If you want a comprehensive starter guide that would help you raising backyard chickens, then look no further. We have put together exactly that! In this article, you will find all the information you need to start raring your first flock. Call it backyard chickens 101. But first, why should you raise chickens?
Why Raise Chickens?
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Raise Chickens?
- 2 Types of Chickens
- 3 Predators of Chickens
- 4 Free-Range Chicken Farming
- 5 Chicken Feed
- 6 Chicken Feeder
- 7 Chicken Waterer
- 8 Chicken Coops
- 9 Fencing Options for Your Backyard Chickens
- 10 How to Mate Chickens
- 11 Chicken Egg Incubator
- 12 Common Chicken Illnesses
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
- 14 Bottomline
Chickens are the most commonly raised bird pets around the world. Hardly will you find a home in the conservative areas where no chickens live free in owner’s gardens and compounds. It’s not uncommon to come across a home where they have multiple chicken coops housing dozens of chickens. To answer the question here are some of the reasons why people raise chickens:
One of the common sources of protein in meals is chicken breast. There will be no chicken breast as a source of protein if there are no chickens. You could say, “but there are commercial poultry farms to provide that,” and you will be right. However, most commercial poultry farms will not raise the chicken as you will. They have a target to meet at the end of 8 weeks; you don’t. That gives you more time and flexibility in raising your chickens to maturity when their meats become tastier.
Another point is that you have no idea what the commercially-raised chickens are fed to make them mature so quickly. If you are cautious of what you feed your body, you should at least find out what the chicken that produces your chicken meat is provided, but that will come across as being extremist, right? The easier path is to raise your chickens and feed them nothing but the best that you can provide.
Also, when you purchase stored chicken meat at the supermarket, you might end up with some meats that have been so long in the freezer, you cannot recognize that you’re chewing on chicken meat. Fresh is always better than preserved, and you can achieve that by raising backyard chickens.
At least an egg a day is said to supply the needed amount of amino acids the human body does not produce. Considering the importance of proteins in our daily diet and the cost of purchasing eggs, it is better to raise chickens that produce eggs that you can consume daily.
While commercial poultry farms have to spend a lot on chicken feed, you do not have to pay any extra cost on feeding for your chickens to lay eggs. By raising backyard chickens, you can easily cut down on the cost of purchasing eggs and spend way less amount of money on feeding and helping your backyard chickens flourish.
Reduce food waste
One good thing about raising backyard chickens is that you do not have to throw leftover foods in the garbage bin. With the level of hunger in some parts of the world today, throwing out left-over food has become a humanitarian crime.
However, when you have backyard chickens, they are always ready to help you feast on the leftovers. Chickens are not always picky about what they eat; they can feed on anything edible, as long as it does not get stuck in their throats. The more chickens you raise in your backyard, the less food you have to waste.
An added advantage of this is that you may never have to buy feed if you decide to base your chickens’ feeding on your leftovers. The question left to ask here is; How often do you have leftovers, and can they sustain your chicken until your next leftover meal is ready?
Control insect population
It might surprise you to know that chickens enjoy snacking on small insects. When you watch them peck into the soil, moving along in their path as though they’re pursuing their purpose with a leisurely attitude, they are most likely picking insects off the ground.
Insects can be a menace in a garden, feeding on the leaves of vegetables, boring into fruits, sometimes creating holes in the stems of some plants, thereby making them fall over and die. All of these problems can be significantly reduced if you have enough chickens to hunt these insects.
With backyard chickens to feed on free-range, your vegetables will experience better growth. You have better yield as the chickens will reduce the population of the insects to a point where they won’t cause any significant damage in your garden.
This method of insect control is called the organic pest control method by free-range chickens.
Easy to raise
Chickens are arguably the most easy-going animals, and they are easy to raise in every sense. Get a chicken, feed it once a day, and leave it to roam around. It will take care of itself. On days when you forget to feed it, it will not give you any problem.
