Keeping Chickens as Productive Pets

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChickens are among the most productive of pets, and if numbers are an indication the back yard poultry movement is booming. Chickens are no longer cast in the barnyard to fend for themselves nor strictly farmed in volume – there are more options including pastured poultry and those with a dozen or less birds for eggs.

For most people interested in raising chickens for their own use it comes to whether you want to raise meat birds or keep hens for eggs. This can make a difference in the choice of breeds or the time from hatching to the table. The commercial industry uses white feathered birds but for home production there is no standard restriction.

Those interested in raising some meat chickens would do well to keep it at 25 or 50 in the order. That’s a chicken a week if they all survive, for the freezer. Many hatcheries will run specials sometimes a “frying pan special” which you can get a good deal price wise. Most of the birds will be cockerels, the less valued side of the quest for hens. Leghorn type are cheap but take a couple extra weeks to get to weight; larger birds can also take slightly longer maturing.

Most people looking for chickens for the back yard will be looking at ordering pullets and raising them for egg layers. Depending on the room available you can choose from white, brown or colored egg layers in a wide range of colors. Generally they will begin laying in about six months or so depending on breed. Some popular breeds for brown egg layers have been Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Dominiques and Rhode Island Reds.

Those with more room may enjoy the larger breeds such as Orpingtons, Brahmas or Jersey giants. Those with less room can still have the bantam varieties of many of these breeds or silkies which take less room and feed, produce smaller eggs but are still completely edible.

Chickens are often thought of for eggs and meat but another factor when you’re keeping chickens is manure. This can be added to the compost pile for fertilizing the gardens. Typically chickens will scratch dry any wet spots looking for bugs…which reduces flies and other pests.

Confined to a portable or stationery pen they are low maintenance pets that don’t bark all night, can let themselves out of the shelter in most areas and don’t need vaccinations. They don’t need daily walks or expensive toys, eagerly make use of many kitchen scraps and while they aren’t often “lap pets” they’re no less entertaining to sit and watch.

Make sure zoning is not a problem to keeping them, and do strive to keep them contained, odor free and well kept. There is a wide range of colors, feather type, sizes and appearances available from fancy to ordinary.

Did you know – A typical layer hen can mature at standard 5-9 pounds, smaller for bantams. Some crossbreds can be “sex linked” – or have colored females and white males at hatching. Pullets (females) eliminate having to deal with roosters and crowing.

Chicken House Building – Simple Steps

By : kor rassad
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The Chicken House – Five Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

There are some things you must avoid while building the Chicken House.

1. Not taking into account the size of the coop before construction:

Each chicken needs a minimum area of 4 square feet in order to be comfortable. This means that if you have four chickens, the area of your coop should be 16 square feet at least or your chickens to be able to roam about. Additionally, you will need to have a look at the amount of space available in your backyard as well as the space the coop will take up. If you don’t, the coop might end up looking ill-suited to the environment.

2. Inadequate precautions against predators:

Wily predators like weasels and raccoons are notorious for their skills in finding their way around raised fences to catch their prey from inside chicken coops or the run. If you plan to add a chicken run to your design then be sure to bury the wire mesh at least a foot deep into the ground in order to keep these predators out. In addition to this, cover the chicken run with some sort of netting to protect the chickens from aerial predators like owls and hawks.

3. Gaps in wiring /fencing:

This is responsible for an astounding number of poultry deaths, and most people are unable to realize this. Often, when chicken are scared of predators, they stick their heads out of such holes and gaps and seldom survive. Hence make sure that these gaps are taken care of so that similar incidents do not happen.

4. Positioning the coop in an inappropriate place:

This is another factor which is often overlooked. Before you place your chicken house somewhere, you need to be considerate enough to think about whether it will disturb you neighbors in anyway. Also, if it is visible to them then it should not be an eyesore. Another thing you may want to consider is if the chickens will be safe from predators or if the wind or drafts will be a problem.

5. Buying an expensive readymade Chicken House when a much cheaper alternative is available:

You may not realize this, but even pre-built coops will need to be assembled. Hence what you are paying such an exorbitant price for is only un-assembled material and plans that accompany them, and both of these can be bought separately for almost half the price.

Author Resource:- If you enjoyed reading this article, and for more great information on building a Chicken House, visit http://www.chickencoopadvice.com.
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