Some would gently peck at my hand but I never got injured. On the farm, soiled eggs should be discarded rather than washed. Chickens need to be fed and water changed daily. This was a fun experience and was not too labor intensive. When hens start laying by 20 weeks, "train" them where to lay by placing an egg-shaped or round object in the nest, says Dr. Kevin Roberson, a Michigan State University associate professor of Poultry Extension and Research. The time frame you mentioned - "Did you know commercial egg farmers have 30 days from the day an egg is laid to get it to stores.Then, the stores have another 30 days to sell the eggs. Chickens in the garden need to be supervised to be sure they are not eating the vegetables and fruits themselves. Whether you’re raising layers to get eggs with deep golden yolks or birds for tender, tasty meat or birds for cackling companionship, caring for your birds is an everyday proposition. 2020 If you learn how to clean eggs properly then you can keep your family. Despite their ability to lay more eggs, these chickens don’t go broody. If you are planning to collect eggs from your chickens, you will only need hens. The same process can be done outside of the coop in a separate bin. Taking care of the eggs just like a mother chicken does, may not be that easy but it sure is worth the effort. Regularly stir up the bedding to prevent clumping, and add fresh bedding until it is 10 inches deep by winter. If you keep a flock of chickens already the easiest way is to collect your own eggs for hatching. This process has to be repeated every few months, as the feathers do grow back. CreekmoreJanuary 18, 2019. I’ve been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to hatching eggs at home: Prior to incubating chicken eggs: Secure fertile eggs and chick starter feed The first thing you’ll need to hatch chicks is, of course, eggs. Hens begin laying at around six months of age and can continue for five to 10 years, with peak production occurring in the first two years. A fall cleaning is also helpful with mite control over winter. If I saw a chicken eating something it shouldn’t I would simply correct that behavior and encourage the chicken to move away from that area. The key to feeding your chickens eggs is to make sure you cook the eggs before feeding them back to the chickens. I’m the author of, 20 Foods With The Longest Shelf Life For Your Pantry. It is not legal in some cities to keep poultry. Chickens are one of the best first things to start adding to your homestead. Black oil sunflower seeds (aka BOSS) are another excellent source of protein. Creekmore. However, a chick may not hatch exactly 21 days after incubation. There is an endless variety of coop designs with just as much range in cost. Chickens should typically be fed a prepared feed that is balanced for vitamins, minerals and protein. At this time they could be put in a small bottomless cage on the ground during the day for several hours at a time. On another day later that week, the dog was taken in the chicken yard on a leash and properly introduced to the chickens and not allowed to chase them or be aggressive toward them. Others can take a year to start laying eggs. It pays to spend some time in the chicken house in the mornings when the hens are laying to see how many nests are being used at the same time. Who knew chickens could fly! Chickens have a pecking order and you don’t want to risk a small chick being injured by a big chicken by just turning them loose to defend themselves. Chickens raised in backyard settings generally stay healthy and are not easily susceptible to diseases. That's because hens feel safest laying where someone else laid. You'll get, on average, 2 eggs a day from 3 hens. Continue this process until the bedding gets 12 to 15 inches deep. They need to be back in the box and under the heat at night even in summer.. Chickens that are only feed chicken feed have to be provided something like oyster shell which not only helps with their digestion but also provides calcium which helps them form hard egg shells. Regents of the University of Minnesota. One thing I did not know is that day-old chicks get very tired very easy and will fall asleep and spread out like they are dead. This leads to issues with humidity and odor. In order to maintain a clean, healthy environment, the coop and outdoor area should be cleaned out weekly or as needed to control manure and odor build up. I had read that modern chickens did not have a nesting instinct anymore because they had been caged and not allow to raise chicks for generations. If you go through the effort to make an attractive place … I failed to mention the wonderful eggs we got from our chickens. What is The Best Long Term Survival Foods? Also cleaning before introducing new birds to the area will limit the spread of disease. Otherwise, they may end up roosting in trees instead of in the coop. “Chickens that do not get a balanced diet will be more prone to disease, and may show signs of stress, like feather picking,” explains Dr. Johnson-Walker. They need to be let out of the coop each morning and put into the coop at dusk each night to protect them from predators. In this regard, you should look to getting a consistent supply of multicolored large eggs across the year. This created an imbalance so