fimmtudagur, 8. ágúst 2013

How To Raise Chickens

How To Raise Chickens.

There’s plenty to love concerning raising your own chickens.The eggs ar a true temptation—tastier and freshman than any store eggs and higher for baking, too.The shells, at the side of the chicken poop, are often tossed right into the heap. a lot of of the day, the birds entertain themselves, choosing at grass, worms, beetles, and every one of the great things that move into creating those scrumptious farm eggs.

Remember, though: Nothing sensible comes simple.

•    You'll would like a coop. it's to carry a feeder and water containers and a nest box for each 3 hens. It ought to be giant enough that you simply will change it to assemble eggs and shovel manure.
•    Chickens would like food (and water) daily. Feed is concerning $20 per 50-pound bag at my co-op; however long a bag lasts depends on the quantity of chickens that you simply have.
•    Hens can lay through spring and summer and into the autumn, as long as they need twelve to fourteen hours of daylight. Expect to gather eggs daily, or perhaps double each day.
•    All year ‘round, you’ll ought to shovel manure.
•    If you escape, you would like a reliable chicken-sitter, and that they ar scarcer than hens’ teeth.
Chickens ar sociable, thus attempt to keep four to 6 birds. They’ll would like space—at least a pair of sq. feet of coop floor per bird. The more room, the happier and healthier the chickens can be; overcrowding contributes to malady and feather choosing.
The birds can would like an area to unfold their wings, thus to speak: a 20x5-foot fowl run, for instance, or a full grounds. (My hens had countless out of doors time. they'd places to require a dirt bathtub and catch many rays.) Either method, the area should be enclosed to stay the chickens in and predators out. (Did you know? Predators embody your own Fido and downlike.) Add chicken-wire fencing and posts or T-bars to support it to your list of apparatus.
All of this prices cash. The materials to make and furnish a coop and a 20x5-foot run ar getting to set you back $300 to $400. If you can’t do that work yourself, you will even be shopping for experienced labor. wish to extend your flock? Young chicks would like a incubator lamp for heat, however don’t count your chickens before they're hatched.
Choosing a chicken breed is vital. Here's the second post in a very beginner's guide series to finding the correct chicken breed for you.

When it involves selecting your chickens, there ar a lot of breeds than you'll shake associate degree eggbeater at. one amongst the delights of this step is learning a number of the breed names: Silkie, Showgirl, Silver-Laced Wyandotte, Rosecomb, Redcap, and Russian Orloff, to call many.
Some things that you’ll wish to think about embody the quantity and color of eggs created, the breed’s temperament, its amplitude, and its ability to confinement. If you can’t let your chickens vary free, the confinement issue is vital for a cheerful, healthy flock. amplitude very matters if you are doing not reside within the country. Some sources advise against combining ages, however I’ve ne'er had bother with older birds choosing on younger ones.
Most varieties thrive all told climates, though some have special would likes: Phoenix and Minorcas need heat, for instance, and Brahmas and Chanteclers like cool conditions. each breed produces eggs, even the questionable decorative breeds, however egg size and production vary. Medium-production layers ar masses for a family. Bantam eggs ar small; to enrich their yolks, you’ll would like a lot of whites than most angel food cake recipes demand.
I unbroken Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks, each of that ar sometimes out there from an area property. These ar docile, not notably vociferous, high-laying, dual-purpose breeds that take confinement well. They gave American state seventy five % egg production—that is, a dozen chickens created 9 eggs each day whereas they were giving birth.
Another favorite of mine is that the Jersey big. it's black or white, and large. (My black Jersey big Gallus gallus was sixteen inches at the saddle!) The hens ar medium- instead of high-laying chickens, however the eggs ar larger than those of the Plymouth Rock or Rhode Island Red. This breed is calm and docile however desires a lot of area due to its size.
Araucanas ar flighty (not docile), however they thrive in nearly any climate, take confinement well, and ar quiet. Plus, the green-shelled eggs ar a novelty. (One of my Rhode Island Red hens mated with associate degree Araucana cock and gave American state a hen that ordered olive eggs!)
My dream team would come with Easter Eggers. (Yes, that’s very the breed name!) They’re similar in temperament to Araucanas and lay blue or inexperienced eggs. it should take American state a moment to trace them down, but—hey!—the dream team is worthwhile.

How To Raise Chickens


The housing for your chickens are often as easy or fancy as your imagination and budget allow. the essential criteria are determined by the birds.
1.    First, choose the scale. you may would like a pair of sq. feet of floor area per chicken, and one nest box for each 3 hens. Nest boxes ought to be a couple of foot sq.. For larger breeds like Jersey Giants, permit an extra square measure of floor area per bird.

