January 17, 2010
January 17, 2010
December 12, 2014
1. IS IT LEGAL
It is very important when you start out raising chickens for eggs to make sure that you are allowed to keep chickens in your backyard. You will need to check with your local authorities to make sure that you are able to keep chickens and see what restrictions they may have. i.e. some councils will not allow you to have roosters but will allow hens.
The reason why this is important is because you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up your chickens only to find that you are breaking the laws in your area. If you don’t check with your local authority then you may run the risk of prosecution.
Roosters are not allowed in some cities.
2. CHICKS OR CHICKENS
Another important consideration when raising chickens for eggs is whether you raise your chickens from eggs i.e hatch them yourself or whether you buy them as baby chicks and raise them. You can also buy chickens that are ready to lay. For those who are new to raising chickens I would recommend buying chickens that are ready to lay.
One, you don’t have to wait long for your chickens to start laying and two, the older chickens are not as vulnerable as the young chicks and are much more likely to survive. It’s critical that you buy from a reputable supplier because the health of the laying hens is important for their egg production and also makes it easier for you to care for them.
3. CHICKEN COOPS
You don’t have to have an expensive chicken coop for your chickens. There are many ready made chicken coops for sale out there but it is really not too hard to build your own. If one of your motivations for raising chickens for eggs is saving money then buying an expensive chicken coop will defeat that purpose.
There are many books available on building your own chicken coop with easy to follow plans using cheap easily available materials. All you need to do is decide how many chickens you want, (I would recommend 2 to 4 chickens for a city backyard.) and make sure that you find a chicken coop design that will suit that amount of chickens. The less space you have available means the less chickens you should have.
4. HOW MANY CHICKENS
Instead of complicating raising chickens for eggs by having a huge flock, concentrate your efforts on a small number of chickens. Most chickens in full production will lay an egg each day. If you have too many chickens you may find it difficult to use all the eggs that they will produce.
I have found that having 2 to 4 chickens will give you plenty of eggs for your family and friends and you will not be overwhelmed with eggs that you cannot use. Concentrate your efforts by only having a few hens and you will find that raising chickens for eggs is not as hard as you may think.
5. FEEDING CHICKENS
Chickens need to have a place to roost at night which is protected by the weather and they need to be fed and their water checked every day. They also need a nesting box to lay their eggs in which you put in your chicken coop. If you have children, you will find that they love collecting eggs as it is a lot of fun and you can also get them to help with feeding and checking the water as well.
Chickens need a variety of foods to produce great tasting eggs and the best way to achieve this is to feed them all your kitchen food scraps. Chickens will eat just about anything and what they are doing is transforming your food scraps into fantastic garden fertilizer. Chickens will also benefit from eating layer pellets or grain to maintain their egg production and will quickly turn any weeds and garden waste you have into fertilizer as well.
February 17, 2014
Chicken Coop Guides is a downloadable guide to building your own Chicken Coop.
John White the author of this guide is a professional architect by trade. He explains the process without using overly technical terms and phrases so that the average individual can easily follow his instructions.
He offers easy to follow Chicken Coop Plans, Complete Chicken Raising Guides and Weekly Chicken Raising tips to all his members.
There are 19 plans on offer and you get a complete material list that you can print out and take to the hardware store. They can prepare the materials exactly for you which makes it so much easier to put together.
The plans are computer drawn with step by step instructions, cross sectional diagrams and full color illustrations.
This Coop was made by one of their customers. This is one of the larger coops but there are other simpler plans for smaller flocks if you only want two or three chickens.
If you purchase these plans you are entitled to several bonuses. You have access to forums with over a thousand active users where you can discuss your experiences with other like minded people. You also get access to instructional videos that show the process of building a Chicken Coop. Plus you receive regular tips about looking after your chickens.
The information in this guide is presented logically and in a format that makes building your coop easy. Instead of struggling with measurements, materials lists etc. it is much easier to build a coop if a professional architect has already developed the plans for you and given you a step by step guide on how to go about the process.
To find out more about Chicken Coop Guides by John White
January 22, 2014
If you are not a handy person and don’t want to build your own chicken coop, you may want to buy a pre-made chicken coop. When you add up the cost of materials and your time it often works out cheaper than designing and building your own.
