How to Raise Chickens
How to raise chickens from chicks may appear daunting at first, but it's pretty easy and will give you the benefit of raising your favorite breeds.
Learn all about chickens to get the basics and learn about the different breeds of chickens which can be grouped into a few categories.
Understanding these categories will help you to make up your mind on what types of chicken will be best for your homestead or backyard.
Raising chicks can be a fun adventure and you can mail order baby chicks to arrive at your local post office.
All About Chickens
- Baby Chickens are Called Chicks
- A Young Hen is Called a Pullet
- Adult Females are Called Hens
- A Young Rooster is Called Cockerel
- Adult Males are Called Roosters
- Hens typically start to lay eggs at about 5 to 6 months of age
- Hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs or to lay unfertilized eggs
- Hens typically lay less eggs in cold weather
- Bantams are Miniature Chickens (eggs will be about 1/2 the size)
- Roosters are larger than hens
- Roosters are more brightly colored than hens
- Roosters are the ones that make a very loud noise (typically early in the morning)
How to Raise Chickens
- Deadly Mistakes to Avoid
Never add young chickens with the adult chickens - they must be the same size physically.
Put grit out for your chickens to help with digestion.
Worm chickens (up to 3 times a year) with diatomaceous earth.
Your chickens will need their coops to provide both shade and sunshine. And a quiet space for egg laying.
The Different Breeds of Chicken
Egg Layer Breeds - good egg laying breeds are known for their high egg
productivity, but not necessarily for their meat.
These chickens won't make good
birds for eating because they'll lack in size.
White Leghorns, Ameraucanas, and Easter Eggers are great examples of egg laying breeds.
Dual Purpose Breeds - dual purpose breeds are birds that are
good egg layers as well as good meat birds.
Dual purpose chickens are
usually heavier birds.
Barred Rocks, Black Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, and Buff Orpingtons are great dual purpose birds.
Meat Breeds - meat breeds are typically a combination of the many
different breeds of chicken.
These chickens are bred for certain
characteristics such as a heavier body and more breast meat.
Cornish Rocks and Broiler Chickens are good examples of meat breeds.
How to Raise Chickens - Making a Chick Brooder
Raising chicks does require a little knowledge in order to be very successful.
Use an appropriately sized chick brooder for your chicks and put brooder in a sufficiently warm place in your house, basement, etc.
Under a week old chicks generally need their environment to be about 95 degrees F. in their chick brooder.
You will need to provide an appropriately sized heat lamp for your chicks and please be sure to also provide a cooler side for your chicks in the brooder.
Using a red colored heat lamp may provide the best type of light for your chicks and help to prevent them from pecking on each other.
Please do not use teflon coated heat lamps!
Reduce the heat by 5 degrees every week until the
temperature reaches 70 degrees F. and your chicks reach 6 weeks of age or have their feathers.
To make it easier, use a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
If the temperature is warm enough during the day and night, you can move them outside to a safe and secured coop.
How to Raise Chickens - Where to Find Chicks
Lots of people choose to mail order their chicks and they will arrive at their local post office. You can also buy them at farming supply stores.
How to raise chickens naturally? Have one of your broody hens hatch their eggs for you instead.
Just be sure that you are prepared for your chicks before they arrive.
How to Raise Chickens - How to Care for Your Chicks
You will have to protect your chicks from any predators and they
will need some sort of bedding. Preferably from something like pine
shavings to stay comfortable.
And be sure to keep their bedding clean and dry.
Provide an ample source of clean water (in a shallow container to prevent drowning) for your chicks to grow
Be sure to dip their beaks into the water when you first put them into their brooder.
Some people like to put a little apple cider in the drinking water to prevent pasty butt (a condition where their poop sticks to their vent).
Be sure to check for this condition for the first two weeks and remove by first soaking chick's bottom with a little warm water.
Most people will feed their chicks a high quality chick starter for the first
6 weeks. Preferably non-medicated, soy free, and organic chick starter.
After 6 weeks, you can change their feed and start to feed them food scraps, worms, and other treats.
Be sure to check your chicks on a regular basis to make sure that they are comfortable and not too hot or too cold.
If you see the chicks panting or avoiding the heat lamp, they may be too hot. And if they are huddled right under the heat lamp, they may be too cold.
Adjust the distance of the heat lamp or change the wattage of your bulb is how to raise chickens that will be happier.
Also, if you are raising a lot of chicks, you may have to move them to a larger brooder as they grow.
Go to Types of Chickens
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