2.    Sketch the coop on paper, with measurements.

3.    it would even be useful to mark the bottom wherever the coop are erected, taking into thought its location relative to the sun (southern exposure ensures bigger heat and sunlight); any close structures (will you attach it to a garage or barn?); and therefore the would like for a run, enclosed or not (more on it in a very moment). Build your coop and run on position to avoid battling water and dust problems!
Do not forget to incorporate a door and a floor within the plans. A door are often as easy as a bit of plyboard on a frame of 1-by-2s, with hinges and an easy latch—make it giant enough for you to enter and exit simply with eggs in hand or a basket. a mud floor is dead adequate. However, if you build a picket floor, attempt to raise it six inches off the bottom. a 3rd possibility is poured concrete, if some time and budget permit. conjointly think about whether or not {you can|you'll|you may} bring electricity into the coop: A low-watt bulb will prolong the day throughout winter months and keep egg production figures constant.
Coop ventilation is a lot of necessary than insulation. attempt to have openings close to the ceiling for air circulation. (While chickens get pleasure from moderate—around 55°F—temperatures, ours survived nicely within the barn through –40°F winters. Their feathers unbroken them heat.) conjointly attempt to install some of 1½-inch dowels across the higher a part of the coop; this may change the chickens to roost off the ground at nighttime.

4.    once you’re prepared, bring your plans to the lumber yard. somebody there will assist you to see what proportion stock and what tools and/or instrumentality you may would like. attempt to frame the coop with 2-by-4s and use sheets of plyboard for the walls. The roof are often a sheet of plyboard lined with roof shingles or just a bit of sheet.

5.    A 5x20-foot run can keep alittle flock—six to eight hens—happy. more room is healthier if you have got the space. If predators ar a retardant in your space, bury a layer of mesh six inches deep beneath the coop and run to foil diggers like foxes, dogs, and skunks. Mink and weasels will slip through customary 2-inch wire. to stay them out, use some of 2-inch layers offset or 1-inch wire instead. Plug any holes within the coop walls furthermore.

6.    You’ll ought to decorate the coop, a minimum of rudimentarily: Waterers, out there from farm suppliers, keep the chickens from fouling their facility. Get one for each 3 or four chickens. conjointly get a feed trough long enough to let all of the chickens feed right away (or get 2 smaller ones). Have enough packing (pine) or straw to place a 6-inch layer on the ground and some of handfuls in every nest box and your chickens can have an ideal home. modification the bedding concerning once a month or if it starts wanting flat.

Remember, a farm building doesn’t ought to be sophisticated. Our initial one was alittle shed engineered with recycled wood. The run was screened in mesh and engineered onto the aspect of our house. It wasn’t pretty, however it did the work. simply confine mind the 2 easy rules “Measure double, cut once” and “Pointy finish down,” and each you and your hens are happy.
Want to find out the way to raise baby chicks? Here's a beginner's guide to citing baby!
You can purchase chickens at many stages of development—it all depends on however long you’re willing to attend for eggs.
•    Day-old chicks ar out there from hatcheries. Most farm suppliers do one or 2 chick orders a year, thus you'll get your chickens wherever you intend to induce your feed. They’re sometimes beneath $3 every. You’ll ought to wait concerning six months for eggs.
•    Ready-to-lay pullets ar twenty weeks previous and near to to start out giving birth. They’re costlier than day-olds, however after all you get your eggs sooner. they'll go straight to the coop and ar all females. These, too, are often ordered through your farm provider from the property.
•    Mature giving birth hens ar more durable to come back by. Unless you have got somebody with alittle flock close UN agency needs to exchange older hens and can sell their “old girls” to you, likelihood is that that you’ll ought to purchase pullets or chicks. (Battery hens don't seem to be sensible candidates for a farm flock—they’re confined in little cages, debeaked, and created to supply thus laborious that they’re “laid out” at a pair of to three years more matured.)
Raising Chicks
Tending young chicks isn’t tough, nor would like or not it's elaborate. furthermore as chick starter and clean water, they have a draft-free incubator pen with a red incubator lamp on in any respect times. This keeps the temperature at 92oF at a pair of inches higher than the ground. (It conjointly reduces choosing and practice among chicks.) once the chicks have feathered out, cut back the temperature by five degrees per week till they're six weeks previous, then switch their feed from chick starter to raiser mash.