Raising backyard chickens does not need any form of expertise on your part. All you need to do is remember to feed and water your chickens and regularly clean out their coop. Unlike with other pets, you do not have to clean after your chickens when they poop. Although you will notice quarter-size droppings around your backyard. As long as that isn’t bothersome to you then you will have no issue when it comes to chicken care and cleanup.
Also, raising backyard chickens does not create a hole in your pocket. They require very little financial support as they can be raised on your leftover foods and do not require any form of sophisticated housing to be raised. You will also find that chicken feed is fairly inexpensive.
Source of Fertilizer
If you have a garden, you should have poultry, especially chicken, as they are an abundant source of fertilizer you can use in growing your vegetables. Chicken poop is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium- nutrients essential for vegetative, root, and fruit production in vegetables and other plants.
In contrast to other pets, chicken poop is easy to handle, and the smell that accompanies it can be effectively dealt with if you or your neighbor does not like it. They contain a lesser amount of weed seeds. Therefore, they keep your garden free of weeds when you use them.
Types of Chickens
In your quest in raising backyard chickens, there is a thing that determines the types of chicken you should rear, and that is your purpose for rearing backyard chickens. Earlier, in this article, we have talked about why you should raise backyard chickens, and the principal reasons are for eggs and meat.
Depending on your preference, you can choose the type of chicken that suits your taste. If you prefer to rear them for meat, there are certain types and breeds of chicken that best fit that purpose. If you’d rather have large eggs, there are selected choices that suit that purpose as well. However, you may choose to have chickens that serve both purposes.
Therefore, chicken types are categorized based on what they’re proficient at; eggs, meat, or both.
Egg Laying Chickens
Egg-laying chickens are raised primarily to produce eggs either commercially or for personal consumption. They are biologically superior to other chickens as they can produce an egg almost every day of the year.
When thinking about raising backyard chickens to have fresh egg supplies every day, don’t buy just any breed of chicken; choose a breed that is well suited for this purpose. Some of them include Hybrids, commonly called ISA Brown, Barnevelder, Plymouth Rock, Sussex, Australorp, Orpington, and many more.
These types of chicken can produce so many eggs in the year because they hardly brood after laying an egg. Also, hybrid chickens were developed to produce more eggs, even with little feed.
Can a Chicken Lay 2 Eggs A Day?
I’ve never seen such an occurrence, but I know anomalies often happen. A chicken can lay twice a day, but it cannot happen consistently. That will be asking too much of the chicken.
How Many Chickens Do You Need to Get A Dozen Eggs A Week?
On average, a chicken lays an egg per day, and about 200 and above annually – if it is very productive. Therefore, it is advisable that for a constant dozen eggs per week, five chickens will help achieve that target.
Unlike the egg-laying chickens, when you need chicken for their meat, do not get chickens that don’t brood. Instead, you search for the breed with a high feed conversion ratio (FCR); that is, they make use of most of the feed they are given to produce meat.
Generally, these types of chicken are less active than the other types when left to roam in your backyard, and they can take as little as six weeks to be ready for the table.
Some chicken types to consider for raising backyard chickens for meat include Buckeye, Cornish Cross, Chantecler, Brown Leghorn, Jersey Giant, and many more.
Dual Purpose Chickens
Let it not surprise you that some of these chickens can provide a good number of eggs annually and provide tasty and sizable meat for your table as well. For this category of chickens, you need to decide how long you need your chicken to produce eggs before slaughtering them for meat. Some chickens need up to 24 weeks before they are ready for meat. However, they will continue to produce eggs.
Some options are Orpington, Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Red, and many more. These types of chicken produce brown eggs, they do not brood, and produce good meat.
Predators of Chickens
Great Infographic by Poultry DVM
While raising backyard chickens, you must protect your pets from their natural enemies. Even though some chickens are safe from certain predators when they have outgrown a particular size, they can be food for other predators.