the chickens could not fly easily. Available in paperback and Amazon kindle. However, eggs must be cooked thoroughly until yolks are firm. Tip #1 Take Care of the Chickens: Taking care of the chickens goes beyond feeding them every day. Finding an egg in the barn in the haystack, possibly weeks after it was laid, is not a good thing. We cover how to get started raising chickens, chicken breeds, building coops, baby chick care, protecting chickens from predators, collecting eggs, and more. Observe the chickens. I also began scattering feed in the chicken yard while clucking and calling to the chickens instead of just using the auto feeder and waterer. If I had not had the automatic egg turner I would have had to manually turn the eggs once or twice a day which was more time consuming than anything. This took at least an hour and I began to realize “chicken training” and “dog training” were both in order. The space should be free of unnecessary objects like woodpiles or equipment, as they attract predators. Healthy birds will be active and alert with bright eyes. Eggs … Being able to call the chickens to me instead of having to chase and herd the chickens back into the chicken yard saves a lot of time and work. A 40-watt light bulb is … After a few days of their being in the chicken yard for a few hours protected by their wire box, I release them in the chicken yard with the other chickens. If you see reference to a bantam bird, that is a small version of any particular breed. "When laying starts, don't let ‘day length' decrease," he says. Do I need a rooster when I’m raising chickens for eggs? It varies from chick to chick! They need to be let out of the coop each morning and put into the coop at dusk each night to protect them from predators. They may lay every day for a month, then take a break for a few days, then lay every other day. One person holds the chicken and the other cuts the feathers. This composting releases heat, which keeps chickens warm in cooler months and attracts natural fly predators. How hard is it to raise chickens and what does a day in the life of chicken care really look like?. Grandma called this “being broody”. A few days after settling the chickens into their home, my son left the gate open to the fenced outside area and the chickens all got out. Collecting eggs daily ensures that they are as clean as possible. Chickens that naturally forage for food, better meet their nutritional needs without supplements. ! To stimulate laying, increase light artificially in the coop by two hours then add 15 minutes more per week until reaching 16 hours. Another option is to pasture the chickens. They will roost (sleep) wherever, but once they are allowed to sleep outside of their nesting area, they will lay eggs elsewhere also. It will look the same but be smaller. If the egg is only lightly soiled, I will cook it to feed to the dogs or the chickens. It is important to remove dust and cobwebs from corners of the coop. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. I learned from her to be observant and gentle with animals. While many breeds are adaptable to a backyard setting, certain breeds are better than others for backyard conditions. Pepper Spray Laws by State First, you’ll need to gather some supplies to help you care for your chickens. Once you start the incubation, this is the normal number of days required for an egg to hatch. My neighbors, all over 80 years of age, had first-hand experience with chickens and suggested clipping the wing feathers on only one wing of the hens. Local farm supply stores may also order them for you. Moveable shelters are a valuable tool for pasturing chickens and reducing cleaning time. The box itself should be large enough so the heat lamp or light you have over the cardboard box will not heat the entire box. Composting can be done right in the chickens' bedding. It offers new space for chickens to graze and peck, and it provides free fertilizer for the lawn! There are a wide a variety of chicken breeds, developed for egg production, meat production or good looks. Eggs from Backyard Chickens for Beginners. Chickens that are healthy and active will also talk and sing quietly throughout the day. The herding dog we had, thought it was great fun to chase them and the chickens ended up in a tree. Spend some time with the flock, observing the chickens to make sure they are healthy. This will control the odor and fly populations. Feed consumption may increase in the winter when they burn more calories, and it may decrease in the heat of the summer. A 6-pound hen will eat roughly 3 pounds of feed each week. It is not necessary to have a nest for each chicken which can save a lot of work and money if you have a large flock of chickens. When giving eggs away and it’s time to clean the eggs, I’ve seen people on youtube set the eggs in a bowl of warm water with Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap. They eat grains, fruits, vegetables and insects. I was able to barter eggs for butter with one neighbor that had a milk cow. Raising chickens is not hard, but chicken expert and author Lisa Steele (@fresheggsdaily) says, “As with any pet or livestock, chickens are a serious time commitment and require daily attention.”But, again and again, owners say there’s also a “hen zen” that comes with keeping