Hatching Chicks

Instead of shopping for chickens each year, you'll hatch your own. Of course, you’ll would like a Gallus gallus to induce fertile eggs. Check your sectionalization regulations; some places permit hens, however not roosters. Hens can lay dead well while not one. (The occasional blood-spotted egg isn’t caused by the Gallus gallus and is dead fine to eat.)
You’ll conjointly would like a biddy. Broodiness—the instinct to take a seat on eggs till they hatch—has been bred out of plenty of chickens, however we tend to continually had one or 2 UN agency would begin to take a seat tight on the nest and peck if we tend to tried to get rid of their eggs. Bantams ar splendidly broody, and a bantam hen can hatch different hens’ eggs.
You can hatch replacement chicks yourself with a home setup. Eggs take twenty one days to hatch. (Did you recognize that there ar best times for setting eggs beneath a hen or in associate degree setup? associate degree incubator should be watched; chicks left too long once hatching can die of dehydration or choosing. One notably determined one in our setup picked its method through the screen guard round the ventilation fan and was beheaded. On the total, we tend to found it best to go away it to the hen.
More Tips for a cheerful Coop
•    Many sources say that you simply can’t keep a flock of mixed ages. we tend to ne'er had a retardant with older chickens choosing on younger ones or the other way around. Our hens raised their chicks with happiness within the flock. Most choosing is that the results of overcrowding. offer your chickens countless area.
•    Young chicks ought to be near water and food in any respect times. unfold a 4-inch layer of pine shavings on the ground, then lay many layers of newspaper over that. Scatter countless chick take advantage of the paper and even have feeding troughs stuffed within the pen. take away a layer of paper daily, and by the time the last layer is gone, the chicks can have found the feeding trough.
•    Always use red bulbs; injury doesn’t show beneath red lightweight. beneath white lightweight, any bloody spot now attracts pecking. Chicks can cheerfully and expeditiously peck one another to death.
•    Block corners of the pen with cardboard to create wider angles that ar more durable for chicks to stop working in. (You might conjointly build a circular pen.) This prevents suffocation.
•    Ensure that waterers ar shallow and cleansed daily to avoid having chicks drown. My property recommends one gallon-size waterer for each hundred chicks. I continually had 2 or 3, even for fewer chicks, so they wouldn’t crowd.
•    With pullets, I used one waterer for each six to eight chickens and a feed trough long enough to accommodate all of them right away.
Next up is eggs! Let's point out collection, cleaning, storing, and perhaps even hatching chicken eggs.
Raising chickens for eggs?
Once you’ve eaten  farm eggs, it’s laborious to travel back to grocery eggs. contemporary farm eggs, unenclosed or not, ar delicious, with bright yolks and firm whites. offer your hens ground shell or an identical atomic number 20 supplement, out there at farm suppliers, for sturdy eggshells.

How To Raise Chickens

Collecting Eggs

You’ll collect eggs each morning; hens cackling loudly ar a signal or clue that they’re giving birth. I sometimes had another look within the afternoon, as well.
Chickens wish to eat eggs the maximum amount as we tend to do. Most egg-eaters learn on broken eggs so begin to interrupt eggs themselves. Chickens ar opportunists and can decide at no matter appearance edible. If you shut down broken eggs now and throw out any “eggy” straw or shavings, you'll stop egg-eating. A chicken that learns this habit can’t be cured, et al. could follow her lead. You don’t wish the chickens uptake your eggs—you wish them yourself!
You can tell what color eggs a hen can lay by the colour of her ear. Yes, her ear. Birds don’t have external ears like humans do, thus explore for alittle circle or oval of skin on the aspect of the pinnacle, next to the hole. If it’s white, your hen can lay white eggs; if it’s red, she’ll lay brown ones. There’s no distinction in flavor or nutrition, however white eggs show the dyes a lot of brilliantly at Easter!

Cleaning and Storing Eggs

Eggshells have a “bloom,” a natural coating that protects the egg from microorganism. Avoid laundry if you can; instead, a wipe with a dry, rough textile.
If the eggs have alittle manure on them, you'll wipe with a humid textile for little spots. a very dirty egg are often submerged and clean with a vegetable brush. continually use heat water; cold water can build the egg shrink within the shell and can attract microorganism.
Let eggs dry totally before golf shot them away. (I likable to type them by color, darkest to lightest, however that’s simply me!)
Put them in dated egg cartons, and store them within the refrigerator on a shelf, not the door, wherever they'll get jostled with each opening/closing. For partial cartons, I marked every egg in pencil with the day it had been collected. contemporary eggs ar sensible for a month within the icebox.
A change of state tip: to create deviled eggs, use week-old or older eggs, not this morning’s. The shells of very contemporary eggs stick instead of peel cleanly.

How To Raise Chickens

Hatching Eggs

If you would like chicks, you’ll would like a Gallus gallus. As a rule of thumb, ten to twelve hens per Gallus gallus could be a sensible magnitude relation. whereas you'll build associate degree setup and supervise the event of the eggs, it’s best to let the hens lookout of hatching.
A hen that's preparing to nest becomes “broody.” this implies that she needs to hatch her eggs. She’ll sit “tight” on the nest and resist having her eggs collected, whereas a nonbroody hen can allow you to reach beneath her to gather eggs. A biddy could even peck or screech at anyone forthcoming. There ar ways that to discourage broodiness, however why would you? The hen will the work of hatching and raising, and you get free chicks!

