How To Raise Chickens At Home
Even in our modernized society there are still good reasons for your average city dweller or suburban resident to learn how to raise chickens. Plenty of people raise at least some of their own food to avoid the pesticides and chemicals that are commonly used in corporate agriculture these days. Others have moral issues with the ways animals are raised on large farms. Some people just want to learn a little about the way that their ancestors lived or they just enjoy quick access to fresh eggs.
If you are determined to raise chickens, then the first thing that you should do is check on the legality of it in your area. If it is legal, then it may be controlled by certain health codes or restrictions. Learn about these issues and keep yourself out of trouble while you gather information and materials needed for successful chicken-raising.
The Chicken Coop
Before you acquire your first birds, you will need a coop. There are two schools of thought when it comes to chicken coops. Some prefer that these be as open and ventilated as possible. Others believe that chickens are better off in confinement, where they are protected from the elements and predators. Whichever way that you go with this, you will probably want special egg nests so that your birds can lay their eggs safely, unless you are just raising yours for meat.
Buying Your Birds
The next step brings you to the purchase of your first chickens. Your best bet is to check in with local feed stores and see if they have any day-old chicks. You can also get a chicken incubator and hatch your own chickens from eggs. If these options are not possible for you, look in Internet forums for listings that chickens.
Caring For Your Chicks
While your chickens will require little more than food and a clean shelter from you once they grow up, you will have to follow some special guidelines while you raise your first brood from eggs. They should start out life in what is called a young chick brooder. This could be as simple as a cardboard box but sturdier wood might be a better option. Strew some pine shavings or straw on the floor on the brooder. This not only helps them keep warm, it also allows you to clean their droppings easily. They clump together in the shavings and you simply scoop them all out and replace the floor covering with fresh stuff.
They will need heat. This can be provided simply by keeping a 100-watt bulb lit in one corner of their box. You can buy appropriate food for chickens this age at a feed store and you should always keep a water supply handy for them. Do not be afraid to play with them a little so that they get used to your presence and do not startle when you need to clean their coop or remove eggs later on in their lives.
Once they have all their feathers, move them into your chicken coop. Use the same kind of floor covering and keep your usual cleaning routine. They will keep themselves warm so you will not need a light bulb in the coop. Feed them with pellets you can buy in any feed store.