Friday, 26 February 2010

Basic Care of Your Backyard Chicken Flock

Chickens are self-sufficient pets. As long as they have fresh water every day and a dry, clean coop to sleep in, they should be happy living in your backyard. You want to keep a clean coop to stop parasites and rodents from being attracted to your coop. Your cleaning can vary from how many hens, size of coop, etc. I do a weekly maintenance inspection and change floor bedding and nesting boxes if needed. Twice a year I do a deep clean and disinfect the entire coop from top to bottom.

Floor: Care can vary for the type of coop that you have. We use a portable coop that my husband built but I still put a piece of plywood in the run area with pine shavings. With our coop it is easy to remove the plywood if I just want to let the hens scratch up bugs and worms. We found that without the wood shavings they can create quite a mess digging up the yard. The plywood just helps with the cleanup by having a flat surface.

Floor covering options: pine shavings or sand (very coarse).

Sprinkle lime on the floor to help neutralize odors even before the wood shavings. Here is a good article regarding the use of lime in a chicken house - Liming the Chickenhouse. Some individuals have mixed emotions on the use of lime.

For lice and mice control use diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, abrasive fine white powder made of the tiny fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. If you ever take a microbiology class make sure you get to take a look at this algae under the microscope. They are absolutely beautiful! Diatomaceous earth is a 100% natural treatment for poultry ailments including mites, lice and intestinal worms. Sprinkle it in the nest box and run and coop bedding.

Nesting Boxes: Chickens like quiet, enclosed areas to lay their eggs. You can put straw or pine shavings in your nesting boxes and let them rearrange it to how they want it. I have heard that some people have problems with the hens laying their eggs in the corner on the floor but I have not encountered that problem yet. Our coop has two nesting boxes but for some reason the hens like to nest in the same box. Change the bedding when it looks like its getting dirty.

Roosts: Chickens like to "roost" on raised platforms. Its where they huddle together at night. Once it starts to get dark at our hen house don't even think about peeking in. We have one hen that will make crazy noises and even peck at you! Our roosting stick is removable so I will take it out at least once a month and give it a good scraping. Below the stick I used to lay hay down but found that cat litter works better. It is very easy to clean up. Learn as you go.....

Ventilation: It is very important to keep your coop clean and well ventilated. Ammonia fumes can build up and cause respiratory problems in your chickens. Ventilation also removes humidity and keeps the coop nice and cool in the summer and prevents frostbitten chickens in the winter.

Keeping of backyard hens is still controversial in cities. You don't want your neighbors complaining that it stinks! Keep your coop clean.


Food: The best food for egg laying chickens is an organic feed. You can buy pellet or mash. Feed should contain nutrients, omega 3 oils, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins and minerals that your chickens need. Chickens will eat about 4 ounces of pellets a day.

Grit (small rocks): Chickens hold grit in their gizzards. A gizzard is an organ that ginds up feed making it easier to digest. Use more grit in the winter when rocks are harder to find. If you find that shells are thin and soft add oyster shells for calcium.

Oyster Shells: Give oyster shells to egg laying hens. It gives them extra calcium to help produce strong egg shells.

Scraps: Think of this as "treats". Chickens have their own likes and dislikes so see what your ladies like. This can be anything from fruits, veggies and bread.

Free Range:This is my favorite part. Let your hens out and let them run around the yard and let them look for their own food. Mine head straight for my perennial garden. There are some good nightcrawlers and bugs in their.

Water: Provide fresh water everyday. I sanitize the water containers once a week. If you use bleach make sure you rinse well.

Food Storage: Store in vermin-proof containers.


Bugs: Keep an eye out for parasites, lice and fleas. You may need to give treatments if necessary.

* Provide a dust bath for your girls. This is where your chickens will roll, flap or run around in the dirt. It gets rid of bugs and lice naturally.

Stress: If your chickens are looking stressed find a cool dark place for them to go to and recover.

Miscellaneous Chicken Care

Handle: Don't chase your chickens or pick them up by the tail or wings. Get close to them by gaining their trust and confidence. Talk to them and give them treats. Gently pick them up and support under your arm. Patience!

Let Your Chickens Out: Let your chickens out of the coop to scratch and dust bath. I only let them out in the afternoons for a couple of hours under supervision. They destroyed my entire perennial garden one afternoon.

Watch for predators: Keep an eye out for neighborhood pest. This can be anything from cats, dogs, foxes, and racoons.

About the Author:
Tana Lyon can be found at and is always willing to answer any questions you may have regarding your chickens.

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Monday, 15 February 2010

Building Chicken Coops to Earn Money

With the high interest in raising chickens in small urban farms on the rise there is a new opportunity for the enterprising person looking for ways to make extra money. All that is required is having basic woodworking and construction skills. Building chicken coops to earn money on the side can turn into quite a profitable side business as many people want to raise chickens but do not have either the time or the skills needed to build their own. If this sounds like something that might interest you then here are some tips:

Make Sure there is a Demand

Before you take up building chicken coops for profit you need to make sure that there is actually a demand in your area. While there are lots of people who are taking up raising their own chickens this does not necessarily mean that they all need someone to build their chicken coops. Many of them may build their own rather than pay someone else to do it for them.

Have Plenty of Options

In the world of building chicken houses there is no one size fits all and the more different styles you can offer your potential clients the better your chances of getting them to have you build one for them. You should be able to offer a selection of chicken arks, as well as various sizes of coops to capture the widest possible range of clients.

Guarantee Your Work

Building chicken coops can be a very rewarding job, but you must be prepared to stand behind the product you build. While this does not mean that you should be at the beck and call of your customers for life, you should be prepared to take care of the coops your build if anything should go wrong with your construction for a decent period of time.

Advertise and be Prepared to Deliver

If you want to build your business of building chicken arks you need to get the word out about your business. This means advertising everywhere you can think of especially free bulletin boards around town and in your local feed store. You can use your local paper as soon as you can afford to pay for advertising. You should be prepared to offer your first few clients a discounted rate to get the word out and be prepared to deliver not only on time but the best possible chicken coops you can at all times.

With a little hard work and determination you can build yourself a decent business building chicken coops. Done right this can become a very successful niche market as there are not too many people currently offering these services.

For expert and detailed step by step instruction on how to construct your own Chicken Coop visit How To Build A Chicken Coop

Buying a Chicken Coop can be quite costly, and you can easily build one for a quarter of the cost of you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself. Check out how to build it now at How To Build A Chicken Coop

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Saturday, 13 February 2010

How to Earn Money by Keeping Chickens

It is definitely not difficult to earn extra money or income for your family by keeping chickens. You can raise chickens easily at the backyard of your house.

But how can you make money by raising chickens? Its a good idea to engage your children in this activity. If they know for sure that they will get extra pocket money, don't you think they will help you in raising chickens?

Here you go...

1. How about selling those eggs in the market and earning an extra income? You can earn up to $2 or $3 for a dozen of eggs. Just think how much you can earn a day with a dozen of chickens at home and each laying a maximum of 2 eggs a day. It is definitely not huge money; however, an added or extra income for your family.

2. Rather than selling eggs you may sell baby chicks to local farmers for a good price.

3. Composted manure that you get by keeping chickens can be sold to gardeners as this is a form of natural manure.

4. You may even raise the chickens and sell them for meat.

Once you decide to make money by keeping chickens, take into consideration the space available for raising chickens and the amount of chickens you will be able to raise. Once this is decided, build a chicken coop. There are many ready-to-use chicken coops and runs available on the market or you may go in for a DIY chicken coop.

Jack Corrigan
Articles, products and advice for keeping your own chickens at home.

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

Small Business Opportunities

If you are looking for small business opportunities, you might not have to look too hard. You may find that they are waiting in you own back yard. Right now the push is on to go green and to eat only organic foods. Well you can actually lower your carbon footprint and eat healthier at the same time.

Your perfect small business opportunities start with a chicken. All you need to do is to build a chicken coop. There are lots of how to books available if you are not sure how to proceed, or you may be able to hire a handy man to build one for you. Then you need to contact your local feed and seed company and order in some chickens. All you need to do is to feed and water the chickens until they mature enough to start producing eggs.