Farm chickens will live four to seven years and lay eggs for many of that point. each year they are going “off-lay” (stop giving birth eggs) for many months. This happens over the winter, once there’s insufficient  daylight to trigger egg-laying. They’ll restart within the spring.
Sooner or later, your chickens can stop giving birth eggs. once depends on the chicken. Most of ours went “off lay” because the days grew shorter. They ordered fewer and fewer eggs till sooner or later they merely stopped. One or 2 continued  to get periodically throughout the cold, dark days of winter, though most of these eggs froze and cracked before we tend to got bent collect them. (We gave them to the dog, sometimes raw and right the spot. He had a beautiful, shiny coat and created sulfurous gas at disadvantageous moments.)

You can extend the giving birth amount for your hens by golf shot a lightweight hooked to a timer within the coop. this may offer the hens some of additional hours of artificial daylight, however the natural pattern for many hens is to prevent giving birth within the winter.
As the hens burst lay, you have got 2 ways that of managing them. One is to resign yourself to plenty of fricassee over the winter. Year-old hens sometimes aren’t tender enough to roast. the opposite method is to present them the winter off and wait. They’ll begin giving birth once more within the spring. (I’ve detected folks say that they couldn’t keep chickens as a result of “you ought to kill them after they stop giving birth eggs.” Not true. we tend to ne'er killed a hen just because she stopped giving birth.)

We found that our older hens sometimes turn out fewer eggs, however larger ones. in a very production flock, this can be a retardant as a result of consistency of offer and size is vital. within the home flock, UN agency cares? (Another advantage to older hens: They’re accustomed you and ar less flighty and panicked.)
Even if you choose to stay your giving birth hens till they die of adulthood, you may eventually ought to get rid of a chicken. perhaps you’ll have a sick bird, associate degree overaggressive Gallus gallus, a hen out of action by a predator, or a chicken that chuck eggs. perhaps that mixed batch of chicks can end up to be 0.5 cockerels, and UN agency desires six roosters for 6 hens? Trust American state, the hens won’t convey you!

The simplest thanks to kill a chicken—so I’m told as I’ve ne'er done this and I’ve ne'er seen it done—is to wring its neck. you have got to be fast and forceful to avoid inflicting pain. we tend to used the standard chop: cutting the chicken’s throat. As way as I perceive, these ar the 2 main ways that to kill a chicken. Shooting is additionally a break, however it’s vociferous and possibly conjointly extrajudicial in most places.

An axe and a block (a stump or perpendicular spherical of fuel can do, as long as it’s stable) ar in all probability the only methodology for folks new this old follow. There ar some of the way to hypnotise or calm the chicken. One is to put the chicken breast-down on a flat surface whereas holding its legs. Wave a bit of chalk before of the chicken’s beak till you have got the bird’s attention, then draw a line straight out from the beak for twelve to eighteen inches. The bird can target the road and not move or flap.

As most chopping blocks aren’t that long, you would possibly wish to use associate degree alternate methodology. Lay the bird on its aspect, with one wing thereunder. faucet your finger before once at the purpose of the beak (but not touching), then concerning four inches before of the beak. Repeat alternating faucets till the bird calms down and holds still.
If you’re disquieted concerning your aim, you'll pound 2 long nails into the stump, way enough apart to span the chicken’s neck however shut enough along to stay its head from slippery  through. Lay the chicken on the block with its neck between the nails and apply enough tension to the legs to stretch the neck and keep the bird in situ. Then use the axe. If you propose to eat the chicken, hold it up by the legs to let the blood drain. there'll be flutter, however rest assured that the bird is dead and doesn’t feel any pain.

Have a pot of scathing (140° to 160°F) water prepared. If you don’t have a measuring instrument, you'll tell that the water is hot enough if you'll see your face mirrored in it. Dip the bird for twenty to thirty seconds. subsequently you'll wipe the feathers off together with your hand. cut off the feet, then cut round the drainpipe (anus—chickens use constant gap for excretion and egg-laying), being careful to not nick the intestines, and scoop the viscus out together with your hand. Rinse with cold water. If you'll get all of this wiped out twenty minutes whereas the kitchen appliance preheats, you'll cook the bird immediately; otherwise, let it rest for twenty-four hours, till rigor mortis relaxes.
People who raise their own food grasp wherever it comes from, what’s gone into it, and the way it’s been treated. whether or not your chickens ar ultimately supposed for the table or killed merely to finish pain or sickness so buried within the back forty, keep in mind that this can be a responsibility that comes with the work. Doing it, and doing it well, implies that you’re doing all your best by your birds. And here are some nice facts on Chicken

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