Raising chickens: pains and gains
Poultry breeding is an agricultural sphere that is easily accessible almost for each family. Of course, those who start setting up their own chicken farm bear in mind that having fresh eggs for breakfast is a real pleasure.
Your own hencoop: possible difficulties and conditions
If someone is planning to buy a flock and doesn’t imagine how to raise a chicken he should take into account several aspects:
- It will be necessary to build a hencoop, which must contain drinking bowl, feeder and nest boxes. A hencoop should be spacious enough to facilitate eggs collecting and cleaning procedures. There also should be a ventilation system
- Hens must be fed regularly
- Hens will lay eggs as long as they have no less than 12 daylight hours
- A henhouse must be under constant control. If its owner went away, he would have to find chicken-sitter.
It is difficult for a chicken to live lonely therefore initial flock must consist of 4-6 birds. Each hen requires 2 square feet space. Overpopulation and free space shortage in the coop will lead to declined life quality and sickness.
Choosing the breed
There are plenty of breeds. If you are really interested about how to raise chicken you will have to examine several breeds in terms of number of produced eggs, appearance, temper, noise level and ability to cope with confinement. Moreover different breeds have various features: some of them are kept for eggs, others – for their meat. Most of them easily adapt to every climate, but some varieties have special needs concerning heat or cooling.
Chickens are normally sold by local farmer or hatchery at different age:
- Day-old poults need special conditions including red brooder lamp to live and grow up. They will lay first eggs in six months.
- Hens that are 5 month old are ready to be placed into the coop and produce eggs. They are more expensive than small chickens
- Mature hens are also an option but it is difficult to find them and they can be too old to produce high-quality eggs.
Many sources say that it is normal to keep hens of various ages if they have enough room to live. It is also critical that chickens must have constant access to clean water and food. Drinking bowls should be shallow in order to prevent chickens from drowning. Red bulbs are crucial to be used in a coop because red light doesn’t show injuries. Otherwise hens can peck and traumatize each other.
To sum up, raising chickens is not very expensive but nevertheless responsible operation requiring patience and persistence. If you succeed in it, you’ll have fresh eggs for a long time period. It is necessary to remember: chickens come home to roost.