Once your chickens begin to produce eggs, your small business opportunities begin to multiply. Now you have a great organic product in the eggs. People are crazy for organic products and you are helping with the carbon footprint because these eggs do not have to be trucked in to your customers. You are not wasting gas and you are not using electricity. Everything about your small business is green, how politically correct is that?

Other small business opportunities include selling the chickens to the meat eaters of the community and you can also sell the chicken fertilizer to local gardeners to get them started on their organic vegetable gardens. Just think you will be making lots of money while saving the environment.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Owning Chickens - A Guide to Domestic Poultry

Why keep chickens?

Whether you are thinking about taking the first steps towards self sufficiency or you are simply looking to save money by producing your own food, chickens are the perfect way to start.

Owning chickens is great for the environment. You'll be reducing your carbon footprint with zero food miles on your eggs. You will also have a constant supply of free organic compost.
Chickens make excellent family pets. Many chicken owners say keeping chickens is less work than looking after a dog. Friendlier breeds are ideal companions for children, and are fun and educational too - teaching children where their food comes from and how to look after a pet.
There's nothing quite like collecting eggs fresh from your garden each morning. They taste wonderful. You'll never want to go back to supermarket eggs.
Gardeners take note: chickens will gobble up garden pests, so you'll no longer have to use unhealthy, polluting pesticides.
Recent campaigns by celebrity chefs have rightly made people aware of animal welfare on farms. With chickens in your garden, you'll have an intimate knowledge of exactly how the hens that lay your eggs are looked after. The cruelty of factory farming is well documented. Less well known is that even 'free range' chickens are often kept in crowded barns with little access to outdoor space and their beaks cut blunt to prevent them pecking each other.
Feeding and Caring for your Chickens

Chickens are not fussy eaters. Their main diet should consist of layer pellets or mash and mixed corn seed.
Chicks (age 0-8 weeks) should be fed chick crumbs, whilst growers (age 8-18 weeks) should be fed grower pellets or mash.
Chickens love treats, such as leafy vegetables, sweetcorn, fruit, or brown bread. These should be kept to a minimum to stop your chickens from getting overweight. Overweight chickens lay fewer eggs.
Do not feed your chickens meat, fish, or raw potato peelings.
Water should be topped up daily with at least 200ml per chicken.
Chickens need access to a dust bath to clean themselves. You will need to clean out their nesting area at least once each week.
The Cost of Keeping Chickens

Domestic chickens cost £8-£15, and are available from poultry farms and some pet shops. Alternatively, you could choose to rehouse ex-battery hens, available free or at very little cost from rehousing charities such as the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.

Your main outlay will be a coop and fencing for a run area in your garden. Choose a good quality coop to last your chickens for their whole lifetime and to keep predators out. Coops cost from around £100 for a basic model up to £400 for a top of the range design.

Feed costs around £10 for a 25kg bag. The amount that chickens eat will vary depending on breed type, the amount of exercise they're getting, local climate, and the type of feed you use. A small laying chicken will eat 100-150g of feed per day (costing you between 4 and 6 pence for feed per day).

Choosing a Chicken Coop

A poultry coop is the ideal home for your pet chickens. Chickens are sensitive to too much heat, cold, or dampness, and a coop keeps your chickens sheltered from the rain and cold. A secure, well-built coop keeps chickens safe from predators such as foxes and cats.

When choosing a coop, bear in mind that chickens need 1-2 square feet of nesting space and 3-4 square feet of outdoor space per bird. For a small number of chickens, a coop will provide all the space they need. For example, our standard 5'1" x 2'1" poultry ark is suitable for housing three small chickens. To keep more chickens in this coop, you would need to let them roam free in your garden or a larger pen for at least an hour per day.

During the daytime, chickens will need access to exercise space and a dust bath. Day and night, chickens need access to fresh drinking water.

Chickens can live up to 15 years, so it is important to choose a coop that will last.

Living in a coop will help your chickens feel comfortable and secure, so they'll produce more eggs.

Order a coop now so you'll have a home set up and ready for when your chickens arrive.

Edwin Lloyd is the Managing Director of My Greener Home (, a UK based website offering a wide range of products to cut your household bills. If you are seeing your gas, electricity, water or food bills rising then come to My Greener Home and we can help you push them back down again. With products ranging from energy saving bulbs through to water butts, My Greener Home will have something to make your home cheaper to run.

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

Keep Your Chickens Laying For an Amazing 12 Years

If you want to raise happy, healthy and productive chickens, your main concern should be the quality of feed you offer them. With all of the options for feeding your flock, it can be a daunting task to select the right method for you. One solution is to let your chickens roam around the yard, hunting for their own bugs and wild plants. This approach however, will drop their egg production to oblivion due to filling their stomachs with protein-lacking grasses instead of high-protein foods. Another choice is to use a premixed vegetarian diet, possibly this same type of diet with the addition of animal proteins. The last method that we will be covering is mixing your own feed grains.

Before we get into our lengthy discussion on chicken feed, let us first mention another important element, which is an integral part of feeding your chickens; hen houses. The reason I bring this up now is because, as you will soon see, hen houses also play a major part in feeding your flocks. Whether you call them poultry houses, chicken coops, hutches, pens, runs, or any other name, they are all the same. And properly constructed portable hen houses can provide valuable protein which can help keep your chickens healthy while saving you money on store bought feed at the same time.

The mass producers use a strict vegetarian diet due to the fact that their old style of feeding, using feed that included animal proteins, had the potential to pass animal diseases to their flocks. The no-animal-protein diet eliminates the risk of these serious diseases, which have been known to kill thousands of birds in a flock. The negative side to this diet is that it is possible for the birds to end up with protein deficiencies if care is not taken to mix the feed properly.

The mass producers obviously want their chickens to be as healthy as possible, but that is not their main objective. They are driven by the questions "how many eggs am I going to get and how much is it going to cost me?" Since they typically replace their laying hens every year they are not as worried about keeping them active and healthy for 10 or 12 years as they are getting the most production at the cheapest price. The home grower of chickens on the other hand, can use feeds containing animal protein relatively risk-free, so it is not as worrisome for the backyard enthusiast raising just a small number of birds. Backyard farmers can also let their flocks graze around the chicken coup for a portion of their protein in the form of bugs and insects, which has the added advantage of lower their feed bill.

The simplest and quickest approach is to get feed that is already premixed for you, where the feed is already packaged and bagged, ready to distribute to your birds. This approach saves time and work, but it also means higher feed bills. You can save money while still getting the same results mixing your own feed. You buy the individual elements and mix them on your own. It does not take a lot of work to do.

The final alternative we will mention is allowing your chickens to forage for their own food, but there are two potential problems here. One, if they roam unconfined they can quickly become the prey of a predator or neighborhood pet. Also, they can end up eating too many grasses and too little protein, and this will dramatically decrease egg production. Both of these problems can be solved with the help of portable hen houses.

As I said previously, portable hen houses are a terrific way to help you save money on feed. With poultry houses that are movable there are inside and outside sections, and your flock can find a portion of their food in the outdoor area. When your birds have eaten most of the grasses and plants in one area, you simply drag the portable poultry housing over to a new area where there are plenty of new plants for your chickens to feast on. It is the circle of life, simply moving your hen houses to new vegetated areas, so the recently used areas will have a chance to grow back their greenery. This is the best way to lower your feed bills while still giving your chickens a reason to be happy and healthy.

Mr. Harding has raised chickens and many other types of poultry since 1981. Feel free to visit his fun for more information about chicken feed along with exciting details about building your own hen houses. Also find entertaining reviews of products regarding poultry housing. You can visit his web site at

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Raising Baby Chickens

A nonbreeder chicken will naturally get broody every spring. They'll begin to fuss and cluck more than usual, refuse to leave the nest and generally get maternal. Usually they lay a clutch of about a dozen eggs over a two-week period and settle down to brood them so that they hatch at the same time. After the chicks have grown, the hens usually molt their feathers and begin laying again until the following spring. Because of the mother hen's body warmth, the chicks don't stay too far from her during their first week or so.

