The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens (2023)

The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens (1)

Raising chickens is a great hobby that is becoming more popular these days. With the right setup, raising chickens can be a fun and rewarding experience that can provide you with fresh eggs and meat.

Before you start looking for chickens to raise, it's important to consider your goals for raising chickens. Are you primarily interested in eggs, meat, or both? Do you want chickens for their beauty or as pets? Answering these questions will help you narrow down the type of chicken that will best suit your needs.

Once you have an idea of what you're looking for, you can start researching different breeds of chickens. There are hundreds of different chicken breeds, each with their own unique characteristics. Some breeds are known for their excellent egg-laying abilities, while others are better suited for meat production. Some breeds are known for their docile temperament, while others are more independent.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing chickens to raise:

1. Climate and Environment

Different breeds of chickens are adapted to different climates and environments. Before you choose a breed, consider the climate and environment in which you live. If you live in a hot and humid climate, for example, you'll want to choose a breed that can handle the heat. Similarly, if you live in a cold climate, you'll want to choose a breed that is hardy and can withstand the cold temperatures.

Consider the amount of space you have available for your chickens as well. If you have a large yard or acreage, you can choose larger breeds that need more space. If you have limited space, you may want to choose smaller breeds that can be kept in smaller coops.

2. Egg Production

If you're primarily interested in raising chickens for their eggs, you'll want to choose a breed that is known for its egg-laying abilities. Some breeds are excellent layers and can produce up to 300 eggs per year, while others may only lay a few dozen eggs per year.

If you want a consistent supply of eggs, look for breeds that are known for their year-round egg production. Some breeds, such as Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, are excellent year-round layers.

3. Meat Production

If you're interested in raising chickens for their meat, you'll want to choose a breed that is known for its meat production. Some breeds, such as Cornish Cross and Freedom Rangers, are bred specifically for meat production and can be ready for processing in as little as 8-10 weeks.

Other breeds, such as the Plymouth Rock and Jersey Giant, are known for their excellent meat quality and can be raised for both meat and eggs.

4. Temperament

If you're looking for chickens to raise as pets, you'll want to choose breeds that have a friendly and docile temperament. Some breeds, such as Silkies and Cochins, are known for their gentle and friendly nature and are often kept as pets.

Other breeds, such as Leghorns and Easter Eggers, can be more independent and may not be as friendly towards humans.

5. Appearance

If you're interested in raising chickens for their beauty, you'll want to choose breeds that have striking and unique appearances. There are many breeds of chickens that come in a wide range of colors and patterns, from the striking black and white of the Barred Plymouth Rock to the iridescent green and purple of the Australorp.

6. Size

When choosing chickens to raise, you'll also want to consider their size. Some breeds, such as the Bantam, are much smaller than other breeds and require less space. Other breeds, such as the Jersey Giant, can grow to be quite large and require more space and food.

7. Broodiness

Broodiness refers to a hen's tendency to sit on and hatch eggs. If you're interested in hatching your own chicks, you'll want to choose a breed that is known for its broodiness. Some breeds, such as Silkies and Cochins, are known for their broodiness and make excellent mothers.

Other breeds, such as Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, are not as broody and may require the use of an incubator to hatch eggs.

8. Disease Resistance

Another important factor to consider when choosing chickens to raise is disease resistance. Some breeds are more susceptible to diseases than others, and choosing a breed that is known for its disease resistance can help prevent illness in your flock.

9. AvailabilityFinally, you'll want to consider the availability of the breed you're interested in. Some breeds are more popular than others and may be easier to find at local hatcheries or breeders. Other breeds may be more rare and may require more effort to locate.

The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens (2)

Where to Find Chickens

Once you've decided on the breed or breeds of chickens you want to raise, the next step is to find them. There are several places you can look for chickens:

1.HatcheriesMany hatcheries specialize in breeding and selling different breeds of chickens. Hatcheries typically offer chicks for sale and may also offer hatching eggs or adult birds.

When purchasing chicks from a hatchery, it's important to choose a reputable hatchery that breeds healthy and disease-free birds. Look for hatcheries that are certified by the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) or have a good reputation in the poultry community.

