Raising Chicken For Eggs And Meat
You can raise chickens in your small backyard or on 20 acres. They are great starter livestock. Chickens can be used to produce meat, fertilizer, or eggs. They are very easy to manage. A list of the top chicken breeds can be found online and in books.
Online information can be outdated. Elliotthomestead.com offers this comprehensive guide to help you select the best breeds, best chicken feeds, and chicken coops.
You can also see: chicken coop heater.
How to Choose the Best Chicken Breeds?
You must consider the following factors when choosing the best starter chicken breeds: meat production, egg production, temperament, and cost.
It is always recommended to try another breed if you have tried a particular breed for a year and it does not work. Another option is to try several breeds at once and eliminate those that don’t have the desired qualities.
Once you have selected the best breeds, you can use a Hatchery Locator to find the nearest mail-order sources. To identify breeders quickly, you can use the hatchery directories and poultry breeders directories.
You should ask many questions before placing an order. Many breeders and hatcheries are well-known for certain traits.
One quick example is that some might deal only with Orpingtons because of their high egg production. Some breeders deal with other breeds because of the high-quality meat production.
Local farm shops should carry layers and meat chickens. These stores will have knowledgeable staff who can help you with egg production and keeping your chickens healthy. These are just a few of the breeds you can try.
- Leghorns are flighty, but they make the best egg layers.
- Sex-Link chickens are the best eggs producers. They come in many colors, including black and red. They can lay approximately 275 eggs per year.
- Rhode Island Reds: This is a great layer that lays approximately 250 brown eggs per year.
- Barred Rocks are large, beautiful chickens that lay blue, green, or speckled eggs. They can lay up to 250 eggs per year.
- Buff Orpington: These are yellow-colored hens that have a sweet, docile personality. They can lay between 225 and 250 brown eggs per year.
- Cornish cross: This is the most popular type of chicken meat due to its great taste. It takes about 2-3 months for the chickens to reach maturity. They do not forage and will eat quite a bit during these three months. Chickens are heavier than normal and have a faster growth rate, leading to skeletal problems and heart problems.
- Red Rangers: The Red Rangers look a lot like the Cornish Cross, but they don’t grow as fast. They are known for their ability to forage. Their final weight is lower than that of the Cornish Cross.
Local farm stores can sell hatched chickens that are only a few hours or days old. To ensure they have them available when you arrive, call them ahead.
A quality brooder is essential for chicks’ growth.
There are many brooders on the market, so you will likely spend a lot of time looking for the best. If you can give your chicks water, food, and heat, then anything is possible.
To avoid being late, you will need to put the brooder up at least one day in advance of the arrival of the chicks. To make cleaning easy, line the bottom of any container with newspaper or paper towels. Finish by topping up with pine shavings.
These are the Top Two Brooders You Should Try:
Farm Innovators Model 3700 Starter Kit for Baby Chicks
This brooder will grow your chicks perfectly. Because it is made from interlocking plastic, its size can be adjusted. They can be rearranged to suit your needs. Your chicks and ducklings won’t be able to jump out of the plastics until they are ready to go to the coop.
Farm Innovators Model 3700 Baby Chick Starter Kit comes with plastic panels measuring 18 by 12 inches. You can use it by simply unpacking the panels and connecting them to form a corral measuring 3 feet in diameter. You will have enough space to hold 15 chicks in the brooder.
The adjustable height lamp can be adjusted from 20 to 34 inches. To adjust the temperature, you can lower or increase it. The temperature will decrease if the lamp is turned up, but it will rise if it is turned down.
This means that your chicks won’t crowd together in one spot. For easier storage, unhook the plastic panels after your chicks are grown.
Brinsea Eco Glow Brooder For Chicks and Ducklings
Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder is 12 inches wide by 8 inches high by 9 inches deep. This size will hold 20 chicks. The size can be adjusted to fit the number of baby chicks in your garden.
To make the brooder, the manufacturer uses antimicrobial polyurethane plastic. It is nonconductive and resists bacteria contamination well.
A 12V transformer powers the heater. The heater uses only 18 watts of energy, which is less than standard heat lamps that consume more than 250. The radiant-heated underside offers constant warmth. A light indicator will let you know when it is turned on or off.