You could gather about a dozen large eggs and incubate them yourself. You then have the trouble and bother of purchasing or making an incubator and brooder. Then you must keep it properly heated so the eggs hatch. You also could purchase newly-hatched baby chicks from a hatchery. Just make sure it is a reputable hatchery whose flocks are registered and guaranteed.

Chicken Feed - Chickens receive calcium-rich egg shells and clam shells smashed up real fine. Also coffee grinds, herbal tea leaves and citrus rinds. Chickens will eat your regular garbage leftovers from raw vegetables, suet and meat scraps.

Pecking Order - The young hens will chase one another around to establish the pecking order. The top hen can peck any other hen but won't be pecked. The number two hen can peck any other hen except the number one hen and so forth on down the line. Roosters tend to ignore all this but can get henpecked by any of the females. If a bird is pecked to the point of bleeding, the others will gather around it and sometimes peck it to death. In this case, segregate the bird, apply some purple genital violet horse liniment on the wounds. Keep it segregated until the wounds heal and feathers begin to cover the bare skin.

Diseases - If you get day old chicks from a reputable hatchery, you shouldn't have any serious disease problems. Occasionally a bird will just lie down and stop walking. Paralysis has probably set in and is incurable. The bird must be killed, but do not use it for food.

Intestinal worms are present in nearly all natural soils and are parasites to chickens. They are harmless unless they get into small chicks. Do not let the chicks onto soil until they are a month or more old.

By keeping chicken netting over the top of the run, wild birds that can carry cholera and other bird diseases can be kept out.

For more information on chickens please refer to the author's blog at

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Monday, 1 February 2010

The Right Way to Keep Chickens Happy, Healthy and Productive

Keeping chickens has become a very popular pastime because apart from the obvious advantage of getting a regular supply of fresh eggs, it is a lot of fun. If you are considering keeping chickens then you won't be disappointed as long as you realise that there is a right way to keep chickens. Follow some basic guidelines and you should benefit from having a happy, healthy and productive flock.

Chickens do make good pets and generous ones at that. But whether you want to keep chickens as egg producing pets or see them as a potential succulent roast dinner, you really need to plan, organise and care for your flock carefully.

So, what is the right way to keep chickens?

• Firstly you need to be aware of any local regulations covering the raising and keeping of poultry and it is probably worth letting your neighbours know about your project before you begin.

• Then you need to decide on how many birds you want to keep. Available space will obviously be a deciding factor but a minimum of three is recommended. As a rule of thumb, one square metre of space should be allowed per bird, so that they have sufficient room to forage, exercise and nest comfortably.

• A substantial chicken house or coop is essential so that hens have somewhere to roost safely at night and to shelter from the sun and rain. The coop should have perches and nesting boxes and have easy access, so that you can clean the coop and collect eggs without causing too much disturbance for the hens.

• Security of the hen house is paramount as there are many predators just waiting for the chance of an easy meal. Foxes, rats, weasels, birds of prey and even snakes are the enemy that needs to be prevented from getting into your chicken sanctuary. So all round protection of the coop is essential.

• Hens are quite easily stressed and stressed chickens are not good layers of those delicious eggs, so keep Rover at a good distance away from the coop so that he cannot worry the birds.

• Of course the correct feeding of your pets is vitally important and a well balanced diet including protein, greens and grains plus a constant supply of clean water should be provided. It may sometimes be necessary to supplement their food with added proteins and grit but these they normally get from their own foraging.

• Apart from the above the only other thing to consider is the checking on the health of the birds which you can do by maintaining regular contact with them. They do like to visited and spoken to. After all they are providing you with those delicious eggs.

If you remember that there is a right way to keep chickens and that by doing so you will be rewarded with happy, healthy productive pets you cannot go far wrong. You will have a great deal of fun into the bargain.

Finally, as with most projects, expert guidance is invaluable. This is particularly important when planning the chicken coop. So, seek the best advice and guidance you can get. It will certainly be worth it.

Building a backyard chicken coop yourself, will be both economically rewarding and an enjoyable experience. It will also be one of the best investments you can make. However, although you do not need any special skills you do need expert guidance if you are to make a success of your project. It doesn't matter if you are a skilled carpenter or a total beginner, if you require a big or small coop, or if you have a small or large budget. "Building a Chicken Coop" will guide you through all the stages of planning, preparation and construction, providing all the plans and instructions that you need to build a professional looking chicken coop.

There is a right way to keep chickens and providing a comfortable, secure home for them is a basic requirement that must not be scrimped on. So visit to get the best information available on the internet.

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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Bring The Chickens Home To Roost

With the rising cost of food, urban agriculture is becoming a hot topic. Growing your own food can be an exciting experience and help decrease your ecological footprint since your home-grown food requires less fuel to get to your plate. You may have already considered a garden, but what about a backyard chicken coop?

That's very nice in rural areas, you might say to yourself, but not in my backyard. You may surprised to know that there are plenty of cities that already allow chickens in urban areas, including Portland, Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, and Atlanta. You might already have neighbors with birds in their backyard. Roosters are not usually allowed because they can be noisy, but well-kept chickens won't make a racket.

In addition to being a cute, chickens can do great work for you. They are an optimum means of pest control - these cheerful characters will keep all sorts of nasty insects out of your garden including slugs, snails, earwigs and pill bugs. If you want a bed turned over, just let your feathered helpers go to work: they'll scratch up the earth and take care of weed control. If you have a compost, they can help with that too! The chickens will pick through it, eating a lot of it and helping to break down the rest. The birds' final product, chicken manure, makes an excellent fertilizer for the garden.

The best part is the fresh eggs that your chickens will lay for you. Imagine collecting your Sunday morning omelet fixings right from the backyard. Some studies suggest that free-range hens with access to pasture produce eggs with less cholesterol and saturated fat and more beta carotene, omega-3 and vitamins A and E. Whether or not your backyard eggs are better for your health, they always taste better when you raised them yourself!

There are a few basic needs that you will need to sort out before you procure your new feathered friends. Where will they sleep? How will you protect them? If you choose to let your chickens roam freely in the yard, you'll need to alter your yard to be sure those curious characters stay put. You might choose to use a portable chicken run so that you can rotate the areas being covered by your birds.

Feeding them isn't too hard if they have access to the yard and some greens (these birds love greens) - you may want to supplement with a bit of grain. Remember, chickens can eat a lot of things, but they shouldn't be fed any meal made of other chickens.

There are, of course, many different breeds of chickens and a little research will help you chose the best type for your needs and your location. Most species take at least six months to mature, so you won't be getting your eggs immediately, but don't give up hope - they're coming. In this case, the chicken definitely comes before the egg.

Let Jim Hirschman Realty guide you professionally through your Sarasota real estate transaction. Check to view all the Sarasota community listings, including Downtown Sarasota real estate.

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Friday, 29 January 2010

Chicken Coop Heater - Is it Really Important?

While it is true that a lot of people keep their chickens for business purposes, there are also some who dedicate their time, money and effort because it is basically their hobby. It's always nice to wake up in the morning and have fresh eggs waiting for you. Hens need the right amount of warmth inside the coop so you can maximize egg laying. One way to have an assurance that your chickens are warm all year round is by getting a chicken coop heater. I visited a lot of forums and people can't seem to agree whether it is necessary or not. Well I guess if you are tired of dealing with frozen eggs and frozen water dishes then a heater is for you but if you live in an area where it's always hot (like where I live) then it's common sense that you don't need one.

Some owners have problems in getting more eggs during the winter. The truth is your hens can lay more in the winter and live longer if you can provide the right heating element and I'm talking about a chicken coop heater. If you have a small coop, you may want to consider buying a flat panel coop heater. If your main problem is freezing eggs then opt for a small poultry nesting box heater. You can easily lay this in the nesting box or right where the chickens sleep.

If you are housing a huge number of chickens then you must get a large chicken coop heater as well or this might mean that you're going to need a combination of lamps and flat panel heaters or other items that will keep the chickens warm and comfortable not to mention water defrosted. How does a flat panel heater work? It radiates heat throughout the building and it will keep waterers defrosted. Don't worry because it's not that expensive to run and the good news is it only used 400 watts of power and it has the ability to emit plenty of heat.