chickens. I was very happy to see that natural instinct would take over if given the chance. The easiest way to find disease in chickens is to know what a healthy bird looks like. Feeders and waterers should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Betsy Wieland, former Extension educator and Nora Nolden, former Extension intern. If you run after a chicken, it will outrun you and unless you have a net (which I did have later to catch the roosters). It is important that at least once a year, usually in the spring, a thorough cleaning is done on the coop and yard. Easter Egger chickens start producing eggs at the age of six to seven months. The coop and pen should be cleaned out weekly to maintain sanitation and odor control. They pick a “community” nest or two. Also, don’t forget to check out my Instagram for the latest photos and updates! The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Dairy and Food Inspection Division manages and enforces these. The first week it’s best to keep them fenced. A critical part of a chicken's diet is continual access to clean, fresh water. There really isn’t much not to love about chicken keeping, and you can do it anywhere. As far as laying and eating habits, each chicken is different, so monitor each chicken to get a feel for her normal production and consumption. For nest run eggs, soiled is considered any material that can’t be gently brushed off or removed with a dry or very slightly dampened paper towel. Eggs should be picked up twice a day. Layers need nest boxes — one per 4 to 5 birds. They will lay roughly six eggs each week. By this time they have long legs and heads nearly as large as adult chickens. Learn a couple of ways you can make sure freshly laid eggs are clean, safe, and attractive to buyers. You can get a poor choice because you picked a bad source where the chickens weren’t taken care of properly, and this led to further health problems. Chickens are omnivores. Providing chickens with a dust bath and adding a little bit of food grade diatomaceous earth will take care of most external parasites chickens can get. Learning how to Incubate Chicken Eggs is a fun process. Dual purpose breed, but most often used for laying, Hardy breed that does well in small flocks, Great for small flocks and rugged conditions. If you begin selling eggs or meat, you will encounter additional regulations. University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. Find a design that provides easy access and otherwise suits your situation. You might also look into allowing your chickens to range freely in your yard (with proper precautions to protect from predators), since free-range eggs have lower cholesterol and saturated fats, as well as higher omega-3 fatty acids. Chickens are descended from jungle birds, which means they like to be up high, so a place for them to roost is important. She was sitting on about four eggs one morning and was a little more bothered than usual when I went to get the eggs. I handled all the chick by picking them up and cupping them in my hands and never had any aggressive chicks to deal with. Raising chickens in the backyard may require a permit from your city, and each has different requirements and restrictions. One dish I enjoy cooking for the chickens is a large baked egg dish. Chickens in the garden need to be supervised to be sure they are not eating the vegetables and fruits themselves. Do this regularly throughout the day. Just slide your hand under them and grab both feet at the same time, They will flap their wings and try to get away, but holding them by the feet with their heads hanging down will stop this readily and you are ready to work on a calm chicken. Unlike eggs you buy at the store, you don’t need to refrigerate the eggs right away. 4 Tips for Raising Bielefelder Chickens. I did find that after a year of being “free range” chickens that natural instinct kicked in with one of my hens. At this depth, composting actively begins and after 6 months can kill harmful bacteria. I would wear a mask ( you can get seriously sick from breathing dust from chicken droppings) and gently rake and sweep up the hay, shavings and droppings on the floor (this was composted along with the horse and cow manure from the barn and later used on the garden as “organic fertilizer”) , wash out and refill the waterer and feeder and observe the chickens. Choosing a breed, hatching eggs, building a perfect coop & more! I put the dog in the house and used a broom to encourage the chickens to come down out of the tree and back in their yard. Eventually, at the urging and help of my neighbors, I was able to allow the chickens to free range in the garden and barnyard during the day and call and gently herd them into the chicken yard before dusk… chickens really do go to bed just as the sun is setting and it is best to get them into their area before then. A heat lamp was hung from the existing light socket, automatic feeder (this automatic feeder at Amazon.com is awesome), and waterer, and the four chickens I purchased from the local flea market were added. An important element to bird health is sanitation. When the outdoor ” cage” (it was covered with wire also, so hawks could not fly in and so the chickens could not fly out) was finished, I built nest boxes out of scrap 2 X 4s and plywood and