Raising Backyard Chickens 0 40

Raising backyard chickens
Raising backyard chickens
Backyard chickens

Backyard chicken rearing can really be fun just like keeping any other pet. The very first step is to educate yourself about local laws with respect to keeping backyard chicken. Be sure it is not forbidden and be ready to abide by every condition stipulated by the city. Once that is done, you are ready to start practicing everything you’ll learn from this guide.

Housing and early age nurturing

From day one, you’ll take on the role of the hen by providing a house with warmth, water and feed. This is called “brooding,” and it’s similar to what mother hens do while raising their chicks and the house is called a “brooder.” You can make a low cost brooder by forming a big cylinder or a box out of cardboards. The size will depend on the number of chicks you intend to raise. A garage, basement or a well-ventilated but enclosed room would be perfect.

Soft wood shavings will serve as bedding material for your chicks. Get plastic chick waterers and feeders to serve food and clean water. You’ll need to raise them up so the chicks will not mix up the water and food with the wood shavings. Get a light bulb just about 2 feet above the ground to provide heat and lighting.

Generally, your concern at this stage is to make the chicks comfortable and secure. Watch for predators like rodents or your other pets. You’ll continue to expand your brooder as your chicks grow bigger and begin to have little feathers. This could take between 4- 6 weeks after which you’ll set up an outdoor permanent rearing house. You are now ready to bring in your chicks.

Chick selection and feeding

Your choice of chick would depend on your objective, but you probably want egg-laying chickens called “layers”. Request for pullet chicks from a nearby farm, a local hatchery or online. Food and water should be served with unrestricted access at the early age. Chick starter mash is readily available at poultry stores and is pretty affordable.

Rearing in coops or free range

Now your chickens are grown with full feathers above 6 weeks old. Transfer your chickens from the brooder to the coops and feed them with growers mash. You can get specifications about building your chicken coops from local farm stores. Your permanent coops should be built so that there is enough space and ventilation.

You can adopt one out of the three different rearing systems. 1. Intensive system- where your chickens are kept permanently in coops and you provide them with food and water. 2. Semi-Intensive – where your chickens roam during the day and come back to nest. Here, you only need to supplement their food and water requirement. 3. Extensive system- Your responsibility here is just security. This is not so advisable because chickens are prey. Your choice would depend on a number of factors. Local laws regarding free range and space considerations would be the major factors.

Egg laying

By instinct, your chickens know when to enter the coops to lay. Average age for commencement of laying is between 18- 22 weeks. By this time, there is nothing much to do than to love and care for your chickens.

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How Many Chickens are there in the World? 0 27

How many chickens are there in the world?
How many chickens are there in the world?
How many chickens are there in the world?

Have you ever wondered just how many chickens there are in the world, or even within your own country? If you guessed a couple million, you’re not even close! One billion chickens? Still cold. The truth is that the verified chicken population from across the world totals to more than double our human population, specifically 15,853,900,900 chickens (nearly sixteen billion chickens), according to a 2002 estimate. However, that was just the verified chicken population. Numbers estimated in 2009 have put the number of chickens in the world to fifty billion chickens, with more than nine billion of them within the United States of America.

Considering that the estimate was conducted in 2009, it would be very likely that in 2017, the chicken population has risen even further. With many unreported chickens walking around the world, who knows how many there truly are?

You may be wondering, why are there so many chickens in the world? First off, we must consider the simplicity and ease of a female chicken (hen) in reproduction. All a hen must do is mate with a rooster to get an egg fertilized, where the egg will lay and if properly taken care of, will hatch into a baby chicken. So the process is uncomplicated.

Additionally, there has been a continually increasing demand for chicken as a food, encouraging chicken factories. Did you know that it is estimated that more than 1.25 billion chicken wings were eaten during the 2012 Super Bowl? In 1950, it was expected that the average American would consume 20 pounds of chicken per year, but in 2015, it was estimated that over 89 pounds of chicken was consumed. It is not a secret that we as humans are coming to enjoy and eat chicken more, and as expected, the chicken population has continued to rise substantially. 

There will truly never be a way to count the exact amount of chickens in the world, due to their broad diversity and the fact that there may be small farms and even chickens as pets! The number will forever be rising, as chicken farming as remained as one of the most lucrative industries to accommodate for our human needs and chicken as a staple food across the world. If you have wondered why chickens are getting cheaper as a whole, it’s because the amount of chickens has simply risen. The rising chicken population is simply indicative of what the concept of supply and demand can do for an industry.

“Chickens For Sale!”: Where to Buy Chickens 0 16

Chicken in a back yard
Chickens for sale
“Chickens for sale!”… where to buy chickens

Before you look at the sources from where you can buy the chickens, it’s important to understand that they are a number of species of the chickens. Just like any other farm varieties, the various species of chickens are also bred for very specific purpose as well. If you are extremely new to buying chickens and rearing them, the following tips are for you.

Buying chickens from a breeder and online hatchery

Of course, the first place to look for buying chickens would be a chicken breeder. Always buy from a reputable breeder. You can always get the reference for a local chicken breeder from those that own chickens in your area. Check out several breeders and look at their livestock before making a decisoin. Always take note of their livestock and look at the living conditions of the chickens. If you notice that the chickens are looking unhealthy, never buy from that breeder, even if their livestock is cheaper than the rest of the other breeders in that area.

Remember that there are a number of hatcheries that are also operating online. Even then you would first need to know the breed of chicken that you require. Find a hatchery that is reputable. There are several hatcheries that operate and you can always ask for references from the local chicken owners. Look at their websites carefully before making any purchases.

Check out their stock before you purchase the chicks online. Hatcheries won’t ship the chicks in the winter months as it becomes extremely cold for them. For this reason, the deliveries for the spring batch are booked well in advance. To ensure that you get your delivery, make sure to book for the spring batch well in advance.

When you have booked for the chicks online, you won’t get the deliveries personally. The deliveries will be made to your local post office and you’ll have to go and pick them up. Remember that these chicks will be quite thirsty and hungry, so ensure that you pick them up the very same day.

Before you buy the chickens online or from a reputed chicken breeder, here are a few steps that you should take first:

Prepare the living quarters. You will need to get the coop ready that can house the chickens and also house them once they are grown up. The ideal housing should have enough space for them for roosting and also provide protection to them from the outside predators. It’s important that the housing also has easy enough access for cleaning the area. Line the area with plenty of hay, dried leaves and keep enough feed and water for them to be well fed and looked after.

Buy the right kind of chicken feed for the breed that you have bought. Some feed is fortified with extra calcium to ensure that the chicken’s lay good and healthy eggs, while others ensure that the chickens increase their body mass considerably for chickens are meant for slaughtering.