To read more information and to know if you need a chicken coop heater, feel free to stop by

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Chicken Head Tracking VIDEO...

The Issue of Chicken Diseases

Whether you are raising chickens as a farm animal or you are keeping them as pets, you will want to be sure they are properly taken care of. That means you need to ensure their health is maintained by proper care and feeding. And yes, it also means you must have your eyes wide open to notice common chicken diseases. It is most unfortunate when a chicken becomes grievously ill because an owner was not able to pinpoint the common symptoms of a chicken illness. Understanding the common signs and symptoms so as to identify chicken diseases can go a long way towards helping maintain the quality of life of your feathered friend.

Some of the most common chicken diseases are:

The best known of all chicken diseases is avian influenza or as it is most commonly known as: bird flu. This chicken illness is contracted by the bites of infected mosquitoes that transfer the germs that cause the condition. This is why it is best to keep chickens safe and secured from areas that are known to be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This will help prevent the virus from spreading to chickens which will further prevent the condition from spreading to humans.

Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome is a very unfortunate condition that directly affects the liver of the chicken. Needless to say, this is an extremely serious chicken illness that can lead to a fatality.

Squamous cell carcinoma while most people associate this cancer with humans, it is also possible for chickens to contract it as well.

Psittacosis is contracted via Chlamydia bacteria and can have a seriously debilitating effect on the chicken's immune system. If not caught in time and treated, this condition can also lead to a fatality.

Salmonella is possibly an even better known chicken illness than bird flu. This is one of the few chicken diseases that can be effectively treated when caught in time. That is why it is critical to look for signs of sickness in a chicken and take it to the vet as soon as possible.

These are only a small number of the scores of chicken diseases that poultry can contract. Understanding some of the common signs of illness in the chicken is helpful towards preventing the problem from getting worse. There are various telltale signs that would indicate whether or not a chicken is healthy. For example, if the chicken is showing signs of being rather lethargic, there may be a serious problem present. If the feathers on the chicken seem to have lost their smoothness or proper ruffled appearance, an underlying condition may be present. How is the chicken's eating and drinking habits? Those chickens that are deviating from their normal feeding behavior may be doing so for a reason.

In a way, you could sum up the potential for chicken diseases as being any behavior that is decidedly out of ordinary for the chicken. While it may not be sick, it certainly wouldn't hurt to take it to the vet to be sure or call your local USDA office and ask around for someone that could help you with identifying what is wrong with your chicken as you can lose your entire flocks if the disease is not cured.

Suzie O'Connor is the owner of which carries an extensive selection of custom made chicken houses and portable chicken coops. Custom made chicken coops and chicken houses mean happy, healthy chickens. The company is located in sunny Florida and can be reached at 866/579-1347 866/579-1347 .

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Silly Chicken Jokes, For Kids

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road halfway?
A: She wanted to lay it on the line.

Q: Why did the rubber chicken cross the road?
A: She wanted to stretch her legs.

Q: Why did the Roman chicken cross?
A: She was afraid someone would caesar!

Q: How did the wealthy rubber chicken cross the road?
A: In her Cadillac stretch limo.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To prove to the possum it could actually be done!

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road twice?
A: Because it was a double-crosser

A farmer with lots of chickens posted the following sign:
"Free Chickens. Our Coop Runneth Over."

How to Increase Your Chickens' Health

You have to make sure your chickens have a lot of outdoor activity. It's good to have a chicken coop and a shelter facility for your birds, but sooner or later, you're going to have to let them go out and range in the open. Chickens need this for a variety of reasons - their emotional happiness being the foremost.

Chicken ranges vary depending on how you're letting them range, the size of the area you let them use as their pasture, and method that you use to keep them in. The type of pasture you use will have to be determined by the number of chickens that you own and the size of the ranging area that you have.

I mean, let's face it - you can't have a hundred-bird barnyard and keep them in an enclosure built for twenty birds. The land will be barren within days, if at all. What you want is to establish the kind of place where your chickens will be safe from the elements and still be able to graze a patch of land that won't die off due to the sudden influx of population.

Why do chickens benefit from chicken ranges? Simple - they need vitamins A and D. So yeah, what's the connection, right? Well, chickens are like human beings, in that their skin naturally generates vitamin D upon contact with sunlight. Meanwhile, the grass is a good source of vitamin A, among other nutrients.

Another good argument for letting them graze is due to the fact that they require ventilation. If you constantly keep them inside their coops for very long, they will be prone to diseases. Ranging will also give you a chance to clean their coops without any disturbance from the chickens as well.

There are a variety of ways in how you can set up your chicken range:

* The open-air coop is a simple set-up that you can build to make sure that your chickens are getting all the air they need.

* Management intensive rotational grazing is a type of yarding that changes the pasture area often so as not to deplete just one patch of land of its fertility

* Free-range pasturing is a method that employs a large tract of land with little or no boundaries to where your chickens can graze

Truth be told, there are other methods of letting your chickens graze. Do a bit of research before you start fixing your chicken range. Just remember - the idea is to let them roam about and give them plenty of fresh air and vegetation to eat, and you're sure to have a good brood of happy, energetic chickens.

Chad B. is an advocate for backyard chicken care and has been involved in raising chickens since he was little boy back in 1986. Find out more about chicken ranges and how you can get a free 10-lesson chicken raising mini-course by visiting Chad's site at

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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Keeping Chickens

Keeping chickens as pets is fun and useful. Chickens are easy to tame, not excessively noisy (as long as you don't have a rooster) and if you keep their house clean they are not dirty and are usually very healthy. Forget the old-fashioned barnyard full of dust and dirt; you can have a neat, pretty hen house in your backyard. You can buy a kit or a ready-made hen house from most pet shops or hardware outlets.

Chickens are good for your garden. They scratch around, disturbing any weeds and peck up garden pests like snails. They are good for fertilizing your vegies but make sure you compost the fertiliser first. It can be too strong in its fresh state. You can compost any food scraps the chickens don't eat, too.

Chickens love fresh fruit and vegetable scraps, crusts, and other leftovers but don't give them orange peel, they don't eat it. Make sure to clean up anything they don't eat because food scraps lying around are unsightly and can attract vermin. It's a good idea to have a quick cleanup before dark each day. A quick rake and scoop into the compost bin each day only takes a minute and you'll have a nice clean chicken house. Generally, chickens are very healthy and live for about ten years. They lay every day except in winter. As they get older, they don't lay as often.

Chickens can survive on garden scratchings and food scraps but they really should get some extra vitamins and minerals. The easiest way to feed them well is to buy some layers pellets. Get chicken pellets especially formulated for laying chickens because they contain all the necessary elements for healthy egg-laying chickens. You will want your chickens to be in peak condition because their eggs will be in peak condition. You will benefit from having the best quality and best tasting eggs you have ever eaten in your life. There is a difference in the taste of a happy, well-fed, backyard pet chicken and that of a cage-bred battery hen.

When you first crack open an egg from your chickens you will probably notice the yolk is a very rich golden colour. This is because of the healthy fresh greens your chickens get to eat. Battery hens only get pellets so their eggs don't have real, natural vitamins. All their vitamins are from pellets. The eggs taste best when they are fresh and you won't get any fresher than one from your own hens each day.

If you have no rooster, the eggs will not be fertilised. This means they will never produce a baby chicken. Some children hate the thought they are depriving a mother hen from her children. You can safely explain the eggs will never have chickens and your children can enjoy their gift from their hens.

Chickens are not clever like dogs and cats but they can be friendly. They like a daily routine, so if you feed them and clean their house at the same time every day they will come to enjoy your company, as long as you are not too loud or make sudden movements. It won't take long for them to come running every time they see you with their food bowl. If you like gardening they will 'help you' by sifting through the freshly weeded or turned dirt, looking for insects and snails. Their chatter as they scratch through the dirt is quite amusing.

Wendy Streater has been interested in natural products for over twenty years. After discovering some disturbing facts about the ingredients in regular household products, Wendy has set up a site devoted to informing everyone about the natural, affordable alternatives available.

