How To Raise Chickens

You can have your own fresh eggs every day if you raise your own chickens. Find out how to raise chickens with this informative guide...

As long as you have some space on your property for a chicken coop, you can raise your own chickens and enjoy fresh eggs and maybe even chicken and dumplings if you desire. Raising chickens does not actually have to start out with eggs. You can incubate fertilized eggs, but it is easier to just purchase some chicks from your local hatchery.

Before you get your chicks, you will need to prepare a temporary home for them, either in a large box or in a closed-off area of your basement. You will need chick feeders and waterers. How many you will need will depend, of course, on how the amount of chicks you will have. You can purchase the feeders and the waterers along with the chick starter feed and any other supplies you will need at your local equity or farm supply store.

Place newspaper in the bottom of the box. This will catch their droppings as well as any spilled food or water. You will need to change the paper daily so their box stays clean. Depending on the age of your chicks, they will be either featherless or have very few feathers. They will need to be kept warm for the first couple weeks. Simply set-up a light about three feet above them. This light will need to be close enough to keep the chicks warm, yet not too close. Keep their waterers filled with clean, fresh water at all times. And, feed them about three times a day.

By the time they are about three weeks old, your chicks can be put in their permanent home outside in the chicken coop. The coop will need to be a sound structure with no holes--even small ones--in it. It will need to be able to protect the chicks from weasels, foxes, and other predatory animals. The chicken coop will need roosts. These are wooden dowels or platforms which are several feet up from the ground. Your chicks will also need nests. These are usually small, boxed areas where the hens go to lay their eggs. (Your chicks won't lay eggs for several months yet, but it's best to be prepared anyhow.) Keep them inside the chicken coop for several days until they get used to their new home. Then, you can let them out into the chicken yard in the daytime, but remember to close them back in at night for their protection. You will do this even after they are full-grown birds.

The chicken yard is just a fenced-in area around the chicken coop. There is a special mesh wire you should use for this purpose. You can let your chickens run wild as free as long as you don't mind finding chicken droppings everywhere.

Now, all you have to do is to feed and water your chicks every day, let them in and out of the coop every morning,and at dusk every night, and clean out the chicken coop every so often. When your hens reach about a year old, they will begin laying eggs. At that time, you can start collecting eggs every morning after you let the chickens out.

Overall, chickens require little maintenance to take care of them.

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