2.Feed StoresSome feed stores also sell chicks and adult birds. While feed stores may not offer the same variety of breeds as hatcheries, they can be a convenient and accessible option for purchasing chickens.

3.Local BreedersLocal breeders can be a great source for rare and unique breeds of chickens. You can search for local breeders online or through local poultry associations.

When purchasing birds from a local breeder, it's important to ask about the health and history of the birds. You'll want to choose birds that are healthy and disease-free to prevent the spread of illness to your flock.

4.Online RetailersThere are many online retailers that sell chickens and hatching eggs. While purchasing chickens online can be convenient, it's important to choose a reputable retailer and to carefully research the breed and seller before making a purchase.

Tips for Choosing Healthy Chickens

When selecting chickens to raise, it's important to choose healthy birds to prevent the spread of illness in your flock. Here are some tips for choosing healthy chickens:

1.Observe the BirdsWhen selecting chickens, take the time to observe the birds and their behavior. Look for birds that are active, alert, and moving around. Avoid birds that are lethargic or appear sick.

2.Check for Signs of IllnessWhen examining chickens, look for signs of illness such as sneezing, coughing, or discharge from the eyes or nostrils. Avoid birds that show any signs of illness.

3.Check for ParasitesCheck the birds for parasites such as lice and mites. Look for small insects crawling on the birds or their feathers.

4.Check the VentWhen purchasing adult birds, check the vent (the area under the tail) for signs of health. The vent should be clean and free of discharge.

5.Quarantine New BirdsWhen introducing new birds to your flock, it's important to quarantine them for at least two weeks to prevent the spread of illness. Keep new birds in a separate area away from your existing flock and observe them for any signs of illness before introducing them to your other birds.

How to Choose or Build a Chicken Coop.

Before we dive in, it's important to understand what a chicken coop is and why it's necessary. A chicken coop is a structure that provides shelter, security, and comfort for your chickens. It's also a place for them to lay their eggs. A good chicken coop will protect your chickens from predators such as foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey.

When choosing a chicken coop, you have two options: buying a pre-made coop or building one yourself. Let's take a look at both options and their pros and cons.

Buying a Pre-Made Chicken Coop

Buying a pre-made chicken coop can be a good option for those who don't have much DIY experience or don't have the time or tools to build a coop from scratch. There are many pre-made chicken coops available on the market, ranging in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Pros of buying a pre-made chicken coop:

  1. Convenience: Pre-made chicken coops are ready to use right out of the box. All you have to do is assemble it and add your chickens.

  2. Design:Pre-made chicken coops come in a variety of designs, so you can choose one that fits your style and needs.

  3. Cost:While some pre-made chicken coops can be expensive, there are also many affordable options available.

Cons of buying a pre-made chicken coop:

  1. Limited customization: While there are many designs to choose from, you may not be able to customize the coop to fit your exact needs.

  2. Quality:The quality of pre-made chicken coops can vary greatly. Some may not be as sturdy or secure as others.

  3. Size:Pre-made chicken coops may not come in the exact size you need for your flock.

Building a Chicken Coop

Building a chicken coop can be a great option for those who enjoy DIY projects and want to customize the coop to fit their exact needs. It can also be more cost-effective than buying a pre-made coop.

Pros of building a chicken coop:

  1. Customization:Building your own chicken coop allows you to customize it to fit your exact needs and preferences.

  2. Quality:When you build your own chicken coop, you can ensure that it's sturdy and secure.

  3. Cost:Building your own chicken coop can be more cost-effective than buying a pre-made one, especially if you use reclaimed materials.

Cons of building a chicken coop:

  1. Time-consuming: Building a chicken coop from scratch can be a time-consuming project, especially if you're not experienced in DIY projects.

  2. Tools and materials:You'll need to have the necessary tools and materials to build a chicken coop, which can be an added expense.

  3. Skill level:Building a chicken coop requires some level of skill and experience with DIY projects.

Factors to Consider When Choosing or Building a Chicken Coop

No matter whether you choose to buy or build a chicken coop, there are some important factors to consider to ensure that your chickens are safe, comfortable, and happy.

      1. Size: The size of your chicken coop should be based on the number of chickens you plan to keep. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 3 to 4 square feet per chicken inside the coop and 8 to 10 square feet per chicken in the outside run.