Because it is challenging to measure radiant heat air temperatures using a thermometer, you’ll need to test your hands. Your chicks’ behavior will show you if the heat is too much.
A cardboard box that is twice as big as the brooder size you select will be sufficient. Place the brooder on its side. This will allow you to control chick movement and conserve energy.
How to Choose the Right Chicken Feed?
The chicken breeds and life stages of your chickens will determine the type of feed that you purchase. Chick Starter feed is required for every chick and baby chicken. It’s formulated specifically for chicks just hatched.
They will need the feed for several weeks before they can mature. You will need to carefully choose the feeds that are made for egg chickens or meat.
The bag will indicate whether the feed is suitable for chickens or meat. Store staff can help you with this part.
Feeds that contain between 14-18% protein are best for your eggs birds’ health. This will ensure that eggshells don’t break easily and prevent them from becoming sick. This information will be indicated on the bag’s content list. Distributors offer feed in the form of mash, crumbles, and pellets.
You can choose from one type of feed or another for different stages of your chickens. These are the types of feed that are available.
Mash feed is typically finely ground and is usually made for chicks. It can choke chicks due to its soft texture.
The feed is generally safe for chick-growing. However, if the feed becomes problematic, you can switch to pellets or crumbles.
Crumble feeds have a similar appearance to Grape Nuts cereal. They measure approximately 1/16 inches in diameter. This feed is easy to swallow for chicks and will cause less mess than mash feed. It can be used for adult chickens, but it is not recommended for hens older than ten years.
You will need to purchase pellets to reduce waste. Chicken feed can be expensive, so you need to minimize wastage.
Pelletized feeds are approximately 1/4 inch long. When your chicks reach the age of adolescence, pelletized feeds will be available for you to purchase. This will help you reduce wastage and make more money.
Organic feed is a good choice, even though it can be expensive. It is available in most local shops, but you can also order it online if it is not available.
Organic feeds are made from natural grains, seeds, and peas, which provide all the nutrients your chickens require.
These Are the Best Foods You Should Try:
Picky NEB 100 Percent Non-GMO Dried Meal Worms
GMOs are destroying our food supply not only for us but also for birds and other animals. You should be happy to see the Non-GMOs clause on the Picky NEB 100 percent Non-GMO Dry Meal Worms pack.
Dried mealworms have many benefits because of their high protein content. These mealworms will aid your chicks in growing their feathers faster and giving them a stronger immune system for the cold season.
Mealworms are rich in protein and other nutrients that baby chickens and other birds require during winter. Some people use them to feed their pond fish, turtles, hedgehogs, and the rare wild birds that are difficult to attract.
The great taste is what you will remember most about eggs. The eggs are thick and well-formed. You can raise healthier animals and produce healthier food.
Mealworms are a favorite food of birds because they have a great taste. You must keep them out of reach and only give the chickens a small amount each day. Dried mealworms are larval stage mealworm beetles – the darkling beetle.
The life cycle of this beetle is four-staged: egg, larvae, and pupa. The Picky Mealworms eat fresh non-GMO oats and grains, or wheat ban, along with sliced carrots, apple pieces, potato, and potato slices. They have been used to feed fish, reptiles, birds, and other animals for centuries. People eat fried mealworms in some parts of the world as a snack.
Organic Layer Feed for Ducks and Chickens that is Naturally Free
The Naturally Free Organic Layer Food for Ducks and Chickens is the best organic feed. It is non-GMO and contains no soya. It is also non-GMO.
It is made from organic whole grains and has around 16 percent protein. It is designed to give your flock a balanced and nutritious feed to provide them with the best health.
Calcium is found in chicken feed. Calcium is essential for eggshell strength. This means that the feed is not suitable for egg-laying hens or those about to begin producing eggs.
This product is one of the most healthy you can buy online, and it’s grown sustainably by the producer. To support local agriculture, they only purchase products from Pacific NW farmers.
This is an excellent choice for birds over 20 weeks of age. It can be fed to ducks, geese. It has a long shelf life, and its small packaging helps reduce its carbon footprint.
How to Choose the Best Chicken Coops?
You will need to provide shelter for your chickens from predators and unfavorable weather conditions. There are many coop designs on the market. You should choose a design that suits your needs.
