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Keeping Chickens In Your Backyard
If you like the thought of waking up to a breakfast of freshly laid, free-range eggs at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience of traveling to the nearest store to buy some, then building a backyard chicken coop and hosting your own egg laying team could be just the thing for you. Join the increasing number of families across the country who are doing just that.
Consider this: everything a chicken eats goes into producing an egg, right? When you purchase a carton of eggs from the supermarket, do know what went into the making of those eggs? If your chickens are fed nothing but good quality chicken food and your own table scraps, you will have tasty, nutritious eggs for your plate. Also, by letting your chickens run free during the day, (in some urban areas this may not be appropriate) you will find they will mostly be able to feed themselves.
Another bonus of a backyard chicken coop is if you are a gardener. Think about it! There will be a weekly allotment of fresh, free manure for your garden.
How many chickens you need will depend largely on you and the space you have available. If you only want a handful of chickens for a relatively small area and just a few eggs per day, you will require only a small coop. If you would like a bigger supply of eggs, or want to raise more chickens yourself, then a larger coop with an attached run will be needed. Do check regulations in your area. There may be a limit to the number of chickens you can keep. Be aware - roosters do like to wake up early!
Make sure you have the right chicken coop plans for your needs. When choosing a design for your chicken coop, make sure it is the right size for the amount of chickens you will end up with. Be careful of overcrowding as more dominant chickens can be merciless if there is not enough room.
Keeping chickens can be addictive, and you might find with a rooster in your flock you may want to increase numbers sooner than you think!
You will need plenty of ventilation for warmer climates, but be draft free for colder areas. A window on the sunny side will give chickens more light, creating good laying conditions, and comfortable nesting boxes will make sure the eggs are laid in the right place. In some areas your chickens may be at risk from predators such as foxes, coyotes and even cats and raccoons, so making sure the coop is secure from these creatures is a must.
Chickens are creatures of habit, and simple habits at that. They will always rise and go to bed at the same time everyday. This can help if you have a large backyard or you live in a rural area and you would like your chickens to roam free of the coop during the day. At the same time everyday, in the late afternoon or early evening, your chickens will come home to roost, putting themselves to bed so you don't have to. If you always give them food at around this time, this will help keep them to this habit.
Allowing your chickens to be free during the day will also help to stop them from being bored, and pecking each other.
Bored chickens can be nasty!
Your New Friends!
Once you have had your chickens for a while, you will notice the different characters coming out in them. If they are all of the same variety and color, you will notice before too long you will be able to start telling them apart. They will start to respond to you, and will associate you with their feeding time and come to you when you call.
They make interesting additions to anyone's life, and are excellent for helping children to become responsible pet owners.
So with a good solid coop, a fine collection of laying hens and a little care each day, you will have the freshest, tastiest eggs in town!