Whether you want to learn how to raise chickens for eggs or simply looking for a raising chickens 101 guide, you’ve come to the right place! We know how hard it can be to get something started - especially when it’s something you’ve never done before! So this is a simple beginner’s guide to help you out on raising chickens at home.
The simple hearth of the small farm is the true center of our universe. - Masanobu Fukuoka
First of all, you need to build a chicken coop. It should be big enough so you can stand there to collect eggs and shovel manure. In addition, it must contain feed and water containers as well as nest boxes. Keep in mind that chickens are social, so you should never raise them alone - plan to keep a minimum of four birds!
Just one more thing:
Make sure to prepare a safe space for the chickens by adding chicken-wire fencing around the space you’re raising them. This will keep the chickens in and predators out!
Raising Baby Chicks
For baby chicks, they need to be at a temperature of 92º F and 2 inches above the floor. Once they’re feathered out, the temperature can be decreased 5 degrees per week up until they’re six weeks old. You’ll also start by feeding them chick starter, changing it to grower mash after the six weeks - always giving them clean water every day!
Important: Always use red bulbs, which reduce pecking behavior and help keep the chicks from hurting each other.
Cleaning the Coop
Regularly cleaning the coop is essential to keeping your chickens healthy and avoid the smell of manure from spreading around. Schedule a time to clear the coop and use soap, bleach, and water to clean all the surfaces inside. Don’t forget to clean the feeders and water containers too and remember to always wear a mask when doing so!
To handle chicken manure, you need to prepare the bedding properly.
The best option is:
A pine shaving bedding! Just make sure to stir frequently so the manure isn’t left on the top and add more shaving every week so there’s enough absorbent material there.
The most important thing here is to always keep a clean nest box and make sure to cushion it (and prevent egg damage). The number of nest boxes will depend on how many chickens you have (and the size of each box).
You need to check for eggs early in the morning and check a couple more times throughout the day to avoid eggs being soiled by the chickens! Once you gather the eggs, refrigerate immediately.
And remember:If you want to hatch baby chicks, the eggs need to be fertile. In order for that to happen, you’ll need to have a rooster around to mate with the hens!
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