Do you want to know how to raise chickens? Well, you are in the right place fella. Personally speaking, there is nothing to worry about raising your own flock of chickens because it was easier than what you think right now. Just to let you know, it is very self-fulfilling, rewarding and exciting.
Chickens can even accompany you like pets and they can be also your food source. Unlike having other pets in your house, raising chickens is inexpensive and easier. You don’t even need some specialized training to excel raising your own flock of fowls.
For this guide, I assure you that you will learn the basics of taking care of your chickens. As we sort down everything you need to do and to know about raising your own flock from when they are chicks up until they became full grown chickens.
Choosing your chicken
There are hundreds of different breeds of chickens, but they are classified based on human utility. These categories can help you decide on what breed of chicken will you raise.
- Egg laying – These breeds are known to produce a large number of eggs through within a shorter production lifetime.
- Meat reared – These breeds are chickens best used for meat purposes. They grow faster than other chickens and they are set already for slaughter once they reach 2 months.
- Dual purpose – These breeds are productive in laying eggs and can also be a good meat source once they grow large enough.
- Poultry show – These breeds are different from others as they are reared for poultry shows and cockfighting/duels.
Aside from the breed, you are also going to choose whether you are going to start raising a chicken from an egg, a chick or a full-grown chicken. When you are going to choose for the first time, here are the different choices:
- Hatching eggs – these are fertilized eggs that need to be incubated. I don’t recommend this choice for beginners because incubating would be troublesome unless you are familiar with the process and you really wanted to try it.
- Chicks – this is newly hatched chickens that is typically at one day old. I highly recommend this choice for beginners as you can choose the breed you want.
- Pullets – this are chickens that are on their adulting period and is about to lay their first eggs.
- Adult – this is the most expensive choice compared to others. And you can often find adult chickens from poultries and shelters.
Housing for your chickens
Of course, chickens also need shelter. Just like us, your chickens should also be kept safe. The housing of chickens is called a chicken coop. In building their housing, you need to consider the following:
- The coop must be well ventilated and weather resistant to keep your flock ready for different seasons.
- The coop must be secured as much as possible to keep your chickens safe from predators. Sometimes it could be some animals lurking around to feed on your flock or it can be some people around who want to steal or kill them.
- The coop should have enough space and enough perch or roost for the whole flock. Chickens often get along with other chickens except when it is crowded that might end them up hurting each other.
- The coop should at least have a 1:2 ratio of nesting boxes to hens respectively.
- There should be a pen area for the chickens for them to be able to roam around and outside of their shelter.
Taking care of your chicks
If you choose chicks to start your flock or when eggs started to hatch produced by your fowls, you will need to take care of them properly to make sure they will also grow up healthy. There are several things that you should consider preparing when you are going to take care of your chicks. If there are roost or perches within the coop for the hens, there will be the brooder for the chicks.
The brooder can be a box made of wood or cardboard that can isolate the chicks from going away from the litter. This will serve as the bedding also for the chicks so be sure to put hay or thinly shaved woods to keep them feel warmth because chicks do not have feathers until they turn 2 months that is why they are not able to regulate their own body temperature.
It also needs to have enough space for the chicks, feeding dishes and drinking dishes. Be sure that you only give the right amount of food for them every time and keep the water you are giving them at Goldilocks temperature. You can add some vitamins on the food of the chicks, you can buy vitamins at a cheap price only so why not grab some for your flock’s sake.
Do not ever let the litter get too messy or wet, always keep in mind that when there is a cold spot within the box there is a high chance of bacteria build up that can harm the chicks. Always keep their area clean. Lastly is that you must always check for their safety, especially when you are going to let them have a short walk occasionally. Check the area for possible predators and get rid of it immediately.
Raising your flock
Once the chicks have grown up into chickens, taking care of them continues. Like when they are chicks, the most important thing for grown-up chickens are the food and water you are giving them.
Make sure to give each chicken at least one of water every day especially for hen because it affects their egg production. Similar to the food you are giving them. Remember that a chicken that ate enough is a happy chicken, and a happy hen can produce a dozen eggs.
Your chicken will also be needed to be treated like your children who need to go to school daily. At the morning you will be mustering them outside their shelter and check for any problems.
Once they are all out, you can clean the coop and refill their food and water. Before dark, it will now be your job that everyone returned to their coop safely.
Congratulations! Now you are ready to raise your own chickens. You don’t need to undergo specialized training to accomplish such a feat if you are committed. It does not matter if you are a beginner, you can overcome the nerves that are wrecking you once you feel the fulfillment. What we need is like what they need to. Don’t treat them like pets, treat them like family.