      2. Ventilation:Good ventilation is important for keeping your chickens are healthy and comfortable. Make sure your chicken coop has plenty of windows, vents, or air holes to allow fresh air to circulate. This will also help reduce moisture buildup and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

      3. Security: Your chicken coop should be secure and protected from predators. Make sure the coop has sturdy walls and doors that can be securely closed at night. You may also want to add wire mesh to the windows and run area to prevent predators from getting in.

      4. Roosting and nesting areas: Your chickens need a place to roost at night and lay their eggs. Make sure your coop has roosting bars or poles for them to perch on and nesting boxes for them to lay their eggs in.

      5. Easy access: Your chicken coop should be easy for you to access for cleaning, feeding, and collecting eggs. Make sure there's enough space for you to move around inside the coop and that the nesting boxes are easily accessible.

      6. Durability: Your chicken coop should be able to withstand the elements and last for several years. Choose materials that are durable and weather-resistant, such as pressure-treated wood, metal, or plastic.

      7. Aesthetics: While not a critical factor, the aesthetics of your chicken coop can be important if you want it to blend in with your backyard or garden. Choose a design that fits your style and preferences.

Whether you choose to buy or build a chicken coop, remember that it's an investment in the health and well-being of your chickens. Take the time to research and consider your options before making a decision. A well-designed and constructed chicken coop can provide years of enjoyment and fresh eggs for you and your family.

The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens (3)

Feeding Your Chickens:

Feeding is an important aspect of keeping them healthy and happy. However, it's not as simple as just throwing some feed in their coop and calling it a day. In this article, we'll discuss how to feed chickens properly to ensure they get the nutrition they need.

  1. Choose the right feed

The first step in feeding chickens is choosing the right feed. There are many different types of chicken feed available, including pellets, crumbles, and mash. You'll want to choose a feed that's appropriate for the age and type of chickens you have.

For example, chicks need a different type of feed than adult chickens. Look for a feed that's specifically formulated for chicks, as it will contain higher levels of protein and other essential nutrients for growth.

For adult chickens, you'll want to choose a feed that's appropriate for their type. For example, layer feed is formulated for chickens that are laying eggs, while broiler feed is formulated for chickens that are being raised for meat.

  1. Provide access to clean water

In addition to feed, chickens also need access to clean water at all times. Make sure your chickens have access to fresh, clean water in a waterer that's appropriate for their size and age.

You'll need to refill the waterer regularly and clean it out to prevent bacteria growth. If the water is dirty or contaminated, it can lead to health problems for your chickens.

  1. Offer occasional treats

While feed and water are the main staples of a chicken's diet, you can also offer occasional treats to your chickens. This can include things like fruit, vegetables, or even mealworms.

However, it's important to offer treats in moderation. Too many treats can lead to an unbalanced diet and health problems for your chickens.

  1. Use feeders and feed in moderation

When feeding chickens, it's important to use feeders to prevent waste and keep the coop clean. Use a feeder that's appropriate for the number of chickens you have and the type of feed you're using.

You'll also want to be careful not to overfeed your chickens. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and waste money on feed that goes to waste.

  1. Adjust feeding as necessary

Finally, it's important to adjust your chickens' feeding as necessary based on their age, health, and laying habits. For example, if your chickens aren't laying as many eggs as they used to, you may need to adjust their feed to provide more calcium or other essential nutrients.

Similarly, if your chickens are getting older or developing health problems, you may need to adjust their feed to provide more protein or other essential nutrients to help them stay healthy.

In conclusion, feeding chickens is an important aspect of keeping them healthy and happy. Make sure to choose the right feed, provide access to clean water, offer occasional treats, use feeders and feed in moderation, and adjust feeding as necessary. With proper feeding and care, your chickens will thrive and provide you with fresh eggs and companionship for years to come.

The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens (4)

Harvesting Eggs

If you're new to raising chickens, harvesting eggs may seem like a daunting task. However, with a little knowledge and practice, it's a simple and rewarding process. In this article, we'll discuss how to harvest eggs from chickens properly to ensure they're fresh, clean, and safe to eat.