Most of the pre-made chicken coops available have everything that your chickens will need such as roosts and nesting boxes. They often have handy design features that you may not have thought of such as storage areas. These Coops below are a good cross section of what is currently available and offer good value.
Pawhut Deluxe Backyard Chicken Coop / Hen House w/ Outdoor Run
This coop is a high quality larger size chicken coop which is made of fully treated and grooved wood that is coated with water based preservative. Coming with a two section nesting box for egg laying.
This coop can be wide opened to be a “fresh air school”, and closed to make a controlled-environment coop. This coop is well designed with one Living House, a two section Nesting Box and a Backyard Run.
This Coop is perfect for 2 to 4 Chickens and has received very good reviews from those who have already purchased it. It is sturdy and the price is very reasonable.
Wood Chicken Coop Hen House with Run
This chicken coop gives your chickens the ability to move seamlessly from a comfortable enclosure to an outdoor protected space. The indoor facility includes multiple roosting poles and a large nesting box that is able to hold multiple chickens.
A small entrance with a travel ramp allows your chickens to run in and out easily, without being wide enough to let the elements in when the weather is bad. This attaches to a wide open fenced enclosure that allows them plenty of room to move around.
The roof is split into multiple segments so the roof may be peaked, closed or completely opened up. This is a perfect unit for someone who has a few chickens, but still needs to minimize the space that the coop will be using. This Coop is suitable for 4 to 6 Chickens.
Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop
The Cape Cod can comfortably house up to four chickens.
The two front doors provide easy access to the shelter’s interior whether you need to reach your hens or simply perform routine maintenance.
The nesting box with roosting bar is ideal if you are using the Cape Cod as a large outdoor chicken coop. A removable pan under the retreat makes cleaning easy.
This shelter is made with high quality fir wood. An internal ramp provides hens with easy access between the raised retreat and the spacious run Zinc-coated wire mesh encloses the run but provides ample ventilation. That way, your pets will always be protected from predators and the elements.
The Precision Pet Cape Cod Chicken Coop is designed for easy maintenance and assembly.
December 22, 2013
I have been looking around for the best pre made chicken coop I can find for a reasonable price and I have found that a lot of them are flimsy and not of good quality. However I just came across this plastic Chicken Coop available from Amazon which has received rave reviews. It is perfect for someone who wants to start raising chickens now. Apparently it only takes 30 minutes to an hour to slot together and it is water proof and easy to clean.
Formex Snap Lock Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantam
Specifications and Features
- No tools required
- Impact resistant
- Ultraviolet resistant
- Water resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Maintenance free
- Removable litter tray
- Larger Adjustable ventilation
- Easy access for egg collection
- Insulating, double-wall construction
- Predator resistant, lockable access
- Self contained and light weight
- Four nesting spots with removable dividers
- Three 36″ roosts
- Room for twelve standard breed hens.
- I have never seen a pre-made chicken coop receive so many positive reviews from so many people. I am not usually into plastic but it does make sense when you think about it. If this is a Chicken Coop you may be interested in take a look by clicking the link below:
September 9, 2013
Question: What is the safest way to clean manure and dirt off of the shell of fresh eggs? I am just using warm water and a clean rag.
Answer: You can wash your eggs in water only if you plan to use them right away. By putting the eggs in water, you wash away the bloom from the egg, a protective layering that prevents bacteria from entering the egg. Therefore, if you want to store your eggs for use later, you should not put them in water. If you must wash the eggs, use HOT running water. A good idea is to get a soft brush and brush the dirt and manure from the shell.
September 1, 2013
The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, moulting, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress.
Moulting is a natural process that allows the hen to replace old worn feathers and at the same time rejuvenates her oviduct the organ that “makes” eggs. This allows the hen to increase its rate of egg production and produce higher quality eggs when it returns to lay. With the moult the hen puts all of her energy into feather growth leaving little for egg production. Every year I have first time chicken owners contacting me and asking why the hens that have been laying all year have suddenly stopped.
2. Decreasing Day Length
Natural moulting is a seasonal process related to changes in day length. Once the daylight hours begin to decline this will trigger moulting and consequently your hens will stop laying eggs for a few weeks. This usually occurs in the fall after chicks have fledged.
