those thousands of chicks end up? Well, needless to say the majority of them never live out the month. they either die of neglect, people not knowing how to take care of them or a pet gets them or a child steps on them or….I think you get the picture.
Raising chickens is a responsibility and it should be taken seriously as any other responsibility you may have. Whether it be the little doodle chick at Easter or the flock for the Back Yard, they all need “Your” care. You see, Back Yard Chickens may be able to rummage around the yard and pick up a worm or grasshopper or some other unsuspecting bug but they still depend on you to feed, water and take care them.
Chickens need a balanced diet just like you and I if they are to stay healthy and become good laying hens. They need fresh water to drink. They need adequate shelter from the elements. They need protection from varmints, they need….I think you are getting the picture…Chickens need us to survive and thrive in our surroundings…
It is easy to look at the neighbor or the farmer down the road and see their chickens flourishing and laying eggs and begin to think hey, I can do this too! Well, the truth is you can! You just have to take into account all the responsibility that comes with it.
First, you must provide a place big enough for the desired number of chickens you want. Some cities and towns restrict how many you can have in a flock on a certain sized property. Some ordinances don’t allow them at all in a city limits. Be sure to check with your commissioners before you go out and buy any chickens. You may end up having to try and find a way to get rid of them if you don’t!
If you live in a city or town and have a restricted space it is important to understand the difference between yarding and free range chickens.
Yarding is Back Yard Chickens kept inside a contained structure like a fenced in yard.
Yarding is often confused with free range. The distinction is that free-range poultry are either totally unfenced, or the fence is so distant that it has little influence on their freedom of movement.
When you are looking to raise chickens it is recommended not to put more than 100 chickens per acre for a safe fit. Anything over this and you will need to remove the droppings regularly to accommodate the extra chickens. Too many chickens or too many anything is not good for the area they range on. You can overcrowd anything! Too many chickens will kill off the grass and pollute the runoff of your property. This can lead to health regulations that can cause your flock to be removed for health purposes
Ok, I have an acre of ground that I can dedicate to a flock of chickens! I am going to build a Chicken Coop and run out and get me 100 chickens! What now?
You need to take into consideration the Chicken Coop you are going to build or buy! If you are only going to build one Chicken Coop for 100 chickens it will need to be approx 400 square feet of floor space! Chickens need about 4 square feet of space per chicken! you will need to provide roost in your coop and nest! The roost needs to offer 10” – 12” per hen. The roost keeps the chicken off the floor and out of the nest and makes for a cleaner chicken and cleaner nest. Remember, a chicken takes no stock as to where it poops. It will poop on a nest or egg just the same as on the dirt outside. So providing a place for them to roost keeps it all concentrated to a specific area throughout the night. It also needs adequate ventilation!
You can train your chickens to roost by shutting off the nest after you gather the evening eggs. Yes, the evening eggs. It is important to gather morning and evening to prevent the eggs from being broken and eaten by the hen. Yes a hen will eat a broken egg and if left overnight they can get broken. After the hens have all gone to roost go back out and remove the block from the nest. Doing this for a week or so should train them to roost on their own.
The nest, it needs to be kept clean and a good pad of 4″ – 6″ of hay or other suitable nesting material. The nest needs to be 2′ square per chicken. The nesting material will need changed as it gets dirty.
The benefits of keeping a clean nest and teaching your hens to roost is keeping your eggs and chickens cleaner and less broken eggs. If you don’t have a roost adequate for your chickens they will roost where ever they and perch. On a nest in a corner etc. This leads to a lot of nasty!
Your hen house or Chicken Coop needs to be properly ventilated so no cold blast of air in winter or hot blast of air in the summer will be directed at your flock. The floors need to be kept clean and dry to prevent disease and sickness.
Your chicken is an omnivore! Yes, you chicken will eat most anything! They will eat meat, vegetables insects, scraps, bugs, etc. Even though they sometimes find plenty of this, they still need a balanced diet that only you can provide them to thrive well and be good layers.
In very hot weather conditions it is very important to keep fresh water to your flock. They need fresh water to produce!
Chickens need grit to digest coarse grain feed. Most of the time free range chickens can find plenty in a country setting but in most Back Yard settings you will need to provide the grit for them. This can be purchased at your local feed store or online.
You don’t have to own an acre of land to raise chickens. If you own a large lot or an acre or two you can always just raise a few birds to see how you like it before tackling a big flock.
There are so many thing that go with raising chickens! If you have a small back yard and want to give it a try, by all means we encourage you to do so. Just be responsible and treat them well and they will reward you well with fresh eggs and companionship.
It boils down to the basics, Keep a clean coop, don’t over crowd, keep fresh water and feed and check your ladies often for parasites and mites and you sould be ok. Kinda like raising children!
Our neighbor is a new chicken owner and they have just purchased 25 new hens and roosters mixed. They think they may have 4-5 roosters in the bunch. They are still young and they have told me I can follow their progress in raising them. They have a nice Chicken Coop and yard for them. I plan on following them along and reporting here on the progress!
I know this seemed like a long article but there is so much I didn’t write about like, diseases, medicines, mites, pecking order, the list just goes on and on!
If you are wanting to raise Back Yard Chickens you can do it. Just remember a clean and healthy chicken is a happy chicken! A happy chicken lays healthy eggs for their owners!
Thank you for stopping by Chicken Review again.
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