  1. Collect Eggs Regularly

The first step in harvesting eggs from chickens is to collect them regularly. Chickens typically lay eggs in the morning, so it's best to collect eggs once a day in the morning or early afternoon.

Collecting eggs regularly not only ensures they're fresh, but it also helps prevent eggs from getting broken or soiled by the chickens.

  1. Use Clean Containers

When collecting eggs, it's important to use clean containers. You can use egg cartons, baskets, or other containers that are appropriate for the number of eggs you're collecting.

Make sure the containers are clean and dry before collecting eggs to prevent contamination or spoilage.

  1. Handle Eggs Gently

When handling eggs, it's important to be gentle to prevent them from breaking. Use both hands to pick up the eggs, and avoid dropping them or tossing them into the container.

Eggs are fragile, and even small cracks or breaks can lead to contamination or spoilage.

  1. Inspect Eggs for Cleanliness and Freshness

Before storing or consuming eggs, it's important to inspect them for cleanliness and freshness. Look for any cracks or breaks in the shell, as well as any soiling or debris on the shell.

If an egg is dirty, you can gently wipe it clean with a dry cloth or sandpaper. If the egg is cracked or broken, discard it.

You can also check the freshness of an egg by placing it in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom, while older eggs will float to the top.

  1. Store Eggs Properly

Once you've collected and inspected your eggs, it's important to store them properly. Store eggs in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

You can store eggs in the refrigerator, but it's not necessary if you plan to use them within a week or two. If you do refrigerate eggs, make sure to store them in their original container or in a clean, covered container.

In conclusion, harvesting eggs from chickens is a simple and rewarding process. Collect eggs regularly, use clean containers, handle eggs gently, inspect eggs for cleanliness and freshness, and store eggs properly to ensure they're fresh, clean, and safe to eat. With a little knowledge and practice, you'll be enjoying fresh eggs from your chickens in no time.

Harvesting Chickens for Meat

This can be a daunting task for those new to raising chickens, butharvestingmeat from chickens may be necessary for some. With proper preparation and technique, it can be a rewarding task without stess.

  1. Preparation

Before you begin the harvesting process, it's important to prepare your equipment and workspace. You'll need a sharp knife, cutting board, plucking machine or a pot of hot water for scalding, and a clean, sanitized workspace.

Make sure you have everything you need at hand and that all equipment is clean and in good working order.

  1. Processing

The first step in harvesting chickens for meat is to process them. To do this, you'll need to kill the chicken quickly and humanely.

One of the most common methods of killing chickens is the neck-breaking method. This involves holding the chicken upside down by the legs, then stretching the neck and quickly breaking it with a sharp snap.

Another method is to use a sharp knife to make a quick cut across the chicken's neck, severing the carotid arteries and jugular veins.

Once the chicken is dead, it's time to remove the feathers. You can either use a plucking machine or scald the chicken in hot water for a few seconds to loosen the feathers, then manually pluck them off.

Next, remove the head and feet by cutting them off at the joints. Make sure to remove the crop, which is the small pouch near the neck that holds food, as well as the oil gland near the base of the tail.

  1. Evisceration

The next step is to eviscerate the chicken. Begin by making a small cut just below the breastbone, then use your fingers to gently pull the skin away from the flesh.

Next, make a cut through the abdominal wall and use your fingers to locate and remove the organs. Be sure to remove the heart, lungs, liver, and gallbladder, and discard them in a compost pile or trash bin.

Rinse the cavity thoroughly with cold water to remove any remaining debris, then pat dry with a clean towel.

  1. Cooling and storage

Once the chicken has been eviscerated, it's time to cool it down. You can either place it in a bucket of ice water or hang it in a cool, dry place for a few hours.

After the chicken has cooled down, it's time to store it. You can either freeze it or store it in the refrigerator for a few days.

If you plan on freezing the chicken, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or freezer paper to prevent freezer burn. You can also vacuum-seal the chicken for long-term storage.

In conclusion, harvesting chickens for meat can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With the right tools and techniques, you can produce your own high-quality, homegrown meat. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and seek advice from experienced chicken farmers to ensure a successful harvest.