filled them with hay, and built a small ramp for the chickens to use to enter and exit the building through a 8 X 8 inch hole in the outside wall. In fact, 85 percent of chicken droppings, by weight, is water. She'll need a safe place to sit on her eggs for 21 days, food and water. There seems to be no rhyme or reason when backyard chickens will decide to lay eggs. So what are the options for managing manure? Eggs can take 21 days to hatch. Survival Lessons from Ukraine, Don’t Tread on Me – The Gadsden Flag and it’s Meaning. Raising happy and healthy birds means knowing how to take care of baby chicks and what to feed […] Chickens do get mites and this is a good time to dust them with organic insecticide to prevent them. If you’re wanting to experience the entire process of raising chickens, then look no further from learning to hatch your own. He was certainly a good alarm clock, crowing and flapping his wings while on the highest spot he could find in the chicken yard every morning. I had a couple fall asleep with their head in the water tray and felt like I saved a few from drowning by picking them up out of the water. The chicks will move toward and away from the heat as they need it so be aware of whether or not your chicks are getting too hot or cold. It was tempting to try and help a chick get out of the shell, but it is better to leave it up to nature in this case. In terms of the breed, Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps and Orpingtons are all great egg layers. How To Take Care Of Chickens For Eggs Disinfect a dry draft free area with chlorine or ammonia before spreading 2 to 3 inches of litter preferably wood shavings roberson recommends. As an avid reader of Mother Earth News, Organic Gardening magazine and other Rodale Press publications (click here to see a full listing of Rodale Press books at Amazon.com), I felt I had enough information to begin. It is important to let them loose for a few hours during the day. Learn how to prevent disease in your poultry with biosecurity. This both encouraged the chickens to scratch and eat natural feed, such as bugs and worms and weeds, but to also eat small grains of sand and dirt which they need to process their food. Your new chickens will need to learn where to sleep. Make an inviting place for your hens to lay. Caring For Eggs. It is best to have a helper to do this. I could not add to my flock by this method, so I decided to buy an incubator with an automatic egg turner and buy fertilized eggs from the flea market to incubate. A good broody will take care of the chick rearing and all you really have to do is provide food and water. When my own child reached that age, I wanted to share some of that magic with him and began considering raising chickens. They will be moving around — pecking, scratching and dusting — except on hot days when they will find shade. There are many books and websites with coop designs. Egg production drops each year when the hens molt (replace their feathers in the early fall) and as daylight hours are lost. Dust baths should be available, as they help control mites. Ensure that the coop is free of small holes for predators to sneak in. I was careful to not let the chickens out until all eggs were laid for that day, so early afternoon until about an hour before dusk was long enough. You will reduce the risk of the chickens soiling the eggs. Hens need at least 12 to 14 hours of light each day to continue laying eggs. Take one wing, spread it out and using scissors, carefully cut the feathers a few inches from the wing itself. By this I mean, they did not lay a number of eggs and sit on them and keep them warm until they hatched into chicks. Do Ramen Noodles Expire? Once the viable chicks have hatched, keeping them fed and watered in a cardboard box with a heat lamp (or old fashioned light bulb that gives off heat) until they started sprouting their big chick feathers. Creekmore. If I was in the barn cleaning out a stall, the chickens were there, because I was uncovering bugs and worms for them! MDCreekmore.com is a participant in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Recommended Gear, COPYRIGHT 2018 - 2020 M.D. Once the chicks starting hatching young and old would spend hours watching and listening to a chick peep while still in the eggs and peck a hole in the eggs shell large enough to get out. I had kept one rooster from the chicks I had hatched and wondered if he was doing his job. These are a few examples of great, mellow breeds for the backyard. Healthy droppings will be firm and grayish brown, with white urine salts. I have never had a problem with a chick being caught and injured by a larger chicken. There are several places to purchase chickens. Medium to large breeds are good for cold winters. A mellow temperament and good egg laying are also pluses. Some people advocate clipping the beak of young chicks so they will not peck and injure each other. That is not natures way, hard as it is to see an animal perish before it actually lives. Raising Chickens for Eggs: The Coop When I first got chickens, I kept them in a chicken tractor. Never store the eggs wet. To do this you hold the chickens upside down by their feet. To maintain the compost, it must be stirred regularly to prevent crusting. How to Care For Chickens. Wear a dust mask and mist the walls surrounding the area to control dust movement. