Raising Backyard Chickens For Eggs
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Raising Backyard Chickens For Eggs

Raising chickens is a bit of work, but with todays ever rising food prices, health and environmental concerns, it is well worth the effort.

Free-range eggs are better for you. They have less saturated fats and cholesterol than factory farm produced eggs. They are also higher in vitamin A, Omega-3, vitamin E and beta-carotene. Unfortunately buying free-range eggs in the grocery store can be quite expensive. Fortunately raising chickens for eggs is fairly easy and inexpensive and can be done in an urban, suburban or rural environment.

The biggest obstacle for raising chickens is city bylaws. Many cities do not allow for the raising of what would be considered farm animals within the city limits. However, for those lucky enough to live where chickens are allowed, raising chickens is a great way to supply your family with fresh healthy eggs and ensure the chickens are being treated humanely.

Many people think chickens are noisy and smelly. However, this is not true. Chickens are generally quieter than your average dog and cause no more smell or ruckus than they cause. Chickens will normally squawk a bit when laying an egg and will cluck softly throughout the day. However, come sunset they are snuggled up in their nest sound asleep until the sunrises the next day.

For the average family just a few chickens will produce more than enough eggs. There is no need to have a huge flock. On an average, a hen will produce one egg every 25 hours. Having 2-4 chickens is usually a good number for the average family. During the cold winter months egg production will decrease, even temporarily stop. This is not due to the cold, but to the decrease in light. To keep production steady you can give them artificial light to compensate for the shorter days. Hens produce best when they receive 14 hours of sunlight a day.

Chickens are easy to feed. To produce the best tasting eggs it is best to feed a variety of food. Chickens can eat kitchen scrap such as vegetable peels, fruits, bugs, worms, snails, cereal, chicken scratch (which is cracked corn and wheat mix), layer pellets and grain and even things like cooked spaghetti. Chickens should not be given foods such as onions as garlic as it can make their eggs taste funny.

Chickens need to be supplied with a warm safe shelter. They need a place to roost that is protected from the weather and local predators and somewhere safe they can get out and scratch for food and peck. A general rule for housing is two square feet of space per hen in the coop and 8-10 square feet per bird outside in the chicken yard. If you live in an area that has cold winters, you will need to insulate the coop and use heat lamps during extremely cold weather. You may also need to heat their water to ensure it does not freeze.

Chickens do take a daily commitment of gathering eggs, feeding, watering and cleaning. Chicken droppings make excellent fertilizer. As chickens can fly, they will need to have their wings clipped so they do not escape. Raising chickens is a bit of work, but with todays ever rising food prices, health and environmental concerns, it is well worth the effort.


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Comments (3)

Not something I would consider, but a nice presentation!

Well, I would not consider before but I am sure considering it now...thank you for writing and sharing this well written article.

People should consider this. Battery hens are so cruelly kept and their eggs are not nearly as healthy, fresh, or as tastey, as those from your own hens.