Common Issues to Watch for When Raising Chickens

There are several common problems you could encounter when raising chickens. Here are the most common problems you could face and how to address them.

  1. Health issues

One of the most common problems when raising chickens is health issues. Chickens are susceptible to a variety of illnesses and diseases, including respiratory infections, egg-laying problems, and parasite infestations.

To prevent health issues, it's important to provide your chickens with a clean and comfortable living environment. Regularly clean their coop, provide fresh water and food, and ensure they have plenty of space to move around.

If you suspect your chickens are sick, it's important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the spread of disease and improve your chicken's chances of recovery.

  1. Predator attacks

Another common problem when raising chickens is predator attacks. Chickens are vulnerable to predators like foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey, which can easily kill or injure your birds.

To prevent predator attacks, it's important to secure your chicken coop and run. Use sturdy fencing, lock all doors and windows, and cover any openings to prevent predators from getting in.

You can also use deterrents like motion-activated lights or sprinklers to scare away potential predators.

  1. Egg-laying problems

Egg-laying problems are another common issue when raising chickens. Hens may stop laying eggs due to stress, illness, or lack of proper nutrition.

To encourage egg-laying, make sure your hens have access to a nutritious diet, plenty of clean water, and a comfortable nesting area. You can also try adding a calcium supplement to their diet to promote healthy egg production.

If your hens still aren't laying eggs, it may be a sign of a larger health issue. Consult with a veterinarian to identify and address any underlying health issues.

  1. Pecking and aggression

Chickens are social animals, but they can also exhibit aggressive behavior like pecking or bullying. This can be a problem if one or more chickens become overly aggressive towards others.

To prevent pecking and aggression, provide plenty of space for your chickens to move around and establish a pecking order. If you notice one or more chickens are being overly aggressive towards others, separate them from the group temporarily and reintroduce them later.

You can also try adding distractions like toys or hanging treats to help redirect aggressive behavior.

  1. Environmental factors

Environmental factors like extreme heat or cold can also pose a problem for your chickens. Chickens can be susceptible to heatstroke in hot weather and frostbite in cold weather.

To prevent heatstroke, provide shade and plenty of water during hot weather. You can also use fans or misters to help keep your chickens cool.

To prevent frostbite, make sure your coop is well-insulated and provide plenty of dry bedding for your chickens to nest in. You can also use heat lamps or heaters to keep your coop warm during cold weather.

It's important to be prepared for the common problems you may encounter. From health issues to predator attacks, it's important to provide your chickens with a clean and comfortable living environment and seek veterinary care as needed. With the right care and attention, you can help ensure your chickens stay healthy and happy.

In ConclusionThere are numerous benefits to raising chickens, including a source of fresh eggs, reducing your carbon footprint, and providing a fun and educational activity for families and individuals. If you're considering raising chickens, raising healthy and happy chickenswill greatly benefit your experience. We hope this article helps get you started on that path.


The Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens? ›

Chickens are extremely flock-oriented, so a good starter flock size is no fewer than three chickens. You should collect about a dozen eggs from three laying hens. A flock of five or six hens is a good choice for slightly larger families.

How many chickens should a beginner start with? ›

Chickens are extremely flock-oriented, so a good starter flock size is no fewer than three chickens. You should collect about a dozen eggs from three laying hens. A flock of five or six hens is a good choice for slightly larger families.

How many chickens do I need for a dozen eggs a week? ›

Planning for Egg Production Per Week

If you wanted to get about a dozen eggs per week, you would need between 3 to 5 laying hens. For two dozen eggs a week, you would need to double those numbers for a flock size of between 6 to 10 laying hens.

How many chickens should you raise together? ›

How Many Chickens Should I Keep? Chickens are sociable creatures, so plan to keep three to six birds. With this amount, you'll always have a steady supply of eggs, since an adult hen lays about two eggs every three days, on average.

What food do chickens love the most? ›

Lettuce, kale, turnip greens and chard are great greens options. Watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries make healthy snacks for chickens when fed in moderation. A few flock favorites include: Vegetables: Lettuce, beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, swiss chard, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers.

