An option in between cooped and free range is penned ranging—where the chickens roam in a large run or pen throughout the day, and then are shut into a coop during the day. Either way, you want good stuff. Trust me, you can tell the difference between eggs from a chicken who is fed good quality feed and one who is not. We choose to feed our chickens organically, and we really like the Purina line of organic poultry feeds. We love it because they are readily available at even our small town feed stores.
To Begin At The Beginning!
Trust me, when those chickens run out of feed, they are not happy campers. Chickens get hangry, too! Right around the week mark is a good time to do it—basically, when they have lost all of their fluff and have a full set of feathers to help keep them warm. And then, you wait! Keep the chickens fed, watered, and their coop clean, and within a few months, you should find your first egg. On average, chickens start laying at about six months old—but this can vary widely based on breed, season, and other factors.
If your chickens are free ranging or ranging in a pen, they might not know to lay their eggs in a nesting box, so if your hens show other signs of laying most visually—if their comb is bright, bright red , keep an eye out! We actually found our very first egg under a bush behind our house.
You can fix the nesting box problem by locking the chickens up in the coop for about week, and placing dummy eggs in the nesting boxes. Chickens like to do what other chickens do, so if they see another hen has laid there, they are more apt to, as well. Even since we did that, the girls have consistently laid in their nesting boxes. Keep their coop stocked with clean water and fresh food. Clean the coop every now and again.
Collect your eggs. And just keep an eye on your flock to make sure there are no diseases or injuries. You also might want to call around in your area and see if you can find a local vet that sees chickens ours does and set up a chicken first aid kit. Chickens will lay extremely well for the first two years of their life, then their egg production will dwindle as they age. Some chickenkeepers give older hens away and some butcher older hens for eating. And there you have it! Like I said, there is a lot more information, but I hope this basic primer helped you get excited about chickenkeeping.
You can do this! I promise! My friends at Purina believe in you, too, and want to give you a free bag of their organic poultry feed to help you get started with your chickenkeeping journey! Just enter using the widget below. Click here to nab your coupon.
This post has been sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, as such I received free product from Purina to share my opinion with my readers. However, my opinions are based on my individual and unique experience. Based on my experience in I believe this line of feed has been amazing for my flock and I encourage you to try it too!
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Raising Chickens: How to Get Started with Backyard Chickens
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In this perfect dream it is always summer — the days are long and lush and last forever. Just thinking of it now makes me let out a wistful sigh. I blame John Steinbeck for my delusions. Most of us have read about the two ranch hands, George Milton and Lennie Small, in secondary school.
How to Start Raising Backyard Chickens in 7 Simple Steps | Wholefully
Long before John Seymour baited the general public with the Shangri-La of self-sufficiency, George and Lennie were wandering around the fields of California looking for a place to call their own. Before anyone jumps to the obvious joke, yes I am probably more like Lennie then George. However, I am smart enough at least to know this: gardening is not farming. The quest for a visually appealing space has little to do with the need to produce food.
The utilitarian needs of farmers are a long way away from the aesthetic desires of gardeners.
This spring however, my inner Lennie got the better of me. I bought chickens. Still, I felt apprehensive when we drove to a local farm and arrived back home with our three new hens. The first night I introduced the hens to their new home, I was nervous. That first night I tiptoed, slippers wet from the lawn, several times back and forth to the henhouse to make sure the girls were okay.
The next morning, when all three chickens emerged from their house alive, I was relieved. To top it all off, later that morning we had our first egg. My daughter was ecstatic. We took a picture yes, of an egg. I felt as if my dream of owning a farm was just that little bit closer. You Will Need a Coop. Your chickens will need a safe place to sleep in and lay their eggs. You can buy or build a coop , or repurpose a garden shed or playhouse. Rule of thumb: Allow for square feet of floor space in the coop for each chicken.
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