How To Raise Backyard Chickens
"Backyard chicken production for eggs or meat should be an exciting and beneficial venture. There is no need to take your chickens for walks or even play with them; however you will almost certainly like taking care of and spending time with your chickens. In fact, some backyard chicken farmers view their chickens as pets. Some of the things you require to raise backyard chickens include: adequate housing, protection from predators, health maintenance as well as adequate feed.
You will also need a chicken coop with a roof and four walls. This will protect your birds from the elements and provide comfort and safety. The coop should have an attached fenced-in run plus chicken wire and mesh on every side. This type of housing allows for flexibility when caring for your birds. For example, there will be no need for you to bother about returning home before dark, to send the chickens into their coop or waking up early in the morning to release the birds from their coop. Practically any poultry house will work fine - be it a hand made shelter built from scrap materials, custom build coop, or a repurposed shed, provided that it is secure, and has sufficient space for your chickens to run around.
The type of feed you purchase for your birds will be dependent upon the type of chickens you keep. If you keep layers, then you will need a type of feed known as layers mash. You will also need to give your layers calcium supplements because they are producing eggs. If you keep roasters and broilers then you will need broiler feed mix. You should also consider allowing your chickens to free range, because they will benefit from eating weeds, fresh grass, worms, ants and bugs. These can improve the nutritional value, taste and quality of your chickens' eggs and meat. In addition, you can feed kitchen as well as table scraps like leftover rice, vegetable peels, apple cores, wilted lettuce plus soured milk to your birds.
When keeping backyard chickens, dogs, hawks, cats, raccoons, foxes, opossums and other natural predators can be a serious threat to their productivity and life. Thus, if you want to be a successful backyard chicken farmer, it is extremely important that you prevent these predators from gaining access to your chickens. As long as you have a solid coop in which your chickens will stay when you are not around, and are watchful when they are out foraging, your flock should be safe from these predators.
Poultry do not require a lot of veterinary care. Generally, chicks are vaccinated against major poultry diseases at the hatchery. Also, they generally stay healthy, if they are properly raised, away from sick animals and given adequate sunshine exposure. Any birds that actually fall sick are usually removed from the flock so as to prevent additional disease manifestations. When rearing backyard chickens, you will rarely experience sickness or disease within your flock. Expect your chickens to be in good health. Provide sufficient space for your chickens to run around and sandy area where the birds can scratch. Your chickens should also have a shady area to rest.
On the whole, backyard chicken farming can be an exciting and highly productive experience. Chickens enjoy eating kitchen leftovers as well as green grass. However they can also do well on basic chicken feed. Provided that you meet the basic requirements of your chicken, you can be sure that they will provide you and your household with a good supply of meat, eggs or both."
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