There is a lot of things most people take for granted e.g., the government controls the amount of dangerous chemicals in toiletries and make-up. This is not possible, given the amount of new chemicals and combinations of chemicals developed every year. We need to take a proactive approach and look out for ourselves.

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Five Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing the Location For Your Chicken Coops Or Chicken Sheds

One of the most overlooked, but important decisions you can make concerns the location of your chicken sheds. Making the wrong choice can lead to disease among the flock, decreased egg production, dirty and unsightly eggs, and other negative consequences.

Mistake #1: Not Choosing an Area with Good Soil Drainage

Probably the one specific item that can take all the enjoyment out of growing chickens is putting your chicken sheds in areas with inferior water drainage. This can result in water buildup, sludge, soaked litter, sullied eggs, disease, and a lower number of eggs produced.

If the water does not drain well it will most likely result in mud production. When chicken droppings are included in the mixture of soil and water, it can produce a contaminated mire. This will be easily tracked inside the chicken shed where the litter, nesting boxes, water, and food are located, which can cause the litter to get soaked and the eggs and poultry nests to get soiled. Chickens need an unpolluted house to continue being happy and healthy and produce lots of fresh organic eggs.

Mistake #2: Constructing Poultry Coops that Face the Wrong Direction

When constructing a chicken pen you will need to face it southward if possible. This is mandatory in climates where the winter months are severe. South facing houses will have the highest sunshine which will serve some essential purposes. It will keep the chicken sheds a bit warmer through the wintry weather which will help the inner area remain drier. And remember, chicken sheds that are drier will provide you with extra eggs and fewer health disorders.

Mistake #3: Not Picking a Location with Decent Air Circulation

Sufficient air movement, along with correctly positioned windows, can allow clean air currents to flow all through the poultry house. This can keep strong odors from increasing to noxious levels and help the litter remain dry.

Additionally, take into account which direction the wind normally blows in your region. Chicken sheds will ideally not be placed in areas with no wind breaks. If there is the risk of intense winds in your location situate the coop in a site with a wind break.

Mistake #4: Not Putting Chicken Sheds Near Water and Electrical Outlets

Electricity and water are two factors that are not generally given enough attention before construction actually begins. In spite of this, manufacturing your shed in the vicinity of these sources will certainly save you a lot of work and help your hens supply you with more eggs.

Being in the vicinity of a water faucet will allow you to install a simple automatic watering system, eliminating the requirement of refilling the bird's water fountains each day. Electricity will allow you to add a light source in the interior of the poultry house if desired. Hens need a minimum of 14 hours of light each day if you want them to give you eggs steadily. During the times of the year with less than 14 hours of sunlight you can run additional light inside the shed which will usually keep the hens laying eggs on a regular basis even throughout the winter. It normally requires just a solitary low-watt light bulb to keep the hens laying eggs efficiently.

Mistake #5: Not Allowing for Upcoming Expansion

It is best to keep your options open. You may possibly assume that you will never want to keep a greater number than a handful of chickens, but it still pays to set aside a small amount of additional breathing room. Even if you don't expect to increase the number of chickens you keep, it is normally a fine idea to set aside adequate amounts of room to do so if you change your mind.

You may initially believe that just a few chickens is plenty and put up your chicken house where there is no extra space for future expansion. Then again, if something should cause you to change your mind and you decide to raise 20 or 30 hens you will want the additional room.

Joshua has raised chickens for over 25 years and has built all of his own chicken sheds during that time. He is an expert in raising chickens for meat and eggs. You can learn more about building high quality chicken sheds, raising chickens, and other valuable tips on his website at

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Understanding Breeds of Chickens

Understanding Breeds of Chickens
Group Specifics From Ornamental to Dual Purpose
Allene Reynolds

Chickens are kept for a variety of reasons; egg production, meat, pest control, even for ornamentation and show. Knowing the breeds will help decide the purpose.

There are two basic groups of chickens; large and bantam. Large breeds are generally classed by the country of their origin which includes England, Asia, America, the Orient, the Mediterranean region and Continental. Bantams are grouped by individual aspects such as feathering and the shape of their comb. Some are classified as game breeds, other ornamental.

Egg Producing Breeds
Some Mediterranean breeds are known for superior egg producing qualities. Among those are the Leghorns. Good laying hens of any breed have similar characteristics such as smaller bodies than those chickens used for a dual purpose. They mature early and lay early but they also, especially the Leghorns, have a nervous disposition and are hard to manage. Among the American breeds that lay abundant and good quality eggs are the Rhode Island Reds. They have a more docile personality and are easier to manage although the cocks can be aggressive. English breeds include the Australorp and the Orpingtons. All chickens, including bantams, lay eggs but if that is your primary reason for keeping chickens you may want to invest in a group specifically known for egg production.

Meat and Dual Purpose Chickens
If you want a good layer but also a chicken for meat there are a number of dual purpose breeds. Among these are the Plymouth Rock, the Wyandotte and the Sussex. Breeds better known for meat purposes, due to the size of their bodies, are the Red Sex Link and the Black Sex Link. The Red Sex Link is a cross between a Leghorn hen and a Rhode Island Red rooster. The Black Sex Link is crossbred from a Barred Plymouth Rock hen and a Rhode Island Red cock. Bantams are generally not kept as meat chickens because of their small size.

Ornamental Breeds
If keeping chickens for fun is what you want then you might consider the ornamental breeds. The Necked Neck and the Frizzle chickens are the most eye catching if not necessarily the most aesthetic. Necked Necks have feathers everywhere except their necks making it appear elongated. The curling feathers on a Frizzle chicken give it the appearance of just having a permanent wave. Other ornamentals include the Araucana because of ear 'tuffs' , their absence of a rump appearance, and the fact that they lay blue eggs. The Faverolle is a bearded, booted beauty with great personality. Almost all bantams can be kept for show and ornamentation even those classified as 'game' chickens.

Endangered Breeds of Chickens
As with all domestic animal and fowl there are some breeds that, for various reasons, become less and less popular until they reach the endangered species list. If you wish to keep chickens in order to preserve a strain that might be lost to the world then two North American breeds are worth your consideration. The Dominique, or Dominiker, is a beautifully barred chicken that claims the title of the first American breed. They were bred in the early 19th century and nearly became extinct until recent interest was sparked in preserving this dual purpose breed. The other is the Chantecler which is known as the oldest Canadian breed. It is rare to still find stock in these birds even in Canada. They, too, are dual purpose and were bred in the 20th century.

Read more at Suite101: Understanding Breeds of Chickens: Group Specifics From Ornamental to Dual Purpose

Why You Should Construct Your Own Chicken Coop

When you create your own chicken coop, this will not merely provide you with a self-sustaining mini farm, which generates fresh organic eggs daily, recycles food scraps and supply high quality fertilizer, but will also give you the added fun associated with constructing a coop on your own. Many people for a long time now have always been chicken keepers mainly for food reasons, but now there are other reasons why we raise chickens.

There was a rush of attention in chicken keeping, publicized by celebrity chefs bringing the buzz of troubles with battery reared hens, high prices at stores and reported credit crunch. The concept of keeping chickens in your lawn and the thought of acquiring fresh eggs from your own hens doesn't make you different from those who have home farms on their own.

Raising chickens is an economically smart hobby. If money is not a problem, then there are lots of fancy ready made chicken coops which you can avail from several chicken keeping shops. If funds is tight, you may opt of create your own chicken coop with just scraps of wood dumped in your garage or backyard.

Chicken coops simply require being big and comfortable enough for your chickens to stay during the night, and big enough to extend their wings during the day. The coop should be a place where the chickens can comfortably lay their eggs on.

When you are searching for ways to construct your own coop for raising chickens here are some of the plans which you can follow in order to come up with your own design.
There are no fancy equipments needed to design your own chicken coop all you need are basic tools such as handsaw, drill, hammer and some other materials that are readily available in hardware shops.