Threats abound for newborn chickens as much as there are for adult chickens. They can be attacked at any time of the day, dusk or dawn, and from any direction, from the air and the land. Your backyard hens and the eggs they lay need to be protected from these predators by making their coop impenetrable for these predators.
To guide against predators from the air, such as hawks and owls, provide shade that they can run to for protection when they sense the presence of these birds in the area. The shade can be provided by a shrub or a table they can run under for danger to pass. For optimal protection, it is always best for your chickens to have access to their coop. If built correctly a chicken coop provides the most logical place to seek protection.
For predators that are active in the night, when your chickens are roosting, fortify the coop, make them impenetrable to the tiniest of predators such as minks and some distance away from the floor to discourage entry by other predators like raccoons, snakes, and weasels.
Domesticated animals like chicken farm dogs, wild animals such as foxes also pose threats to chickens. To avoid entry and prevent the loss, create a chicken fence high enough that the lightweight chickens cannot fly over it; about an eight-foot-tall chicken fence will do.
Can Chickens Stay in the Coop all Day?
On days when you’re occupied from dusk till dawn, your chickens can remain in the coop for the day to prevent losing them to predators. The important thing is that you provide adequate feed and water, so they do not feed on the eggs they lay.
Can Chickens Be Left Alone for A Week?
Chickens are easy to raise and can be left alone for several days but never up to a week. Although the major requirement for raising backyard chickens is to provide them with food, water, and shelter, it is inadvisable to leave them alone for a week.
Chickens are not the neatest feeders, so it is a certainty that their feed and water will become messy in the time that you are away. A wet feed can pose some health risks to your chickens. Also, there is the issue of the eggs they will lay in a week. They might get pecked at and broken. By the time you’re back, the coop will be overtaken by the smell of rotten eggs.
It is, therefore, best to have a sitter for your chickens while you’re away.
Free-Range Chicken Farming
The beauty of raising backyard chickens using the free-range system allows them to fend for themselves for most of the day. This helps them access the different benefits nature has to offer in terms of nutrition and metabolic activities.
Free-range chicken farming is a system of farming, applicable in poultry production, that affords the birds freedom of movement for most of the day. In a free-range chicken rearing system, the birds are provided with housing, feeding, and water to sustain them through the day. However, they are set free and allowed to roam around, usually within a confined expanse, for security reasons. They can easily pick up insects, peck at pastures, and vegetations to increase the variety they have to feed on.
Free-range chicken farming is the most common system of rearing chickens when it is not done for commercial reasons. It is the easiest form of raising chickens, and new chicken keepers should use this system as it involves the least amount of stress. However, it can be a hassle to collect chickens’ eggs in this system, especially when they lay eggs around during the day.
The important elements of Free-range chicken farming are:
Feeding provides the bulk of the daily nutritional intake of backyard chickens raised using the free-range system. The chickens can feed on other food materials, such as grasses and insects, while they roam around a fenced area.
Probably an essential supply need of chickens. You need to supply water to your backyard chickens to keep them hydrated. Since they will be exposed to sunlight and their metabolic rates increase, they need to replenish their body fluid with constant hydration.
You may place bowls of water under shades around the pasture for them to access.
The purpose of free-range chicken farming is to give your chickens some degree of freedom in movement. It is in this regard that free-range is confused with yarding. With free-range, your backyard chickens are allowed to roam freely, most times without any restriction, or if need be, the regulation affords them more than enough expanse for roaming.
This element of the free-range system ensures that your chickens have access to natural sources of Vitamins A and D.
No living organism survives without food, and the quality of life your chicken lives depends largely on the type of feed you give them. Although you should provide feed for your backyard chicken, it may be unnecessary to do so every day if you are raising backyard chickens using the free-range system.
Generally, chicken feed takes the most capital when rearing chickens. At different stages of a chicken’s life, it requires different types of feed, especially when raised in an enclosure. The type of chicken you are raising also determines the type of feed you give your chicken.
