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Feathered Friends: the Ultimate Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens

By Tom Seest

Are You Ready to Raise Backyard Chickens?

At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.

Backyard chickens are a fun and rewarding hobby for beginners and are easy to take care of. Learn about the different breeds, how to care for them, and how to protect them from predators. These tips will help you get started with backyard chickens and enjoy the benefits of raising a flock of healthy, happy chickens.

Are You Ready to Raise Backyard Chickens?

Are You Ready to Raise Backyard Chickens?

Which Backyard Chicken Breed is Right for You?

Backyard chickens come in a variety of breeds, each with its own personalities, characteristics, and needs. Choose a breed that suits your climate. Some types are good for colder climates, while others are better suited to hotter climates. You can learn more about the breeds at your local feed store or visit hatchery websites.
A low-maintenance, high-producing breed is best for beginners. Choose one with a friendly temperament and good laying ability. The Australorp is popular among beginners because it lays the most eggs in one year. It also has a great personality and is very hardy.
Beginners may want to consider the New Hampshire breed, which was developed to thrive in cold climates. They produce eggs that are about half the size of a large chicken egg. Although they are not great-layer chickens, they do produce 3 to 4 medium-sized eggs per week. New Hampshire chickens also do well in warm climates, although they can be pushy. You can keep up to six hens with this breed, depending on the size of your flock.
An Australorp is a medium-sized chicken from Australia. They have gained international popularity thanks to their egg-laying ability. The breeds’ hens have set the record for the most eggs laid in a year, and a healthy Australorp will lay at least 300 eggs per year. While the Australorp may seem intimidating at first, once you bond with one, the Australorp chickens are extremely friendly and loyal to humans.
While it is hard to choose the best backyard chicken breed for beginners, there are a few breeds that are better for beginners than others. These breeds are named for the cities where they were first bred and are low-maintenance. In addition, they are low-maintenance and have excellent heat tolerance.

Which Backyard Chicken Breed is Right for You?

Which Backyard Chicken Breed is Right for You?

Where Should Your Hens Lay Their Eggs?

One of the first things you’ll need to get started raising backyard chickens is nesting boxes. These boxes help keep hens in one place and make it easier for you to collect eggs. Usually, backyard chickens lay their eggs every 24 hours or so. Hens reach their peak egg-laying capacity at between six and 24 months old, but they’ll continue to lay eggs even when they’re older.
You can also buy inexpensive nesting boxes at the dollar store. The best type of box to buy is one that is low enough for children to reach. It should also be easy to clean. A clean box will keep the eggs in good condition and keep rodents and flies out. The height of the nest box should be at least 18 inches off the ground. Some people choose to use a plastic salad bowl from the dollar store as their nesting box.
Once the hens are old enough, you can train them to use their nest boxes. Training them can take several weeks, so start training them as early as possible. A good time to start training is when they are 16 to 20 weeks old. This is a critical time as they may be restless, distracted, or wandering around looking for a good place to lay their eggs. During this time, it may be helpful to place fake eggs in their nest boxes to help them find the right place.
Nesting boxes can be made of plastic, metal, or other materials. Make sure to add a lip to prevent the eggs from rolling out. You can also place a piece of burlap over the entrance to keep the chickens quiet and dark.

Where Should Your Hens Lay Their Eggs?

Where Should Your Hens Lay Their Eggs?

Are You Giving Your Backyard Chickens the Right Diet?

Providing clean water for your backyard chickens is not a difficult task. Water should be available throughout the day and can be placed in a plastic bowl or drinker. In colder climates, water may freeze over during the evenings, so you should remember to break up any ice that forms in the bowl. It is also helpful to clean the water bowl regularly in the morning. You can also give your chickens table scraps.
When feeding your chickens, try to give them a small amount every day. They are fond of small amounts of food and can easily consume it. Chickens can also be given vegetables and fruits as treats. Sunflower seeds are a favorite treat for chickens. They are high in vitamin E and magnesium; for an additional visual treat, plant sunflower seeds.
The amount of food you give your chickens will vary according to the breed of chickens you have. Feed your flock several times a day if you can, but don’t forget to clean up leftover scraps. Rats and flies can get into leftover food, so it’s important to clean up the area. A hen needs approximately four pounds of feed every day to produce 12 eggs.
Your backyard chickens should also be supplied with fresh water. The amount required will depend on their age, weight, activity level, and outdoor temperature. If you don’t want to constantly walk around with water bottles, you can invest in an automatic watering basin connected to your garden hose. Adding apple cider vinegar can improve the water quality of your chickens.
You can also purchase a commercial premix, which will protect your chickens from mineral and vitamin deficiencies. The Fertrell Nutri-Balancer is a good example of a standard poultry feed formulation. Organic poultry feed is available, too.

Are You Giving Your Backyard Chickens the Right Diet?

Are You Giving Your Backyard Chickens the Right Diet?

Are Your Backyard Chickens Safe from Predators?

You may not be aware of this, but there are several different kinds of predators that chickens can fall prey to. Some are aerial and can easily climb over a chicken run. Others are ground-based and will likely remain on the ground. The important thing is to protect your flock from these potential threats.
To protect your backyard chickens from these predators, start by securing the area around the chickens. You can use motion sensors, bright lights, or even fencing to help keep them out. If you have a large yard, it may be best to invest in a larger fence. This will serve as an extra line of defense, and it will help deter larger predators.
Chickens are extremely susceptible to predators, so it’s important to take every precaution possible to protect them. In addition to predator-proof fencing, you should also provide a safe shelter and keep your chickens indoors at night. Another option is to use guard animals to protect your flock.
You should keep the area around the poultry house clean and free of debris. This will limit the number of areas that predators can use to rest. Moreover, you can also reduce the number of trees around the poultry run. Changing the environment will reduce the population of predators, but it will cost you some money.
If you choose to use fencing, be sure to include hardware mesh and chicken wire around your chicken run. Although they’re not as effective as chicken netting, they’ll keep out most aerial predators. A good size of hardware mesh is 4 feet long and 3 inches wide. The hardware mesh should also be buried 6 inches deep. This will deter predators from digging through it. If you choose to fence a larger area, consider using chain link fencing.

Are Your Backyard Chickens Safe from Predators?

Are Your Backyard Chickens Safe from Predators?

Are Your Backyard Chickens Laying Enough Eggs?

One of the most obvious benefits of backyard chickens is egg production. While the number of eggs each chicken lays will vary depending on breed, age, and condition, you should aim for a few hundred per hen per year. Egg production is also influenced by the seasons, as chickens are less likely to lay during the warmer or darker months.
To get started with egg production, select a breed that lays a lot of eggs. You can choose from traditional heritage breeds as well as hybrid varieties. If you plan on producing meat, you should also choose breeds that convert protein easily into muscle. Alternatively, you can go for dual-purpose chickens, which produce both meat and eggs.
When choosing a breed, take note of how long it will take for the hens to begin laying eggs. Some breeds, such as Leghorns and Australorps, will take from 16 weeks to 20 weeks. You should also bear in mind that the number of eggs per hen will depend on their age and nutrition.
You can get fertilized eggs from different sources. You can buy them from a neighbor, online, or from a hatchery. If you’re not able to do this, you can always purchase a couple of adult birds. After that, it’s important to get a brooder or incubator set up to hatch the eggs.
Keeping chickens for eggs and meat is a great way to become self-sufficient and connect with your food supply. It can also be a fun pastime for young children and adults alike. Eventually, you can consider a small business with your backyard chickens.

Are Your Backyard Chickens Laying Enough Eggs?

Are Your Backyard Chickens Laying Enough Eggs?

Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.


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