Fresh Eggs Every Day, That Will Do Nicely
Keeping chickens is becoming more and more popular nowadays for people in all kinds of environments; it’s not the preserve of the country folk to have the simple pleasure of freshly laid eggs whenever required any longer.
What Is Needed?
To start with to keep your chickens you will need some form of chicken coop. There are various types on the market, from a simple standard coop and run to the fashionable and modern-looking Eglu by Omlet. Modern and stylish, they are the perfect way to keep your chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Made from recyclable materials, the Eglu is an open plan, spacious coop available in a variety of colours. For the bedding use materials such as straw, wood chips and wood shavings.
Most of us like the idea of allowing our chickens to be free range when we are around but a run may be needed for when we aren’t. Electric fencing is available for those with big plots to keep foxes or other animals out. If you want to consider making your own run 19 or 21 gauge mesh should ideally be used, avoid chicken wire which is not fox-proof.
Breeds Of Chicken
Hybrid chickens offer a good starting point for the beginner. They produce reasonable quantities of eggs year on year, and are cheaper to buy than a pure breed. They are also more resistant to infection and more simple to buy in most cases. Adoption of ex-battery hens is a great idea, they are often surplus to requirements as their productivity declines after the first year – and you can have that warm and fuzzy feeling you’re doing some good by helping to give a chicken a new lease of life.
A Chicken can produce four to six eggs a week, however this does vary on conditions, during winter months for instance this output may reduce. Hens like to lay their eggs in a dark safe nesting area, although in a comfortable safe environment they will lay eggs out in the open.
Food And Drink
A drinker and a feeder is required to keep your chickens nourished. Ideally you want items that can’t get kicked over for obvious reasons. Make sure your chickens always have fresh water. They can be fed on Layers Pellets, which contains everything needed to keep them healthy. They eat almost anything with the exception of meat, so you can supplement their diet with vegetable scraps. Here’s a good tip though, don’t overfeed, as a fat chicken won’t lay as many eggs.
There are a few other things to consider before you finally take the plunge and become a free-range chicken ranger!
- Check with your local authority that you can keep chickens. Most people can, but it’s best to be sure.
- Give due consideration to your neighbours – perhaps speak with them to put their minds at rest with regards to the cleanliness and healthiness.
- Rats and other vermin won’t be an issue if food is not left lying around. It is important to regularly clean out the chicken housing and bedding.
Keeping chickens can be a great source of fun for all the family as well as an ideal way to supplement your diet with the very best healthy free-range eggs you are ever going to buy.