There are different types of chicken feed, and they can be confusing for a beginner chicken rarer to understand. Some of the feed available to your chickens are categorized based on the age of the chicken, type of chicken, physical appearance of the feed, and medicinal value of the feed.
A much more comprehensive guide on chicken feed can be found in our blog.
Chicken Feed Type Based on Chicken Age
Starter chicken feed
These are chicken feed suitable for chickens that are between 1 and 6 weeks old. They are usually high in protein and help the young chicks grow rapidly within 6 weeks. Despite their effectiveness in increasing the growth rate of chicks, they can cause liver issues if they are not discontinued at 6 weeks due to their high protein content.
However, there are feed formulations that are labeled as starter/grower chicken feed. These are suitable for feeding chickens till they are about 20 weeks of age.
Growers chicken feed
The growers’ chicken feed is suitable for six weeks old and not more than 20 weeks old. Although they are also high in protein (not as high as starter chicken feed), they do not provide excess nutrients to the chickens and help them steadily grow until they reach point-of-lay.
Layer chicken feed
This feed is strictly for chickens that have started to lay eggs. It usually consists of feed materials that are high in protein, calcium, other essential vitamins, and minerals, which make egg production easy and qualitative.
Although chickens on grower chicken feed will lay eggs, their eggs will not be as sizable as they should be, and the shells will be weak due to lower calcium in the feed.
Chicken Feed Type Based on Physical Appearance
Mash is the fine-textured chicken feed that is mainly used to feed young chickens. It is easy to digest and can be formed into porridge mixed with hot water – suitable for feeding laying chickens.
However, due to the fineness of the particles, they are easily wasted.
Pellets are processed chicken feed that maintains a cylindrical shape for your chickens to pick up. They are the most straightforward form of feed to manage and store, and they are not as quickly wasted as the other types.
When you think crumble, think broken grains. Their particles are not as refined as mash’s, neither are they as coarse and compact as pellets. They are easier to manage than mash and are easier to pick by your chickens. However, they do not possess the same manageability and storability as pellet feeds.
Chicken Feed Type Based on Medicinal Value
Medicated chicken feeds are specially made to help your chickens resist the occurrence of diseases such as coccidiosis. They are specially made for starters and growers. However, chickens that are given medicated feed shouldn’t have been previously vaccinated.
Unmedicated chicken feed is suitable for chickens that have been vaccinated against coccidiosis. They are the simple starter and grower mash, crumbles, or pellets, that do not contain amprolium.
Chicken Feed Type Based on Type of Chicken
Raising backyard chickens can be for meat, egg, or both. If you are raising chickens for meat, they need specialized feed that will help them grow rapidly. Therefore, if you have a chicken, like the Cornish Cross, you need a feed that will agree with its growth potential.
Broiler Chicken Feed
Broilers are specifically bred for meat. They are table-ready in about 6 weeks and are usually fed with feed that has high protein content. There are different broiler feeds for different ages; starter feed, grower feed, and finisher.
Layers Chicken Feed
These are specifically for laying chickens. It is rich in calcium and has some protein. Layers of chicken feed can be fed to meat-purpose chickens, but they will not grow as fast as expected.
There are other types of feed, such as fermented feed, which helps increase digestion, makes your chicken fuller for longer, and helps reduce the number of droppings they produce; Shell grit – for stronger eggshells and improved crop health; and Chicken Scratch.
A chicken feeder is an equipment used to supply feed to chickens. They are available in different shapes, depending on the system of rearing you to have in place. For raising backyard chickens, you can use conical-shaped feeders that are made of either steel or plastic. Some are made from PVC pipes; their end is curved to help chickens access the feed supplied from the other end of the pipe.
However, for intensive chicken rearing systems, there are feeding troughs placed just outside the chicken coop. They can easily reach these troughs to access their feed. They can be automatic or not.
Looking for more in-depth information, check out our complete chicken feeder article.
