The pandemic was a wake-up call for people all over the world.
Folks who never thought about food storage or stocking up on supplies now hoard toilet paper.
The pandemic has also increased interest in raising chickens as a source of eggs or meat.
According to Nancy S., owner of Cackle Hatchery, “We are swamped with orders. We can’t answer all the phone calls, and we are booked out several weeks on most breeds.”
Owning animals can provide your family a sustainable food source.
Even if you don’t ever plan on eating the chickens, they can be a great source for fresh eggs.
One of the best things about chickens is that people in any living situation can raise them.
They can live on farms or with people who only have patio space.
Here are few things to remember if you are contemplating raising chickens for eggs or meat.
You can get meat from any chicken. Yet, some breeds are better for laying eggs, while some are better as a food source.
If you are looking for chickens for meat, check out breeds such as Jersey Giants or Cornish Cross.
These birds grow quickly, and weigh up to 12 lbs once grown.
But, if you want hens that are better at producing eggs, look into breeds such as Sussex or Golden Comets. Both of these birds can lay 250-300 eggs a year.
Chickens are easy prey for other animals. They will attract anything from neighborhood dogs to raccoons.
They should always be kept in a coop, especially at night.
The coop should be made of wire that is strong enough to keep predators out.
Don’t forget that chickens like to dig. The floor of the coop should be made of wire that is underneath the metal or wood floor.
Hens need a nesting box to lay their eggs in. The box should include dry straw that is regularly changed out.
If you don’t provide a nesting box, they will lay eggs elsewhere.
This means they could be anywhere in the coop including places out of reach or hidden from you.
They also love to take “dirt baths.” Inside your coop include a bin full of dirt that is big enough for at least one hen to climb into. These baths can help reduce mites from attaching to the hens.
The flock of chickens should have regular access to a feeder and water. Keep these cleaned because they can grow bacteria.
Depending on how many birds you have it’s a good idea to keep multiple feeders and watering stations.
Also, even if the birds free range during the day, they need something to do at night in the coop.
You can buy items from the agriculture store that will help keep the birds from getting bored.
A bored chicken will peck at itself, other birds, and even try to destroy its coop. But, things like hanging corn on the cob in the coop can help keep the birds from becoming destructive.
Chickens that eat grit digest their food much easier. They also tend to produce eggs with harder shells.
Grit can also help baby chicks that aren’t gaining weight fast enough.
You can buy poultry grit that has added probiotics, which also helps the health of the bird.
There are many different types of grit and you can get specific ones for meat birds vs. birds you want to lay eggs. The health benefit is worth the time and cost of giving them grit.
The number of eggs a hen will lay each day depends on the sun. Hens should get at least ten hours of sunlight each day.
Before buying chickens check with your local government.
If you don’t live in an agricultural area your city or town may require you to get a permit.
Chickens are the perfect survival livestock.
They are cheap to buy and care for. Plus, they take up little room.
They can produce plenty of eggs and if things get bad enough, they can feed your family.