I know yesterday I talked about eggs, now let’s get into the meatier part of the story. Do you think you would be interested in raising a few chickens at your house or farm? Did you know that many towns these days will let you raise a few chickens in the city limits as long as you don’t have a rooster? I am glad I have a farm because I love to hear the rooster’s crow. There are so many to choose from and depending whether you want to use them for just egg laying or eating them or both, you have a huge variety to pick what is best for you. Being ready to take on the job of collecting eggs every day and cleaning the area, feeders and waters can add work to your already busy day.
Be prepared at any rate, how to raise chickens
Before you get started buying your chickens, do some research on what you need to house them where you will house them and how many you will be buying. Feeders and waterer are things to think about too. What are you going to feed them? Scratch feed for just your everyday feeding but if you plan for eggs you need laying pellets. Will you free range or keep them in a pen? Right now we have our chickens in a large pen because there are too many stray dogs and other predators in our area. There is no ordinance for dogs here either. This poses a huge problem when it comes to protecting your chickens. We have had 50 or more killed in one shot here even though we had them in pens. The dogs dig in and that was devastating because they were all to an age where they were getting ready to lay eggs. Now we have wired bottoms and barbed wire around the edges. Others can let their chickens out and coral them in at dusk and lock them up. We even tried that before. I counted and still count all my babies every day and back when we let ours free range the bird started disappearing every day. We didn’t just have chickens either. We had ducks, geese, guineas and turkeys. It is heartbreaking to see their bodies dismantled or just finding feathers scattered as they were drug off.
Chickens are basically easy to raise if you have a good set up. We use self-waters that hang from a rope to keep the water from getting dirty. We do the feeders the same way because the chickens will scratch out all the food onto the ground and waste it. If you are raising them for eggs you need to have a good nest box when they are of laying age. When buying chickens, I will tell you to buy from a reputable chicken company of farmer. Whether you are buying from chicks which need a lot of TLC or older birds, know how and where your bird started from. We have bought several of our birds from Tractor Supply Company and sometimes it is a hit or miss thing with that. McMurray is a great place to order birds also. We have bought birds from farms that raise them also. Choosing a brooder box and heat source is your next thought. Will you keep them inside or out? Small feeders and waters are needed for this job. And some type of bedding that is dust free and absorbent. Stating a compost is a must when you have to change out bedding every day, chicks tend to be messy. A heat light and good thermometer is needed too, to keep an even temperature. Chicks are smart though because if it gets too hot they will go away from the light. Too cold and they will be right under the light.
Great egg layers are a good choice if you do not want to spend time cleaning birds to eat. Here are several birds that you may find to start out with.
· Rhode Island Red
· Plymouth Rock
· Ameraucana or Easter eggers
Here are some chickens that produce a lot of meat.
· Jersey Giants
· Rhode Island Red
As you can see there is a few on the two lists that overlap each other. So you can have less birds for doing both jobs. There are also many of these birds that are in the Bantam list that produce smaller eggs. Bantam chickens are cute but I like big eggs. But now if you wanted chickens that could produce chicks that is another list of birds because some get broody and sit nicely and some lay eggs and leave them. Here are a few.
Whether you are planning to raise chickens for eggs, meat or babies you always need to be prepared before you ever buy your first birds. Know what is available, know the ordinances in your area and realize that it is a job to raise and protect your birds. There is so much more I could tell you about raising chickens and it could take a little bit more typing but I hope this can get you off to a great start whatever you choose to do.
Quote of the day:
The domesticated chicken is probably the most widespread bird in the annals of planet Earth. If you measure success in terms of numbers, chickens, cows and pigs are the most successful animals ever.
Scripture of the day:
ECC 3: 1 There is an appointed time for everything, a time for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time for birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw stones away and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; 7 a time to rip apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; 8 a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.
Blustery with a chance of rain or maybe snow just depending here you might go.