A chicken waterer is a specific piece of equipment that supplies water that the chicken drinks. In intensive poultry rearing, sophisticated drinkers such as nipple drinkers are commonly used. However, in semi-intensive chicken rearing, plastic drinkers are typical. They usually comprise white, deep bowls and trays with a feature that fits into the bowl’s opening. It supplies water steadily into the ridge in the tray.
Alternatively, containers used at home can be dedicated for use as drinkers for your backyard chickens.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide and reviews on chicken waterers.
Chicken coops are housing structures used for rearing poultry. They are the structures made to house chickens overnight (in a free-range or yarding system) or throughout the day (in an intensive rearing system). Most chicken coops are made from wood and mesh and they can be constructed without much expertise. If you plan to use wire for your chicken coop there is an article here to help you as well.
There are two types of chicken coops:
Open-sided chicken coops
This type of chicken coop is usually made to allow ventilation through the coop. It is arguably more suitable during the hot months when the chickens need more air. The sides of these chicken coops are covered with wire mesh to protect the chickens from predators and allow air passage simultaneously.
Close-sided chicken coops
Close-sided chicken coops are more suitable for the cold months – rainy months and winter – when the temperature inside the coop needs to be raised. The sides are closed to disallow air passage and improve heat in the cage.
This type of chicken coop is appropriate for raising newborn chickens as they cannot withstand harsh weather conditions. The close-sided coop, in this case, is a baby chicken coop.
How to Clean a Chicken Coop?
Your chicken coop must be kept as clean as possible. This prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi that may cause any form of illness in your chickens. Also, you should clean chicken coops if your chickens have been absent from them for a while, like during winter. To clean a chicken coop, follow the following guidelines.
- Remove the feathers, dried poop, dirt, and nesting materials from the coop. It might require that you scrape off some droppings and may take some time.
- Sweep off the dust and debris accumulated from the scrapings.
- Hose down the coop to remove leftover dust.
- Use a mild disinfectant, preferably natural, like vinegar, to disinfect the cage and nesting material. Mix the disinfectant with water at a 50:50 ratio and scrub the chicken coop.
- Hose down the coop again.
- Sweep off any stagnant water and let the coop air dry.
How to Keep Chickens Warm in the Winter?
Many believe chickens are hardy animals, and they can handle the extremities of weather. However, some chickens have been lost to the harsh coldness of winter. So be sure to protect your backyard chickens from the cold by keeping them warm. How do you do that? Here is our thorough guide to keeping your chickens warm.
Use Heat Sources
The most common method is to light a lamp in the chicken coop, but it comes with its dangers. However, it can be effective as it brings the flock closer together, and they can roost around it. If you must use this heating method, ensure that there is enough heat source to go around, depending on the population of your chickens. Also, there are different heat sources, consider the safest for your coop.
Use Heat absorbing materials
Some materials are capable of absorbing heat during the day and releasing the heat throughout the night. The most available of such materials are usually dark-colored and sometimes hard. Concrete is an excellent heat absorber. You can also use dark-colored nesting materials so that they can provide heat to your chickens throughout the night.
Reduce the draft that gets through the coop by blocking holes through which the cold air is gaining entry. Some of the holes might be part of the mesh; they might also be on the wooden parts of the coop. Cut wood slates to cover the holes in the woods and cut out dark polythene bags to cover the mesh-covered side of the coop.
However, ensure that the vents at the top of the coop are left open to prevent ammonia build-up.
Fencing Options for Your Backyard Chickens
One of the challenges of raising backyard chickens is providing security for your chickens against predators and the escape of chickens from your backyard. Fencing is usually done to prevent contact between predators, except birds and your chicken.
It is important that whatever material you use for fencing must be solid and high enough to discourage the exit of lightweight chickens, by flight, from the range and the entry of predators such as dogs and foxes.
Here are some options you can consider for fencing in your backyard chicken.
