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Raising Backyard Chicken

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 218

The primary reason for raising backyard chickens is usually to obtain a steady supply of fresh eggs. Raising chickens also provides additional benefits such as pest control and an educational opportunity for children. It may also save you money in the long run after you recoup the cost of the initial expenses including the chickens themselves, an enclosed backyard and the coops. Chickens are generally consistent egg layers as long as they receive adequate food, water and shelter.


A chicken coop consists of two primary components including the roosting area and the nesting boxes. The roosting area is where the chickens will spend the night when they are not laying eggs in the nesting box. The coop must provide the chickens with adequate protection from heat, cold, wind and predators. The litter should be materials that are high in carbon such as straw, leaves and wood shavings.

Roosting Area

The roosting area should have roosting bars as high up in the coop as you can place them. These bars will simulate tree limbs, which is where chickens normally roost in the wild. The coop should be in an enclosed backyard to protect chickens from predators. This is especially important at night, when chickens tend to be more docile.

Nesting Boxes

A nesting box is an enclosure that accommodates one chicken. Its purpose is to simulate the nest that a chicken would normally have in the wild. A nesting box should be a square enclosure 1 foot on a side and 1 1/2 feet deep. The nesting box should contain at least six inches of straw. Do not place the nesting boxes directly under the roosting area as chickens tend to defecate at night. You will typically need one nesting box for every four to five chickens to reflect the percentage of chickens nesting at any given time. You also need to clean the nesting boxes each day to ensure the eggs remain clean.

Food and Water

Chickens are not fussy eaters but they will be more productive with commercial chicken feed. This type of feed contains approximately 17 percent protein with essential amino acids and additional calcium for egg production. You can also add calcium to the chickens' diet with ground oyster shells or egg shells. You should also provide chickens with high-energy foods corn and soybeans during the winter. It is essential to have small rocky materials such as pea gravel in the chicken run. A chicken will swallow the gravel and store it in its gizzard, allowing it to grind up hard food before it reaches its stomach. The chickens' water supply must consist of liquid water with a temperature below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Learn more about how to build a chicken pen [] and getting started with a cheap chicken coop [].

Source: EzineArticles
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