These are the top things to remember when purchasing a coop.
How Many Chickens Are You Considering Keeping?
Remember that chickens will require approximately 2-3 square feet for their coop. If you plan to raise four chickens, you’ll need 8-12 square feet of coop space. You can always modify a coop to fit your needs.
No matter if you need a run or a free-range,
The run is an enclosed area that allows chickens to be outside but protects them from predators. This option is popular because chickens can poo in every area, but they are kept in a safe place.
They will also not wander into neighboring gardens or destroy crops and flowerbeds. The run will keep them in a restricted area. Some farmers prefer to keep their chickens as free as they can but close to the coop.
If your chickens don’t mind roaming around and scratching, and predators aren’t common in your area, you can let them go.
You can allow your chickens to eat seeds and bugs, and grass, and they will be able to enter the coop at night. No matter what method you use, your chicken will thrive. They only require water and food.
Because it requires less care, many people choose to free-range chickens. You will need to be vigilant for predators such as owls or hawks. Ground predators include skunks and raccoons.
Consider whether your home is in an urban or rural setting when deciding which chicken coop you want to purchase. If you live in an urban area, your chickens must be kept in a safe place. You can also clip their wings to make sure your perimeter wall isn’t damaged.
Mobile or Stationary
Stationery chicken coops are not mobile and can be left in the same spot within the yard or pasture. On the other hand, Mobile coops have wheels that can be moved to any location in the yard or pasture. You can feed your chickens the tasty bugs and fresh grass by having a mobile chicken coop.
A mobile chicken coop with an attached run will allow the chickens to cover more area. The droppings can also be used to fertilize the entire yard.
Stationery chicken coops are for those who wish to keep their chickens in one place. This allows for easy access and collection of eggs as well as chickens.
Stationery allows birds to roam free and return to the coop at night. A wide path should be provided to get them to the coop.
An enclosed run can become muddy as chickens will eat the grass and scratch at the dirt looking for worms. This route will require you to put wood chips in the run to allow the chickens to scratch them and reduce the amount of mud. The chickens will be happy if you add leftover vegetables and mealworms to the run.
These Are the Best Chicken Coops You Should Try:
Best Choice Products Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Wire Fence Hen House Poultry Cage
The Best Choice Products Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop is the perfect choice for you looking for the best starter chicken coop. This coop has many useful features and can be customized and expanded.
It is made from fir wood and comes with an enclosed pen and a chicken house. It is approximately 6 feet by 4 feet, with enough space to house 3-4 hens.
A nesting box with a half-wall partition will provide adequate laying space, while the hinged area allows for easier egg collection. A removable tray is located under the large hen house. This can be used to change the bedding or clean up the droppings more quickly.
A chicken coop is an excellent choice for small flocks with three to four hens. If you wish to have more chickens, you’ll need to buy two or three chicken coops.
It is designed in a way that allows customization. To protect your eggs and henhouse from theft, you can seal the wood.
SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop Backyard House
SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen Houses are weatherproof, easy to assemble, and great for egg layering. It is made of sturdy, double-walled plastic and can hold approximately six birds. This depends on the breed.
Three elevated bars are provided for roosting and can be placed at different heights. Two nesting boxes with removable dividers will be provided to provide four locations for egg-laying.
A removable tray is one of the essential features that you will notice. This allows for easier cleaning and changing the bedding. Side vents that can be adjusted for better circulation are located above the nesting box to allow for egg collection. Cleaning is made easier by the hinged roof.
SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop is easier to assemble for most farmers. Because the pieces are pre-assembled, you don’t need any tools. One reviewer claimed that a bear was searching for food and tossed the coop about but couldn’t reach the birds because of the strong construction and the effective locks.
This coop doesn’t come with a window or run. You will need to ensure that your chickens have enough space to roam and forage during the day. It is much easier to assemble than most chicken coops you can buy online to protect your chickens.
Three main challenges should be expected when raising chickens. There are three main challenges when raising chickens: predators, diseases, and pests. Some chickens can die. To ensure their safety, however, you need to keep an eye on your chickens.
They will also encounter behavioral problems such as fighting, pecking order, complaints, and fighting daily. To ensure your birds’ safety and health, make sure the coop is kept clean. Learn more about raising chicken here.