The most common type of fencing for chicken and agricultural purposes is wire fencing. It involves wires wound around each other to form a mesh of varying sizes, depending on the type.
The different types of wire fences include wire hardware cloth – suitable for keeping chickens and predators out of the range; they make an excellent chicken fence. Agricultural fencing – commonly used in ranches, has a mesh size of about 4”, which doesn’t make for good predator-proof fencing. Chicken wire can reach up to 3’ high and has a softer wire that predators can easily chew through. Electric wire – could make a great fencing option but depends on electricity.
Plastic fences can keep your chicken in the range but will do poorly in keeping predators out of the range. Some predators can chew at the plastic, rendering them weak over time, and eventually, gain entry into the range.
Stucco fences are usually attractive but are not strong enough to withstand the strength of predators such as foxes and dogs.
Wood fences can be made to be as high as 8 feet. However, they weaken after some time as a result of decay and action of termite on them. They make good chicken fences but need constant checks and replacement.
How to Mate Chickens
Chickens also produce young ones, and they can produce them right in your backyard if you want. However, to have young chicks, your hen must produce fertilized eggs, not the ones induced by the feed they eat, but by the mating between a hen and a rooster.
To mate your chickens, following the following steps.
Of all the roosters you have in your backyard, check for those who have the traits you desire to see more of. Make sure they are strong and vibrant and have no defects.
Perfect your Rooster to Hen ratio
Roosters love to claim territories. Therefore, one rooster should be the only male in a flock. However, if the roosters grew together, they may get along well. Also, you can practice a rooster to hen ratio of 1 to 5.
Leave your selected rooster(s) with the Hens
Having selected the best and most vigorous of the roosters, leave them with the hens for some time for courtship to take place. The rooster has to endear itself to the hens by performing some dance. Watch to see if the rooster is active; if not, remove it and replace it with another.
Give it Time
After mating has begun, do not expect to see fertilized eggs so soon. It can take up to 2 weeks before fertilized eggs can be produced. Therefore, be patient and wait for the eggs to come.
Check Eggs for Fertilization
Once two weeks are up, you can begin to expect fertilized eggs from your hens. At this stage, you will notice that the eggs bear an irregular-shaped white spot, an anomaly from what you usually see when you prepare breakfast.
As time passes, the white spot becomes red, showing veins.
Store and set Eggs
Once you have noticed the sign that the eggs are fertilized, collect the subsequent eggs your hens will lay and store for a maximum of one week. Any more days beyond this, the eggs have a low chance of being viable.
Also, ensure that the eggs are stored with the pointy edge facing down and at a temperature of between 50-and 60-degrees Fahrenheit before transferring them into the incubator.
Chicken Egg Incubator
An incubator is a machine that is made to imitate the effect a hen sitting on a fertilized egg has on the eggs. It works by supplying heat and humidity to the eggs for 21 days. It is crucial that during these 21 days, the eggs be turned over to ensure even distribution of heat and drying.
Incubators are available for purchase in many agricultural stores. However, you should purchase one that has some automatic features such as egg turning and humidity adjustment as they are crucial to the development of the chicks in the eggs.
With a chicken egg incubator, you can easily increase the population of chickens in your backyard.
View our comprehensive egg incubator buyers guide here.
Raising Baby Chickens
The act of raising baby chickens is called brooding. Brooding is a natural act of care that hens perform to provide a conducive temperature for newborn chickens. To facilitate the production of eggs by hens, it is common practice to remove the young chicks from their mothers, if they were incubated by the mother hen, or from the incubator – if they were incubated using the egg incubator.
Brooding takes place from week 1 to week 6 of a chick’s life. During this period, they are supplied adequate heat, water, and feed, to help them build strength against the adverse weather conditions. As the weeks go by, the heat source is gradually removed to acclimatize the chicks to the natural weather condition.
Also, during the brooding period, vaccination against diseases are given to the chicks to improve their immunity.
After 6 weeks, they must have been hardy enough to withstand the harsh weather conditions and possible disease occurrence.
