Archive for The Ladies
Our backyard chicken farming started in 2005 when we got 4 laying hens and from then on we have never been chickenless. We now have seven happy, healthy chickens that give us any where from two to five eggs a day. Recently we added quail to our flock (we have 11 at the moment) and from them we get four to eight eggs a day.
Nothing tastes better than something that you farm yourself!
This is how I buy, handle, care for, and love chickens in ten easy steps:
- Buy your laying hens as chicks. I like to do this so I can raise them by hand. By the time they are adults they are very used to me and other people handling them.
- Research your breeds before you buy. You have to make sure that you know what you are getting! A rule of thumb is the lighter breeds tend to be more frisky but the heavier breeds tend to be more docile and slightly easier to handle.
- There is always the option of bantams. Bantams, also known as the teacup of the poultry world, are chickens that are 1/4 to 1/5 the size average chickens. Raising bantams is one of the fastest growing hobbies when it comes to chicken farming. I love them and I think they are some of the cutest little things ever.
- Don’t worry about when they will start laying. Chickens will lay in their own good time usually at about 15-22 weeks old.
- Handle your Chickens. A common mistake is that the chickens are not handled enough so they are not used to people. If you handle them frequently and properly they will be your best friends.
- Something I found recently was coconut coir. If you are particularly worried about how chickens are going to smell, use this stuff as your bedding and voila!! No smells!
- Chicken chores don’t have to happen often. I add new bedding and fluff it up and mix it with the old one about every month. and then I really clean everything, pull all the old bedding out and put new bedding in, about every six to eight weeks.
- When building Chicken Coops. You will want to build your chicken coop not to the amount of chickens you are first getting, but build for the number of birds that you eventually want to get. That way you don’t have to come back and expand the chicken coop later. (Like we had to do!)
- Make sure every one seems healthy. Chickens are prey so they hide when they’re not feeling well, so make sure they seem happy. If you really know your chicken you will learn to tell when they are not feeling well.
- Wash your chickens eggs, the eggs can be dirty. It is very exciting to get your first chickens eggs but don’t forget to wash them before you use them, but don’t wash them right away. The eggs have a protective membrane that keeps them fresh longer. If you wash them immediately, you wash the membrane away and they won’t stay as fresh, so rinse them under warm water right before you use them.
Last year we purchased some egg laying chickens. They have been a source of great joy and lots of yummy organic eggs for our family. This is our beautiful Pearl letting us know she has just laid an egg.