Sunday, May 26, 2013

Outside the kitchen: Part 2

Last time we discussed owning chickens and having your own backyard coop. This week we will continue learning about what type of chickens you should own and how to feed them.


3. Once you have your coop selected, it's time to select the variety of chicken you want to join your family. Some hens are bred more for egg production, while some are fun to have just for the variety of eggs or feather colors. Do a little research online to see what appeals to you the most. Finding chicks to purchase locally is becoming easier and easier. A local farm, feed store or fellow chicken enthusiast is a great place to start. You can also ask farmers selling fresh eggs at your local market if they offer chicks or can recommend a good source. If you are unable to locate a nearby source for chicks, there are hatcheries that will safely ship baby chicks immediately after they hatch. The post office will get a kick out of receiving your day old chicks. I speak from experience.


4. To keep your hens fit and productive, feed them the best food you can, provide fresh water daily and clean the nest boxes frequently. If possible, let your chickens roam freely in a fenced yard or in a covered exercise pen that you can move around. A healthy chicken will lay, at most, one egg per day, but it is rare to have a flock that is 100 percent productive. The egg yield will depend on the individual hens, the relative health of the flock, the number of daylight hours and many other factors that can all change throughout the year.


Chickens are one of the easiest animals to own and require very little attention. Before you dismiss the idea of owning chickens, consider doing it for your kids or grand kids. They will thank you later. And maybe one day they will say that chickens were one of the greatest experiences of their life.

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