What is the best bedding for chicken coop? ›

Medium- to coarse-grained sand is the best chicken coop bedding as it's non-toxic, dries quickly, stays clean, is low in pathogens, and has low levels of dust. Sand is a much safer choice than all other bedding materials.

Is raising chickens cheaper than buying eggs? ›

But as you can see from our cost comparison, after the initial setup cost, the price of raising your own flock for eggs is cheaper than buying them in the stores. You will eat healthier and fresher eggs from your backyard flock.

Should you collect chicken eggs every day? ›

Gather eggs two to three times per day – many flock raisers collect eggs once in the morning and once in the evening. Collect even more often during extremely warm or cold weather. Frequent collection helps keep eggs clean and reduces the chance for egg cracking due to hen traffic in the nests.

How long do fresh eggs last? ›

Eggs may be refrigerated three to five weeks from the day they are placed in the refrigerator. The "Sell-By" date will usually expire during that length of time, but the eggs will be perfectly safe to use. Always purchase eggs before the "Sell-By" or EXP (expiration) date on the carton.

What is the easiest chicken to raise for eggs? ›

Australorp. The Australorp is often hyped as the perfect beginner chicken, and for good reason. Her most notable quality is her laying ability. Most Australorps lay between 5 and 6 eggs a week, but an Australorp also holds the world record for most eggs laid in a year – 364.

Can 2 roosters live together with hens? ›

Correct ratio of hens to roosters:

A good ratio is 10 hens for every 1 rooster. Roosters are very protective of “their” hens, and if there are too many roosters in your flock this can cause fighting over another rooster mounting a hen that is not “his” hen.

Do I need a rooster with my chickens? ›

Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. Without a rooster, your hens' eggs are infertile, so won't develop into chicks. If you do have a rooster, eggs need to be collected daily and kept in a cool place before being used so that they won't develop into chicks.

How often should you clean the chicken coop? ›

Regardless of the type of chicken coop you have or the amount of chickens, a good cleaning schedule is a quick weekly cleaning followed by a thorough cleaning once a month. Deep top to bottom cleaning and maintenance is usually done a few times a year.

How do I keep my coop warm in the winter? ›

Here are seven steps to help ensure your birds are protected from cold weather.
  1. Minimise drafts. ...
  2. Keep your coop well ventilated. ...
  3. Use the 'Deep Litter Method' ...
  4. Use sunlight to trap heat. ...
  5. Make sure your chickens can roost. ...
  6. Make them a sunroom. ...
  7. Protect against frostbite.

What are the best tasting chicken eggs? ›

So the results were clear: For the best tasting eggs, go for pastured chickens. Barring those, choose whichever eggs have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Where flavor is concerned, it doesn't matter if the eggs are organic, cage free, or from a cage battery.

What should you not feed chickens? ›

Foods That Are Toxic To Your Chickens And Ducks
  • Bread. Although we all grew up feeding ducks bread, it is, in fact, not good for them at all. ...
  • Raw Meat. ...
  • Raw eggs. ...
  • Avocado pits and skins. ...
  • Fruit pits and seeds. ...
  • Rhubarb & Rhubarb leaf. ...
  • Garlic and onion. ...
  • Raw potatoes and peels.
Aug 12, 2022

Can chickens eat Quaker oats? ›

They certainly can! Oatmeal for chickens is one of my favorite treats to serve my flock in the winter. Warm oatmeal for chickens is a nutritious, energizing snack for them. Chickens love oats, which are an excellent source of vitamins, protein, and antioxidants.

Is a dirt floor OK for a chicken coop? ›

Having a chicken coop without a floor can come with many challenges, including infestations of mice and rats. Still, some chicken keepers swear by the dirt floor method, and have discovered numerous ways to deal with the inherent problems. There are many reasons you may want a coop without a floor.

Do chickens eat grass clippings? ›

Freshly snipped, clean grassing cuttings, yes! And here are the reasons why… Giving your hens the odd handful of freshly snipped grass that you've cut yourself that morning is a lovely treat for your hens, and quite recently has proved very good for their welfare and overall health.