When you construct your own chicken coop you will be able to acquire the following advantages:

• Save you more money from buying the premade kits
• You are assure that you have created a warm and soothing environment for your chicken to lay more eggs
• You will acquire fresh organic eggs daily
• You can put up your own security measures against predators like cats, hawks, foxes and coyotes
• You are able to secure your chicken from the worst weather condition and sustain their health
• You will be able to lengthen the lifespan of your flock since you are able to give them a healthy environment

Before you start to breed chickens, make sure that you begin with a small flock. From there you will have to build a bigger coop so they will have more room. Select a location from which they will have enough sunlight to help them lay more eggs.

Being able to choose the right materials and the correct Chicken Coop design can save you hours of work and a lot of money. If your looking to save time and money when building your own Chicken Coop then building your own Chicken Coop may be the perfect solution, find out more here;

How to build a Chicken House.

Download your Chicken Coop plans right now, illustrated colour designs and a clear and concise guide to becoming self sufficient, saving money and time.

Click here to find out how to build a Hen House.

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How to Keep Chickens Safe From Harm

It is very important to get the relevant information on the needs of chickens. Many people believe they know how to keep chickens only to end up overlooking some of the basic regulations necessary. The highest numbers of chicken keepers mostly overlook safety related issues only to end up with massive losses.

Several factors contribute to the insecurity of chickens. Some of the most common security risks are predators like dogs and birds or even wild animals. Some areas have snakes or other wild animals like mongoose among others who enjoy preying on chickens. It is therefore important to know your area well to understand the looming danger to your birds.

Different security measures are possible depending on the potential danger. Of all the risks that your chicken may face, human activity is likely to be the most dangerous since this may affect our birds without you getting any warnings.

Take the example of a neighbor who decides to spray his backyard, including the fence that separates your property from his, without taking into account the fact that your chicken often forage for leaves and other foodstuff along the same fence. This simple human activity may result in you losing an entire flock within a very short time

In order to guard your chickens against such eventuality it is important to ensure you keep your compound covered and in cases of shared fences, please make sure you educate your neighbors on the safety precautions necessary. Giving the relevant information can save you a great deal of potential danger. It is also vital to take into account the direction of winds when constructing your chicken coops. Most chicken diseases are airborne and spread by wind; this means that your coops should not be facing the direction of oncoming winds.

If your neighborhood has a large tree population, birds like crows and eagles among other meat eating birds are likely to inhabit such areas, it is important to devise a strategy to tackle this danger since these carnivorous birds can wipe out all your chicken faster than you can imagine. You can raise high wire mesh fences to break the bird's access or even build strategic hiding places on the ground every few meters for your birds to reach safety incase of attacks. The use of scarecrows has also yielded results in some cases.

Keeping chickens at home can be interesting at times especially for young kids who may find the exercise thrilling, kids can also act as a source of security since most predators can not attack your chicken when the kids are playing around the yard. The danger posed by wild animals such as mongoose and monitor lizards among others can be minimized by keeping other pets like dogs, which can play a major role in keeping away predators from your compound.

Lastly, it is very crucial to observe health and hygiene standards for your chicken, getting frequent vaccinations for common diseases can save your chickens from death incase of disease outbreaks

For more information on how to keep chickens why not take advantage of the Free 11 part mini course on how to raise healthy chickens at

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Why Keep Chickens?

With the current global financial situation, affording a decent life is becoming increasingly hard. Prices of food items like all other commodities are on the rise. To survive these hard economic times many people around the world are now opting to grow their own food and rearing animals and birds to provide nutritional supplements. This applies to both the rural and urban setups. Scenarios of suspended farms on roof tops, chicken coops at the backyard etcetera are becoming a common phenomenon in the urban areas. As the prices of food products escalate, the cost of chicken and chicken products are not spared either. Keeping your own chicken can help save a lot on the cost spent buying chicken and related products as well as generate income from the sale of some products to neighbours.

The cost of keeping chicken is perhaps the lowest compared to other farm animals. They are cheap to buy and the cost of their maintenance is also low. The number of chickens to keep depends on a number of factors which include the requirements for eggs and meat on a daily basis, the size of your compound and whether or not you will be selling some eggs and meat to neighbours or friends. With an area of approximately six square feet you can keep a flock of between four to six birds which are enough to provide a family with a constant supply of eggs. Selling extra eggs and sometimes chicken, will help earn a few dollars on a regular basis which though unnoticeable at the time, will go a long way in complementing the normal family income. With the current economic times this can be a great boost.

Chicken products (meat and eggs) are rich in a variety of minerals, which include high percentage proteins, carbohydrates, Vitamins (A and D) and choline. These are the main components of a balanced diet, important for healthy living of your family.

Raising chickens should therefore be the dream of any home owner either in the rural or urban areas due to their ease of management and their contribution to the family well being both in terms of diet as well as increased income. This practice is a wonderful adventure which calls for a bit of commitment and investment as all animals either pets or domestic animals require management. For anyone interested in keeping chicken, making a choice on the chickens to keep would probably be the first thing to do. This will depend on whether you want your chicken only for eggs, meat or as pets. Whether you like to have good looking chickens around your compound or not is also a factor to consider. A good way to approach this is to get advice by talking to a breeder who should direct you on the best breeds for you. Breeds like White Star, Isa Brown, Loman and Black Rock are good layers and would be good for one interested in keeping chickens for eggs. Finding out about any restrictions by the local authority is also important before one starts keeping the birds.

If you found this article helpful and would like to learn more about choosing the right chickens to keep you can find lots of useful information at chicken keeping answers

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Feeding Chickens VIDEO...

Raising Chickens Pros and Cons

There are so many reasons why someone would want or wouldn’t want a chicken in their backyard. There are debates about it and here are some: Pros 1. Costs incredibly cheap. When we say cheap, not only does the chicken itself count but also the maintenance of it all. Compared to keeping a dog or a cat for a pet, it is much cheaper to take care of a number of chickens most likely because they are not choosy when it comes to food
. You can feed them scraps and table leftovers and they will happily gobble it up. With as little as $2 a day, you can spend on a bunch of layer mash. 2. You can get something from them. Eggs. Meat. Ornament. Who wouldn’t want it? In terms of eggs, it is seldom that you encounter a chicken that can’t lay eggs. It is a good source of iron, which is good for the brain. You could either sell these eggs or keep them in your fridge. With meat, every part of a chicken can be eaten. Yes, every. In cases of those who don’t want to see their chickens go bye-bye, they raise them as pets and for exhibition purposes. 3. Low maintenance. Unlike dogs who need everyday grooming and cats who need your undivided attention, chickens need none of those. You don’t have to bring them to your vet every once in a while to take shots and doses of vaccines. All you have to do is feed them and supply clean water every day. Their coops must be cleaned at least once a week or twice every month depending on the number of chickens that you own. 4. Fertilizers for free and an instant pest control agent. These are the two things that chicken raisers love about owning a chicken. When you allow your chickens to roam around your backyard, it is in their nature to peck on whatever it is that catches their interest and their hunger. Chickens love anything that came from the ground most especially the ones that are moving. They eat insects, bugs, worms and the like. For them, these are special treats. Furthermore, it is in their nature to eradicate their internal wastes anywhere they please. But their poops are considered as natural fertilizers that the ground needs to grow plants and root crops in a healthy state. Cons 1. They are not the best guard pets to have. While chickens can coo and make familiar sounds, it is not in their nature to bite or coo on anyone they see who looks suspicious. All they can do is grow, eat, and lay eggs. They are also not the ideal pets you would want to have especially if you need a response like waggling of the tail or a purring sound. 2. Chickens are messy. Indeed. Plus, their poop smells terrible that it can reach certain areas in your house. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to go through enduring hours of cleaning, chickens aren’t really the pets for you. 3. One for all, all for one. Well, in terms of getting sick this is a con. Because when one catches flu, everyone gets it too. And if one dies because of that flu, it is expected that every single chicken living with that infected chicken who also got that flu is also going to die after a few days.