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Hello, I’m M.D. A chicken tractor is basically just a moveable coop with an open bottom. And I felt like two weeks from the time laid was getting old! Whether kept in confinement or free-range, chickens are at risk of … Cooking eggs for chickens is fun because you can add all sorts of good extra nutrition items into the mix. Raising backyard chickens … ✅ Want more? If you’re short of money, you can keep bantams instead of regular chickens, since they tend to be cheaper to take care of, take up less space, and eat less than regular chickens. They essentially “go to sleep” and are easy to handle this way. Scrambled eggs should not be runny. Some chickens will wait their turn for a chosen nest if it is busy instead of using another nest. I got the hens used to me reaching under them to gather the eggs and I never got seriously pecked. They are pretty easy to take care of, and supply you with eggs and meat for the kitchen. There are also many individuals breeding and selling poultry. I learned to make many things I would not have learned to make without them. I think overcrowding and not handling the chicks could possibly be contributing factors. Many animals will eat eggs and eggs can draw animals such as fox, raccoon, snakes, opossum, and hawks to your area and potentially put your flock at risk. Be sure to have a minimum of 3 to 5 square feet per bird, including outdoor space. There are several regulations that you may encounter with chicken ownership. Do It Yourself Off The Grid Solar Power System, What Are The Best Medications to Stockpile, How to Store Water for Emergency Preparedness (and It’s Purification), Best Generator for Campers and Emergency Backup Power, How to Properly Take Care of Egg Laying Chickens, click here to see a full listing of Rodale Press books at Amazon.com, this automatic feeder at Amazon.com is awesome, Cook, Bake and Stew The Top Six Prepper Tools to Get It Done Effectively…, Defeating Drones: How To Build A Thermal Evasion Suit, Real (No B.S.) With care, vigilance and planning, you will be able to hatch baby chicks that grow up to become part of your backyard flock. You can order from major hatcheries online. Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. They do stop this after a couple of days after hatching, but it pays to keep a close eye on them or remove the water when you cannot watch them the first couple of days after hatching. Eggs should be picked up twice a day. Some cities may also limit the number of animals you can keep. Everything from mayonnaise to angel food cake to quiche became things enjoyed by my family as well as by the helpful neighbors. When a chicken isn't acting normal, for instance if she doesn't run to the food as usual or she wheezes or sneezes, start investigating. I left those eggs for the “broody” hen and she successfully hatched 8 chicks. To start this process, lay down about 4 inches of bedding. Their main predators are raccoons, rats, owls, hawks and cats. They love fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen and garden as well as bread. That makes it so much easier than caring for a brooder full of chicks! There should be a well-insulated area with a light bulb or heat lamp for the winter months as well as ventilation for fresh air. What is The Best Long Term Survival Foods? Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. I knew I had to protect the chickens from the weather and predators so I purchased a large roll of one inch chicken wire and 1 X 4 X 8 boards to fence a small area outside an old building that had previously been used as a chicken house on our “postage stamp sized” farm in the mountains of Virginia. One option is to complete thorough cleanings of the coop more than once a year. State Knife Laws Coops must provide protection from the weather and predators. Don’t expect all of the eggs to successfully hatch. All feeders should be removed and bedding completely cleared out. Rake and clean out the yard. Keeping the temperature and moisture levels correct was relatively easy; waiting for the 20 some days till the eggs started hatching was the hard part! However, don’t worry because I’ve made a list below! I was usually hoeing weeds, loosening and bringing fresh soil up around plants, or picking vegetables while the chickens were enjoying their time in the garden. I found the chickens would follow me and “work” where I was working. Over the next week, they became used to each other and the “chasing game” never happened again. The coop and pen should be cleaned out weekly to maintain sanitation and odor control. The inside of the coop needs to be disinfected — including troughs, perches and nests. Chickens need to be fed and water changed daily. Also, eggs need to be gathered each day and not left in the nests for long periods of time as some chickens will peck at the eggs and once a chicken cracks and eats some of it, it is almost impossible to stop this. Then CLICK HERE to go to my YouTube channel and check out the latest videos! This can be done with fingernail clippers but I never had to do it to my chicks. Inhalation of dried chicken manure can be harmful to humans. I did not have a rooster, so the eggs my hens were laying were not fertilized. It