What is the best chicken to raise for money? ›

The Best Chicken Breeds for Business
  • Golden Comet (Hybrid, Brown Egg Layers)
  • Goldline or Bovans Brown (Hybrid, Brown Egg Layers)
  • ISA Brown (Hybrid, Brown Egg Layers)
  • White Leghorn (Heritage, White Egg Layers)
  • Rhode Island Red (Heritage, Brown Egg Layer)
  • Ameraucanas (Heritage, Blue Egg Layers)
Jan 27, 2023

What is the cheapest way to raise chickens? ›

Raising Chickens On a Dime: 14 Ways To Save Money On Your Flock
  1. Grow a chicken garden. What is this? ...
  2. Ferment your chicken feed. ...
  3. Make your own chicken treats. ...
  4. Free range your flock. ...
  5. Provide a dust bath. ...
  6. Glean free chicken food from local businesses. ...
  7. Save money on the chicken coop. ...
  8. Don't buy nesting boxes or roosts.
Nov 21, 2019

Are backyard chickens worth it? ›

As the Gidneys have learned, keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard has many benefits, from supplying you with fresh, healthy eggs from well-cared-for animals, to giving you great fertilizer for gardening, to providing lively pets—as well as being part of the drive to local, sustainable food systems.

Can you eat freshly laid eggs? ›

Never eat raw eggs. Outbreaks for Salmonella illnesses have been associated with undercooked egg whites and yolks. To avoid illness, cook eggs until yolks are firm. Cook foods containing eggs to 160 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer.

Can you eat the first egg a chicken lays? ›

Pullet eggs are the first eggs laid by hens at about 18 weeks old. These young hens are just getting into their egg-laying groove, meaning these eggs will be noticeably smaller than the usual eggs you come across. And that's where the beauty in them lies — quite simply, they are delicious.

How long can eggs sit out after being laid? ›

You can leave eggs on the counter about two hours at room temperature or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or hotter before you start to worry, per the Egg Safety Center. After two hours, you'd be safer to throw those eggs out and get a fresh dozen rather than chance it.

Do I need to wash fresh eggs before cracking? ›

No. It's not necessary or recommended for consumers to wash commercially packaged eggs, and it may actually increase the risk of contamination because the wash water can be "sucked" into the egg through the pores in the shell.

Do you have to wash farm fresh eggs before using? ›

Eggs have small pores which harmful bacteria can enter. Even shells that appear clean can carry germs. Even so, eggs do not need to be washed.

Can you eat 2 week old hard boiled eggs? ›

Hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to eat up to seven days or one full week after they were cooked. To make sure they stay fresh, allow the cooked eggs cool a bit, and then store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

What is the secret to making chicken lay more eggs? ›

10+ Natural Ways To Make Chickens Lay More Eggs
  1. Free Flowing Water.
  2. Reducing Stress.
  3. Calcium.
  4. Stopping The Broody Spread.
  5. Having Enough Space.
  6. Parasites And Bugs.
  7. Cleanliness.
  8. Supporting The Molt.
May 12, 2021

What is the hardiest chicken breed? ›

Three docile, cold hardy breeds that do well with children include Orpingtons, Australorps and Silkie Bantams. Other breeds that don't mind chilly winter weather include Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Barred Rocks, Delawares, Brahmas and Salmon Favorelles.

Why is my rooster pulling out hens feathers? ›

Roosters will often pick out a few hens that are his “favorite”. During mating, a rooster uses his claws to hold onto the hen's back, and this can cause the feathers on her back to break and be worn off. Sometimes, a hen is mated so much that a rooster can actually cause abrasions to the skin of a hen's back area.

What is the most protective rooster? ›

If you're looking for a rooster to protect your girls, I suggest a mid-sized breed. Birds such as the Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, and even the widely available commercial Easter Eggers make great protectors.

How many hens will a rooster mate with? ›

How many hens per rooster for fertile eggs? To make fertile eggs a rooster should be kept with no more than 12 hens. Any more than this and he will struggle to fertilize the eggs. If you are having problems with fertility there are a couple of things to check on.

Do roosters sleep with the hens? ›

A rooster will also want to keep all his hens together and keep them safe. If you teach the rooster that the coop is a safe place, he will happily round up all his hens and lead them to the coop for nightly roosting. He will also try to keep them all together while they are out free-ranging.