More People Are Raising Chickens

There is a movement across the nation, more and more people are starting to raise chickens. Whether it be the state of the economy or people just wanting to get back to the basics--people are looking for ways to be a little more self-sufficient and having eggs supplied by your own animals is one of many ways. Along with the interest in raising chickens you need to be aware of some of the poultry equipment required to maintain your new flock. Some people just jump right in without a thought--kind of like I did in the beginning--my husband brought home six chickens and we scrambled around looking for temporary housing until we could build better and something to dispense their feed and water. If you have a choice, first determine what is needed to start raising chickens and then get your chickens.

What comes first--the chicken or the chicken supplies?
At a local farm supply store I noticed a lady had purchased a new baby chicken and along with the chick she had a chick feeder, a chick waterer, and who knows what at home that was waiting for her new little chicken. She probably is not aware within a few weeks the baby chickens will about double in size and will not be able to eat out of the chick feeder without opening the top and the waterer will not hold enough to give them an adequate water supply. These are some of the things that you learn from experience in raising chickens. If I was considering raising a few chickens in my backyard for the first time, here are the preferred chicken supplies I would have on hand:

1.Chicken House--when raising chickens the chicken needs a place to call home. Whether it be a chicken tractor, a chicken coop, or a livestock barn, give the chickens a place to get out of the rain, lay an egg, and roost at night. Baby chickens require an area with a heat source for a short time so the housing requirements will be different.
2.Poultry Equipment--this includes the chicken waterer, poultry feeder, and nesting boxes. The type of poultry equipment you purchase depends on the age of the chicken. The feeder and waterer requirements for baby chickens is different than adult poultry. You will need the regular feeders at some point. Unless you buy a pre-fab chicken house most do not come with nesting boxes so you will need to supply the area where you want to gather the eggs.
3.Used Poultry Equipment--there are many sources to purchase used poultry equipment and the first place I usually look is Craigslist and from there I search for any local livestock or small animal auctions. And don't forget your local trading posts papers. We have one that comes from our local electric company and sometimes they have some items at good prices.
4.Chicken Feed--when you bring home your new chickens one of the first things they want to do is eat. Again what type you buy is determined by the age of the chicken. There are a variety of chicken feeds out there so do your homework to choose the one that is right for you.
5.Storage Containers for Poultry Supplies--what do I mean by this? Somewhere to keep your food and grain so other animals do not have access to it. The likelihood of attracting critters of some sort is very high with all the scratching a chicken does in its food that helps to spread it around. I use metal trash containers and they do the trick. I keep my food supplies in one and my chicken equipment in the other.
I have been raising chickens for over five years now so I have my preferred methods of feeding and watering along with my preferred poultry equipment, some homemade and some store bought. If you are just starting out and not sure where to turn, visit your local feed store. Check out their prices and then compare them to the online stores. Most of the time you will find if you buy local you will save on the shipping costs. And there is the chance that if they do not have what you are looking for they will order it for you.With the interest in raising chickens you need to have the correct poultry equipment to maintain your new flock.

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Secrets to Raising Healthy Chickens on a Small Budget

There are two mandatory ingredients for raising chickens as far as health is concerned. One is food and the other is shelter, which often comes in the form of a chicken ark. Chicken arks are also known as chicken coups, chicken sheds, hen houses, chicken pens, chicken runs, poultry housing or a whole assortment of other names. Once you have purchased a good set of chicken house plans, and after you have built your chicken ark, you will find that the next step, after adding poultry to your chicken coup of course, will be to provide healthy and nutritious food to your birds.

The health of your pullets has a lot to do with the type and quality of chicken ark that you provide for them, but it is also dependent on giving them a high quality feed. To raise chickens that will provide you with the highest production, in other words the highest quality and quantity of eggs, you must be certain that your chickens are healthy and happy by feeding them a well balanced diet.

First, you can let them free range for all of their food. This is easy since all you have to do is provide them a portable chicken coop. Plus it will save you some money. Unfortunately, it will also cause your egg production to plummet. Second, you can prepare and mix your own feed by following one of the many online recipes that will include grains and fish meal. Next, you can buy premixed rations, which will take all of the guess work out of mixing your own. And lastly, you can use a combination of the previously listed methods.

If you are looking to avoid any extra hassle, the easiest way, although it is the most expensive, is to purchase a premixed package.

Chickens need animal protein, which naturally comes in the form of bugs, but it should be supplemented with grains and fish meal. These foods will keep chickens healthy and productive for many years. Some pullets can continue laying for 10 or 12 years when provided with this type of diet.

Allowing them to forage for their own food is a natural and normal activity, but you should also realize that letting them scratch, hunt and peck for food around their chicken ark too long makes it possible to for them to devour too much of this free food. This is a sure-fire way to reduce their egg production and a compromise needs to be made. Allowing your poultry to free range in limited amounts will save you money on feed, while still allowing your chickens to remain healthy and productive in the chicken coup.

Another choice is to buy a prepackaged feed. This is the easiest, but most costly method. All you have to do is read the package to make sure it is for the right type and age of bird. Each feed is specially formulated to give a particular breed what it needs nutritionally. Sex also plays a factor, so if you are raising pullets, you will want to purchase feed that is formulated specifically for them, which means it will contain more calcium along with the proper amounts of protein and other nutrients.

If you are doing your own mixing, you will need to do more research. For beginners it is usually wise to begin their new hobby by purchasing chicken feed at the store. As you become more experienced, you will be able to save money by mixing your own. You will also learn how often to allow your poultry to scratch around their chicken ark for juicy bugs and plants.

An ideal situation for small backyard farmers is to use portable chicken coups. This way, the hens can free range in a small area, pecking around happily for big fat bugs and succulent plants, while still getting their staple of prepackaged or self-mixed food. When you are ready to allow your birds some greener pastures, you will simply move the portable chicken ark and let them do more hunting in the new location. By allowing them free range opportunities, it will save you money on feed while still giving them the protection from predators that portable chicken sheds can provide.

Remember, the two most important aspects of raising healthy and productive chickens are food and shelter. Well-built stationary chicken coups will provide the shelter, while a portable chicken ark will provide the shelter along with plenty of free food that your birds will savor. This can give you the best of both worlds, by lowering your feed costs while maintaining the productivity of your chickens.

Mr. Harding has quite a lengthy history when it comes to raising chickens. He has raised many breeds of chicken along with a variety of other poultry for both meat and eggs. If you are interested in raising chickens in your own backyard, you will find valuable information on his web site at Learn the 3 things you need to know before building your own chicken ark. Also available are entertaining reviews of products about building chicken coups.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Becky's Homestead - All About Chickens VIDEO...

Becky's Homestead 25: All About Chickens - The best video clips are right here

Raising Chickens in Cold Weather

Is this your first winter keeping chickens? When the temperature drops, it's important to know how to properly care for your backyard flock. Here are some common problems, along with must-know tips for preventing them:

Frostbite. Shows up as white spots on their combs and wattles; the spots eventually blacken and the affected part falls off. Not a huge worry unless you have prolonged periods of subzero temperatures. Gobs of petroleum jelly will protect frosbitten parts and encourage healing. Also, a 100 watt bulb or heat lamp on a timer works wonders for keeping small coops above freezing.
Dehydration. Avoid this by making sure your birds always have fresh, non-frozen water to drink. Instead of a plastic waterer, put out a galvanized or rubber bucket of warm water each morning, replacing the previous day's bucket (which has probably frozen overnight). Electric warmers also work well, if you can afford the additional electricity.
Breathing problems. Don't try to warm your chicken house by closing up all the vents! Remember, chickens put out tons of moisture through breathing and in their poop. Humidity and condensation (which can lead to frostbite) get worse when the air doesn't circulate. Also, deadly ammonia from their manure will build rapidly.
Few or no eggs. Given a choice between staying warm and laying eggs, chickens usually divert most of their food energy toward making body heat. If your chickens stop laying, try to get them to eat more. An old trick is to pour some warm water over their feed.
Low light. Winter days mean less daylight -- which leads to fewer eggs. Another source of winter blues: Chickens won't eat in the dark. Fight this with artificial light: Use a 60-100 watt bulb on a timer to maintain about 14 hours of light each day. Early morning is a good time for the light to be on, since those are the coldest hours of the day. (Remember to turn off the light after sunrise.)

