Raising Backyard Chickens 0 161

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 to ensure your parrot lives a long and happy life 0 153

Happy pet parrot

Are you considering getting a parrot as a pet or have you recently made the great decision to get one? Today we are going to explain how to ensure your parrot lives a long, happy and fulfilled life.

When you decide to purchase a parrot as a pet you have to be aware that they can live for a very long time depending on the exact type and breed. Your new parrot from day one will become a huge part of your life and most definitely a part of the family.

Consider the size of the cage

The first thing you will probably think about when getting your parrot is its cage. This is going to be where your parrot spends most of its time, so it is essential that the cage isn’t too small. Your parrot will be happy within its cage but not if the cage is crammed and leaving it feeling hemmed in – it should definitely be big enough so that your new pet can fully stretch out its wings and have room either side. Cover the bottom of your cage with newspaper as it will get messy each day – this offers an affordable and quick way to change it over every day.

Where you place your cage is just as important. Do not place your cage in the kitchen as fumes are extremely bad for parrots. Do not place near a window or in direct sunlight. Look for a calm, quiet spot for your bird to enjoy.

Feeding your parrot

When feeding your parrot, you need to remember that they enjoy a varied diet including parrot pellets from your local pet shop and a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Parrots can be given various other foods, but it is important to check that they are safe first, as chocolate and avocado are not.

Letting your parrot out of its cage

You need to ensure you let your parrot out of its cage at least once a day, ensuring this is supervised. Parrots are extremely clever and should be stimulated to ensure they remain as happy as possible. Give them a selection of suitable toys and you can practice tricks with your new pet. Most importantly, look after your parrot and ensure it is loved and well cared for.

Learn more about caring for pet birds

Hatching Chickens 0 203

Chicken hatching
Hatching chickens
Two chickens hatching

It’s the 18th day of incubation for your chicks, and one of them is beginning to hatch from its shell! You may even hear peeps coming from the eggs. What do you do now? Here’s a quick guide to hatching chickens.

When an egg is freshly laid its temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. A chicken begins to develop at 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The chicken does not develop from the yolk or the egg white, but from a small segment of cells called a blastodisc.

First, try not to move the egg because the chick is already in a position to hatch. Moving the egg means the chick has to move back into the hatching position, and this causes them to expend energy and weaken them.

After 2 more days of incubation, the chick will more than likely begin to pierce the membrane of the egg with its beak. This lets in outside air for the chick. Then, the chick must chip away at the shell, and it does this in a circular pattern. It may take up to a few hours for a chick to complete chip away the shell so that the top pops off. After this tiring process, the chick may simply lie there for a while to rest and dry off.

While it may be tempting to help chicks come out of their shell if they are having difficulty, it’s actually not a good idea. Hatching is an incredibly slow process, and patience is key. If the membrane of the shell has dried out too much around the chick, you can slowly and very carefully help the chick with tweezers.

So what should you do if the eggs hatch late? (FYI- If the eggs hatch early, the incubator temp was probably too high, or you miscounted the days. If the eggs hatch too late, the temp was probably too cold, or you didn’t store the eggs properly before incubation.) If a lot of the eggs fail to hatch by day 22, pull some out and open them. They could have improperly formed embryos or no embryo at all. If you do find some living embryos, put the unopened eggs back for more time in the incubator.

Many problems are associated with incubation temperatures and humidity level. High temperatures can result in malformed chicks, and temps that are too low can result in chicks hatching with egg goo on them. If chicks have bad legs, it may have been caused by hatching them on a slippery surface.

There’s much more to learn about backyard chicken care…