allows chickens to graze and eat bugs while still keeping them safe and contained. Let them go out during the day and … Not to mention, they love kitchen scraps, helping keep trash down. The chickens settled in pretty well. The USDA recommends a maximum of 5 weeks in your refrigerator before you discard your eggs" - was an eye-opener for me!!! The chickens could still run and escape any threat when outside their area, but not get 12 feet up in a tree. This is especially true in the summer as they cool themselves by panting. I no longer have the chickens, that farm or the neighbors but still, have the incubator. My interest in chickens began at age three when my grandmother would allow me to gather eggs from the nests in the chicken house at their farm. You have to check for eggs early in the coop. Chicken feed, food scraps, insects, and grass all help feed them. Chicken manure is made up of feed residue, intestinal bacteria, digestive juices, mineral by-products from metabolic processes, and water. Protecting from Predators. In nature, wild chickens commonly eat their own eggs as a food source. © Read more about site. Raising chickens can be fun and rewarding. In the meanwhile, I hope my experiences will be helpful to any of you with chickens or thinking about getting started with chickens. An enclosed space for chickens to stay at night is essential to their protection. Lifelong Eggs-pectations The question of how many chickens to buy depends on how many eggs you want (assuming you're raising chickens for eggs). Click Here To Read Reviews! During this cleaning, safety precautions must be taken in dealing with dust. We cover topics such as emergency preparedness, prepping, homesteading, bugging out, bug out bags, bushcraft, gear reviews, gardening, DIY projects, raising practical domestic animals such as ducks, chickens, and goats, and other related topics. A quality coop is essential to backyard chicken production. A healthy laying hen diet should also contain crushed oyster shell for egg production and grit for digestion. Collect eggs. Credit: Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow. I realized after a few days that chickens do not pick a nest as their own and use that one for themselves. I’m going to be giving you expert tips for incubating your own chicken eggs so that you can hatch your very own baby chicks using an incubator. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about chickens and maybe someday soon I will start another flock. Many animals will eat eggs and eggs can draw animals such as fox, raccoon, snakes, opossum, and hawks to your area and potentially put your flock at risk. Having a rooster for your laying hens is not a necessity and many cities don’t allow roosters because of their noise. So, if you want a dozen eggs a day, buy 18 hens. To disinfect, use one-tablespoon chlorine bleach to one gallon boiling water. Simply move the location of the house when manure begins to build up. They pick the egg up (one at a time) and rinse them off quickly under running water, then lay them out to dry. No, it is not bad to feed chickens eggs! The easiest time to catch them is when they are on a nest after laying. A regular light bulb is sufficient to supply this light. Many cooking methods can be used to cook eggs safely including poaching, hard cooking, scrambling, frying and baking. Once the chicks are losing their “baby feathers” and growing their larger feathers I introduce them to the other chickens by putting them in a wire box in the chicken yard. However, I soon realized, all I needed to know about them wasn’t in the neat little articles I read in magazines. Make sure they have a good, whole grain food with at least 17% protein, water them often, and keep the light on until you go to bed. If you are new to keeping chickens for the eggs they produce, it's important to clean those eggs before eating them.Egg cleaning methods are helpful to know for your personal needs or if you want to sell eggs at the farmers market or direct to consumers. It also minimizes cracked eggs and maximizes freshness. Roughly every tenth dropping is somewhat foamy, smellier than usual and light brown. A broody hen does require a little bit of care though. Otherwise, you can order fertilized eggs from hatcheries or from local chicken farmers to get started. Welcome to our Raising Chickens 101 Guide, a series of chapters especially geared to helping beginners! Raising Chickens 101 – All the info you need to get started raising chickens. I do suggest providing cooked eggs though, to prevent them from developing a liking for the taste of raw eggs. A third option is composting. Raising backyard chickens can be a rewarding experience and a great way to teach kids about nature, agriculture and responsibility of caring for animals. In fact, many municipalities do not allow roosters due to the noise. Scratch-cracked corn and oats are a nice treat for the chickens that does not supply all their nutritional needs but is fine in moderation. Active, alert chickens … One hen would even hop on my lap to be petted if I squatted down. In Homesteading by M.D. All rights reserved. Hens begin laying at around six months of age and can continue for five to 10 years with peak production occurring in the first two years.
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