Eggs from chickens are one of the most eaten items of food in the world, people love them. You can have them scrambled, boiled, fried, poached, in sandwiches and so on. You can even use them in variety of ways for baking and many other recipes.
How great would it be to have access to them just a stone’s throw away for absolutely nothing? You can indeed do this if you decide to keep your own chickens.
How much space do I need?
Similar to gardening, the main stumbling block for a lot of people is owning enough land for keeping chickens. It would be cruel to keep any animal cramped up in a tight space. In light of this, you need to make sure that there is enough green area for them to run around happily and freely.
If you grow any food or plants that you are particularly fond of then you need to be aware that your poultry will enjoy pecking at them. If you don’t want this to happen then clearly you will need to separate them.
What are the costs involved?
Obviously there are some expenses involved in hen keeping. However, the rewards that you will reap will ultimately outweigh the money that you spend. Costs that you will need to pay for include chicken feed, enclosures, medical bills, fencing and buying the animals themselves.
You will need to invest in a hen-house and fill it with hay or sawdust. Also, you they will need a special area for the chickens to lay their eggs, and a perch for them to sleep on.
How do I make an enclosure?
If you want to save money then you could easily convert an old shed or dog kennel into an enclosure for your animals. I would not advise using a disused greenhouse as the high temperatures would be too much for your poultry to bear.
Metal can rust and wood can rot so it may be a good idea to make or buy your coop out of plastic or another sturdy material.
It’s handy and desirable to have two separate chicken runs although I can understand how this might be an impossibility for some people in terms of space. The reason why this is a good idea is because you will be able to hold your fowl in one coop whilst you clean the other one and vice versa.
It’s also nice when one or two birds might be being bullied by the others so they can have some peace and quiet on their own.
How often should I clean?
Regular cleaning is paramount as an unhygienic environment can cause health problems with your birds. This includes draining out the water trough too and filling it pack up with clean, fresh water. You would be surprised how rapidly newly replaced water can turn murky.
How do I feed my chickens?
I usually buy layers pellets for my animals with the occasional handful of corn as a treat. You might want to secure your feeder slightly above ground. Your chickens can easily knock it over, spilling over into the dirt.
What about water?
Your chickens will need to have regular access to water so it may be a good idea to have a water trough within their enclosure.
Be very careful that the water trough isn’t too large or deep as chickens are very capable of jumping in and drowning. Furthermore, they can’t swim and will not be able to get out again.
Where should I keep my chickens?
One of the most common places for people to keep chickens is in their yard or garden. It would be best not to let chickens roam around near any grassland that is valuable to you. As a matter of fact, they eat grass and you will just be left with a patch of mud.
Do I need to treat my birds for diseases?
Every few months it is wise to use a worming product on your chickens in order to prevent disease.
Should I worry about wild animal attacks?
A big danger to keeping any kind of bird is wild animal attacks, particularly foxes and dogs when it comes to keeping chickens. For this reason, it is important that you are cautious and observant especially at night-time when incidents are most common. It is best to avoid letting your chickens out when it is dark.
Alternatively, let them out after it becomes light and lock them away before it goes dark. You shouldn’t have too many problems rounding your animals up at night. After a while the hens will instinctively know when to go into their coop in the evening as they see the light drawing in.
You can also reinforce your fencing and enclosure as an extra precaution. Sadly, sometimes things like this are unavoidable despite your best efforts. For this reason, don’t put all the blame on yourself if you do have the misfortune of experiencing an attack.
There is also the issue of attracting rats and other vermin if you forget to put any leftover food away. Always double-check that you haven’t left any food out.
How do I prevent my chickens from escaping?
You will need to make sure your compound is secure enough to stop any escapees from fleeing. Your perimeter fence will need to be strong enough to resist against this. When you do erect your fence, it would be a good idea to submerge the bottom of your fence a couple of feet into the ground.
The reason for this is the fact that chickens have tough claws. As a result, they have been known to be able to dig surprisingly deep into the earth. You don’t want them tunneling underneath and escaping or even getting stuck and hurting themselves.
Chicken can’t fly very high but just in case, it is quite common to clip the wings of your chickens. This is so that they can’t fly out of their enclosure.
Check the size of the holes in your wire fence. You don’t want the holes in your fence to be wide enough for a chicken to stick its head out during the night. In terms of fox attacks, this can easily lead to instant death.
Can I sell my eggs?
If you find that you have a surplus of eggs you know that you won’t use then you can make money by selling them. You should be able to do this fairly easily with friends and family but you could expand out further to other people if you really wanted to.
Although, you have to be weary of food safety and hygiene laws if you go down this road.
Why have my chickens stopped laying eggs?
It’s normal for hens to stop laying in the winter months as the temperature drops. Chickens also stop laying eggs as the reach old age so if you want a reliable stream of eggs then you might want to buy an extra couple of young birds.
How will my eggs be different?
One of the unique benefits of keeping chickens is that the eggs they lay will be dramatically higher in quality compared to store-bought eggs. You will also be able to eat them right away straight after they have been layed.
You can’t say the same for supermarket eggs as those ones will have aged days by the time they reach the shelves.
What will the neighbors think?
You night want to take the precaution of having a quiet word with your neighbors about your plans to keep chickens. Most people in your community should be fine with it but others may complain. #1 New York Times Bestseller – “Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook” at TonyRobbins.com
If you build a coop large enough to obscure someones view then they may consider it an eyesore. This could case you to run into problems.
Also, you don’t want to cause hassle for your neighbors if your birds escape into next door’s yard. These things happen and are often unavoidable at times but I am just forewarning you.
How do I enforce animal welfare?
There is also an ethical and moral element at play here. If you eat eggs from your own chickens then you will know that their welfare is sound. This is because as their guardian you will be able to ensure that.
The animal care aspect is always questionable when you buy from any other source. This is unless you know for sure that the hens are free range. If you care at all about animals then you may be upset to discover that you have purchased battery chicken eggs.
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