We've covered some of the important things to think about when keeping chickens in cold weather. Egg production may suffer, but health usually isn't an issue unless your birds will be exposed to subzero (F) temps for weeks at a time.

Do you want to learn more about keeping chickens, and how to properly manage and care for your flock? Visit Harold's Web site at

(c) Copyright -- Harold Blackmon, Jr. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Keeping Chickens For Beginners

People who do not have experience in cultivating livestock do not have to worry since you can easily go about it. Experience maybe an advantage but not necessarily a prerequisite. You will be surprised that keeping chickens for beginners can be as easy as ABC. You just have to be aware of some important points which will help you to slowly get the hang of it. As you go through the whole process, remember that every step is a crucial one. This will help you to get a better understanding of the basics of raising poultry.

The first thing you should do is to assess the main reason why you have decided to get into this kind of industry. A lot of questions are probably running in your mind right now and you will surely get the answers as you learn more about it. Remember that passion gives you the drive to learn and improve yourself. Same thing goes with keeping chickens; you need to be passionate about what you are doing to yield good outcomes. It will be difficult for you to raise them properly if you are not even interested. People who engage in this type of industry are truly passionate about it.

Once you are certain about your purpose and you have already decided to commit to the craft then the next thing to do is select the right type of breed for your flock. Your intended purpose will be the basis of the selection. Be aware that there are three types of breeds available. These are the egg laying stock, meat-type birds and dual purpose breeds. Each of these birds is genetically cultivated to serve a specific purpose.

You will now have to decide how you would want to cultivate them. You have an option of caging them within a pen or let them enjoy the beauty of nature. If you have very limited space 3-4 hens is a good number to start with. You do not actually need a large number all at once. Do not forget that you are still learning you will need enough experience to accommodate a larger flock. In the meantime, try to go about a smaller group and learn from it. A larger space is a more conducive area since it will give them enough room. Allowing them to grow in their own habitat is proven to be an effective means of developing them properly. Also, you need to construct a coop to house your flock. Even if you decided to raise free range birds you will still need to have one.

When you have completely satisfied all the basic requirements of raising livestock then it is now safe to say that you are good to go. Keeping chickens for beginners is truly something you would look forward to. The idea of being challenge into doing something you are not used to makes it all the more interesting.

Discover The Secrets, Tips and Tricks To Raising Chickens At Home - In Your Back Yard - In The City or Suburbs!

Visit The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens at Home in Your Back Yard

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Getting Started With Chicken Feeding - The Right Way

Are you at a loss on how you should feed your chickens?

Do you find yourself looking through the Internet for guides on chicken feeding, and feeling more and more confused?

Do you find it hard to believe that feeding your chickens can actually be the easiest part of taking care of them?

That probably means that you're a new chicken raiser. Most newcomers in the field find it difficult to believe that you can simplify the task of feeding chickens into a routine that actually works well enough to keep both the chickens and their owner happy.

While it does involve a little bit of scientific knowledge, figuring out a way of feeding your birds isn't rocket science. Most breeders come up with a feeding routine for their birds within months, usually by trying out a variety of chicken feeding schemes and choosing which works out best for them. I think what daunts most new chicken breeders the most about it, though, is the fact that they can't tell what product to get for their birds.

There are actually three basic ways of feeding your chickens. These methods involve feeding them with store-bought feed, creating your own feed at home, and using a combination of the two methods. Each one is effective so long as you take care to do it with the health of your chickens in mind.

The first method involves buying supplies of chicken feed from your local farm grocery. Depending on the kind of chickens you have, you might want to check on the formulation of the feeds that are available.

The most important thing to remember is that the younger the chickens are, the more protein they need. Older hens, in the meantime, need more calcium because of the calcium drain they experience when laying eggs.

If you decide to go natural and make homemade chicken feeds, you'll still have to take note of the nutritional formulation of the feed you're making.

Chicken feeding via normal human food will ensure that you get to save a little bit of money while you get to feed them stuff that you are 100% confident in. The only drawback with this method is that it takes too long to prepare a single meal, and if you don't have time, this can be a problem.

A combination of feeding methods will help ensure that your chickens' feeding habits are well-rounded. This way, you know that your birds are getting all the nutrition they should be getting (using homemade food as a supplement for their regular chicken food).

Chad B. is an advocate for backyard chicken care and has been involved in raising chickens since he was little boy back in 1986. Find out more about chicken feeding and how you can get a free 10-lesson chicken raising mini-course by visiting Chad's site by clicking here

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What to Feed Your Chickens

So you have got your chickens and now you are wondering what to feed them? A good question, to which the obvious answer is: food.

But what, I hear you cry, do chickens eat? We can answer that question by first of all finding out how they eat.
Chickens are omnivores, which is a Latin word meaning "to devour".

Ominous creatures are in the main opportunistic eaters, which means that they will eat anything that is handy or seems appealing at the time. Very much like you and I really. What ever takes their fancy?

Chickens feed themselves in the wild by eating seeds, bugs, grubs, insects, small mice and lizards. Because of this habit and to keep your chickens happy (which is vital if you want them to be healthy) you should always let you chickens " run about " as often as you can.

By allowing your chickens to do this you will be able to keep your chickens food cost down and also as a side effect, there will be less bugs in your garden to eat your veg!

There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before you start keeping chickens;

Why do you want to keep chickens?: For eggs/meat/pets

Are you going to spend money on keeping chickens or do it on the cheap?

Make you own food or buy in?

Only you can answer those questions, but lets say that it is a bit of everything: you are going to keep chickens for a few eggs for breakfast, buy a bit of food and feed them your scraps; which I suppose is what most backyard chicken keepers do.

A few tips on buying food: go to a proper shop. By that I mean a farmers shop that sells "feeds" failing that buy your food at a busy pet shop. The reason for this is that you do not want stale or out of date food and a busy shop will have a good turn over of food stock....never buy chicken food that is on sale because the reason that it is on sale is because more then likely it is getting old. Also do not buy too much food at once so that it ends up going sour in your store.

When feeding your table scraps to your chickens do make sure that you do not feed them any meat. I know that chickens are ominous creatures and can eat meat but you do not know what the meat that you eat has been fed when it was an animal, it could well of been chicken offal and that is defiantly a no no (I assume you have heard of Mad Cow disease...that's what that was about; feeding dead animals to animals)
When you feed scraps to your chickens you will soon find out what they like and dislike by what they eat and don't eat.

Chickens are like people they eat what they like and leave what they don't like. I like chocolate but not everybody does.

A word of warning: never feed your chickens salt.

There are many good books on this subject, take a look around; make a start by looking at my blog you will find a very good book for you to look at there.

Richard has been keeping chickens for over 40 years:

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Chicken Trivia

You can literally hypnotize a chicken by holding it and drawing a line in the dirt over and over. The chicken will stay still right there as long as you do this.

Colonel Sanders (the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy in the white suit) was the second most recognized public figure in the world in 1979.

Did you know that some breeds of chickens can lay coloured eggs? Sure enough, the Ameraucana and Araucana can lay eggs colored in shades of green or blue, depending on the breed and it's ancestry.

In Fruita, Colorado, the town folk celebrate 'Mike the Headless Chicken Day'. Seems that a farmer named L.A. Olsen cut off Mike's head on September 10, 1945 in anticipation of a chicken dinner - and Mike lived for another 4 years WITHOUT A HEAD. Mike died from choking on a corn kernel.

In Gainesville, Georgia - the chicken capital of the world - it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork!

One punishment for an adulterous wife in medieval France was to make her chase a chicken through town naked. The source doesn't state whether it was the chicken or the wife who was naked.

According to National Geographic, scientists have settled the old dispute over which came first -- the chicken or the egg. They say that reptiles were laying eggs thousands of years before chickens appeared, and the first chicken came from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken. That seems to answer the question. The egg came first.

Beijing boasts the world's largest Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

Chimney's used to be cleaned by dropping live chickens down them

The closest living relative of the t-rex is the chicken which makes the phobia 'Alektorophobia' (Fear of chickens) slightly more plausible.