Purchasing chickens for egg production:
Many people have often kept chickens to supply eggs or as pets. Chickens make fantastic pets especially for younger children. However in some states and countries there can be laws around keeping chickens or selling eggs. So if you are considering keeping chickens, make sure to find out exactly what it is that you’ll need to get started and think about how to keep your flock healthy and safe. So to help you along the way we have put together a few points to think about:
What do chickens need?
Like all animals, looking after a flock of chickens takes effort and plenty of time. You will also need enough outdoor space for a chicken coop or and exercise space.
Where do I keep my chickens?
Chickens require plenty of space so they should be kept outdoors in a coop or large shed. You can purchase chicken coops from us here at www.largechickencoops.com, or you could go to the hassle of building your own.
What should my coop include?
* Approximately 1,100 square centimetres of floor area per bird
* A secure perch for them to sit on while they sleep
* A large exercise space, or also know as a ‘run’
* A cosy nesting box filled with wood shavings or straw for the hens to lay eggs
* You should clean the coop every week, including fresh bedding.
How do I keep my chickens safe from predators?
Many people who keep chickens have had some experience with predators. Commonly foxes, who make their way into the chicken coop.
Foxes for example can often climb over or dig under fences. They are also able to squeeze through very tiny spaces. Here are some tips on how to keep your chickens safe:
* Use wire mesh fencing around and above the chicken coop
* Fix and secure wooden boards to the bottom of fences (helps prevent digging)
* Check over the chicken coop regularly to ensure it’s secure
* Manually shut the chickens into their chicken coop at night
What to feed my chickens? (Link to the organic vs nonorganic article?)
You can buy an abundance of ready made food that includes everything your flock need to keep them healthy. Chickens need a continuous supply of dirt free drinking water. Try to purchase a container that the chickens knock over or step in.
How do I choose my chickens?
You can buy chickens at any age. From baby chicks that are still within the egg, to fully matured birds. Young chicks can be often be difficult to look after especially if you are new to raising chicken. You would also need special equipment and food to be able hatch your own.
If you are a beginner when it comes to keeping chickens you can always start with hens of four to five months. They are usually just starting to lay eggs and are considerably easy to look after.
Breeds of chicken (Link to the list of exotic chickens article?)
There is a wide variety of chicken breeds to choose from. Each breeds have particular and sometimes quirky characteristics. Many people often start with traditional Rhode Island Red, Light Sussex and Brown Leghorn. These breeds are exceptionally easy to care for and produce a considerable amount of eggs.
Firstly, trying checking local farming newspapers. They often include adverts of chickens for sale. Alternatively you can search the internet, using keywords such as ‘chickens for sale’ in your local area. Before buying chickens, try to select healthy birds. Here are some key points to look out for:
* Bright open eyes
* Glossy smooth feathers
* A red comb (fleshy area on a chickens heads)
* Remember that a non commercial hen is often a good buy if you aim for lots of eggs.