Does a rooster fertilize every egg? ›

Does a rooster fertilize every egg? Not always. If a hen is frequently mating with only one rooster, he will fertilize most of her eggs. However, it is still possible that the occasional non-fertile egg will slip through.

Can you still eat eggs if you have a rooster? ›

If you have a male chicken, you will have fertile eggs. So be prepared to eat them. If you don't like the thought, don't have a male chicken. You'll still get eggs, but there's no chance of them being fertile.

What do chickens need in their cage? ›

Basically, the animals need enough space to be comfortable, and to be able to play, scratch and perch. Most importantly, coops and cages must be properly protected from the elements and keep chickens safe from predators. In general, the size of the coop is determined by the number of chickens to be kept or raised.

What do chickens need in their house? ›

The hen house must have good ventilation, be draft-free, and have an enclosed nesting area with a soft floor. Hen houses require regular cleaning and this should be considered during design and construction of the coop such as building it from non-porous material so that all surfaces can be easily cleaned.

What do I need for 10 chickens? ›

If you have 10 chickens, you will want a coop that is at least 30 square feet and a run that is at least 50 square feet! In this scenario, we would suggest you consider a 6x6 coop with a 6x10 run. This way, you are slightly over your necessary square footage, AND you have room to grow!!

What do chickens prefer to lay eggs in? ›

Hens like to lay eggs in enclosed places. In a hen house, these enclosures are provided by nest boxes. Many hens like a dark enclosure, but others prefer the nest to have more light.

What do you put on the floor of a chicken cage? ›

Wood shavings are an ideal material for your coop flooring. They give off a pleasant smell throughout your garden when kept inside. When pine shavings are scattered around the outside of the coop, they absorb moisture to prevent bacteria from growing and causing illnesses in your flock.

How many chickens can you have in a 4x8 coop? ›

Thus, a 4′ by 8′ coop would be adequate for about 8 birds. If you keep your chickens confined to the coop at all times, then you should provide 10 square feet per bird.

What do you put on a chicken coop floor? ›

What Do You Use on the Floor of the Coop? For the deep litter method, use pine shavings or hemp bedding as your bottom layer since they are small pieces and compost fairly quickly. Pine shavings are inexpensive and available online or at your local feed store in bales.

Why are chicken coops off the ground? ›

To ensure that snakes and other predators cannot break into a coop from underneath, it's important that the coop is raised off the ground 8 to 12 inches—enough to allow the chickens to walk beneath.

How many nesting boxes do I need for 6 chickens? ›

A good rule of thumb is a ratio of one nesting box for every four chickens. Constructing boxes from found materials can save on costs and give character to the backyard coop. Boxes need not be square, but should be roomy enough to contain a laying hen, yet small enough to feel secure.

Should chickens be shut in at night? ›

It is crucial that your hens stay in their coop at night. Despite what you might think, there are almost always predators around, even in urban areas. So keep your flock safe and secure.

How many chickens can you keep in a 10x10 coop? ›

Just how much room does a chicken need? A chicken needs about 4 square-feet per bird inside the coop. That means a 10x10 coop would comfortably hold 25 birds.

How many chickens can fit in a 12x12 coop? ›

The 12×12 coop is designed to hold up to 100 birds.

How much do you feed 10 chickens per day? ›

However, there is a simple figure to provide you with a solid starting point: 1/4 of a pound per fully grown chicken per day. This means each chicken will eat approximately 1.5 pounds of feed in a week.

Should you let chickens sit on eggs? ›

Care of a Broody Hen

Just let her sit on the eggs in the nest box, but know that it's best to move her and the clutch of eggs to a larger nest box that measures at least one-foot square. A nest box of this size will allow the hen to turn around, move a bit, and set up for the chicks.

Does cayenne pepper help chickens lay eggs? ›

According to old-timers, cayenne pepper can be added to your chickens' feed in the cold months to help warm up your chickens and boost egg production.

Do chickens need a dark place to lay eggs? ›

Hens typically prefer dark, quiet, out-of-the way places to lay, and if they see other eggs in the nest, they will be even more encouraged to lay there. So start by adding golf balls or wooden nest eggs to your nests, to help your chickens identify the nest as a safe, attractive place to lay.


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