Common Chicken Illnesses
Like every living organism, chickens have some illnesses that affect them. Some of them are common and are easily treated, while others are not so easy to treat. They lead to a lower quality of life and reduced productivity. Therefore, the illnesses must be properly managed. Some of the common ones include:
Chicken Respiratory Disease
This is one of the commonest illnesses of chickens, and irritation of the respiratory tract causes it. The respiratory tracts of chickens are sensitive and can be triggered and inflamed due to dust in the coop, pollen, or ammonia build-up.
However, to stop the wheezing and sneezing that accompanied this disease, get rid of the cause by thoroughly cleaning the chicken coop and replacing the bedding material with a cleaner one.
Here is another common chicken illness that can be easily treated. It is a disease of the digestive tract and it attacks younger chickens more than it does adults. Coccidiosis is characterized by chicken being off feed, diarrhea, abnormal droppings, blood-stained droppings, and even death.
Coccidiosis is effectively treated by using anti-coccidiosis medications. They can also be used for prophylactic measures.
Scaly Leg Mites
This illness is easily transmitted from birds to birds and its transmission can be aided by humans as mites can attach to clothing and shoes. Mites feed off your chicken’s blood supply as the parasites that they are, rendering your chicken gradually sick until it looks the part.
It takes vigorous and consistent organ feeding to get your chicken back to its normal self after the mites have been removed from the flock.
Lice and Mites
These parasites are easily transmitted from coop to coop and flock to flock. The lice and mice suck blood from your chickens and deprive them of the beneficial nutrients they need, consequently making their productivity drop. They can kill your backyard chickens if left unchecked.
Sour crop occurs when your chicken has eaten what is bigger than its crop can allow through or when feed begins to ferment in the crop, causing fungi to grow.
You can improve your chicken’s crop health by adding Apple Cider Vinegar in its water, handling the affected chicken upside down, and massage the crop to expel the feed material.
Chicken Disease and Treatment
The different diseases of chickens are not challenging to identify. It takes a keen observer to notice a deterioration in the state of health of numerous chickens. Therefore, it is better to prevent the occurrence of diseases in your backyard chicken flock than to start seeking treatment.
If a disease outbreak occurs, it is good to know what course of action to take – chemical or holistic treatment? Also, you should know when to cull birds, to avoid further spread and eventual death of all your flock.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Do with Backyard Chickens in the Winter?
During winter, the temperature plummets very fast, especially at night. However, to protect your backyard chickens, you can provide them with a heat source to raise the temperature in the coop. You can also make a miniature greenhouse extension from their coop. In the extension, they can get heat from the sun without coming in contact with the cold wind.
What is Needed to Start Raising Chickens?
Raising backyard chickens requires very little. A coop, which you can make yourself, containers to serve as feeders and drinkers, fencing to mark out the perimeter and protect the chickens from predators will do.
How Many Chickens Should A Beginner Start With?
The number of chickens to start with as a beginner depends on how many resources you have. it is advisable that as a beginner, you have no more than 3 hens. As you increase in knowledge and experience, you can expand your flock.
Will Chicken Attract Rats?
Chickens ordinarily do not attract rats, as rats are not considered predators. However, their feed can attract rats.
Can Chickens Survive Without A Heat Lamp?
Yes, they can. Providing heat lamps isn’t the only way chickens can have heat. They share heat amongst themselves as well, when they roost. Also, their bedding material, if it is dark-colored, absorbs heat during the day, and releases the heat throughout the night.
Are Hens Happier with A Rooster?
The word “happier” might seem a little far-fetched, but hens are more active when there is a rooster in their midst. If their increased activity can be termed “happiness”, then, they are happier.
Raising backyard chicken has been a lifelong dream for some individuals but they find it difficult to do it right. This guide will help you get it right this time and you will begin to collect eggs, have chickens for meat, and multiply your backyard flock by incubating your chicken fertilized eggs.