Often your whole flock will stop laying at the same time. Commercial growers use artificial lighting to prevent their hens moulting all at once and consequently they may often moult at any time.
There are many causes of stress, from predators hanging around or even a loud noise which can cause the hens to stop laying. You may have moved them into a new environment which is definitely stressful for them. Not only do they have to get used to their new home they also have to establish a new pecking order.
Do everything you can to make their life comfortable and they should reward you and start laying eggs.
4. Broody Hens
Some hens of certain breeds are prone to becoming broody. This means that they will try to incubate their eggs to make them hatch. When this happens they stop laying eggs. They are more likely to become broody if they are allowed to accumulate eggs in a nest. The hens will sit on the eggs and get very annoyed when you try to take the eggs from the nest.
To avoid this situation it is best to collect the eggs at least once a day which will prevent the hen from building up a clutch of eggs. This is also important to preserve the freshness and quality of eggs for human consumption.
Diseases will stop your hen laying even if the symptoms they have are not obvious. Keep an eye on the hen and if any disease symptoms appear you will need to treat the disease before your hen begins laying again.
Hens need a balanced and adequate diet to maintain egg production. Many backyard flock owners don’t realize how much calcium a hen needs to produce eggs. To maintain egg production you need to feed your flock a prepared layer ration or at least provide some source of calcium. e.g ground limestone or oyster shell that birds can eat when they need to. You should be able to source layer ration or oyster shell at your local feed store.
Hens can live for many years. As with other species an aging hen will eventually lose its ability to be reproductive and will stop producing eggs. Protect your hens from the elements and predators. Make sure that their hen house is clean and well maintained and make sure that they have a constant supply of nutritious food and water. This will result in high egg production and many quality eggs for your family to enjoy.
August 7, 2013
Do you need a Rooster for your hens to lay eggs?
No you do not need a Rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Hens will lay eggs without a rooster but if you want your eggs to be fertilised so that they can produce chicks then you will need a rooster.
If you are planning on having a small backyard flock then it is best not to have a rooster as they can be noisy (crowing at daybreak) and some of them can get quite aggressive. For those of you that want to breed chicks from your hens then a rooster is necessary.
May 19, 2013
Chickens have different nutritional needs at different stages of their lives. There are a few basic types of chicken feed. Mash which is grain based and ground into powder, pellets which are compressed mash made into pellets so that there is less waste, and crumbles which are pellets broken into pieces. There is also a whole grain feed called scratch which is a bit like a treat for the birds. If they have too much of this though they can get quite fat. Many people mix their own feed for their chickens but you do need to have a fair bit of knowledge to get this right. I would recommend that people just starting out with raising chickens should buy their chicken feed premixed.
Starter Feed for Chicks
From the time your chicks hatch until 6 weeks of age you will need to feed them chick starter mash with a protein level of 20 percent. It is important that you feed your baby chicks different food to your laying hens as the extra calcium that the older birds need for laying eggs is actually detrimental to baby chicks.
So you will need to separate your chicks from the laying hens until they get old enough. Commercial suppliers provide starter feeds especially made for young chicks. These feeds will provide the chicks with all the minerals and vitamins that they require.
A lot of people use a medicated feed for the first few weeks of a chicken’s life. This is to prevent Coccidiosis which is a parasite that chicks are particularly vulnerable to up until 18 weeks of age.
A chick that is from an egg laying breed will eat about 2 pounds of starter feed in its first 6 weeks.
March 25, 2013
February 11, 2013
The design of your Chicken Coop is very important. There are so many styles and designs of chicken coops, it can all get very confusing. Do you buy one, and if you do what is a good design? If you make your own, how do you know you have everything you need to keep your chickens healthy. A good way to start is to make sure your chicken coop fits the basic principles outlined below. Whether it is the most luxurious or the most basic chicken coop you won’t go wrong if you follow these tips.
A chicken coop can be very simple as this mobile coop above.
If you don’t have much space then you need to restrict your flock to two or three chickens. Chickens need between one and two square foot each in their chicken coop and between two to four feet each in their chicken run.
Bantams need less space and the larger breeds need more, so the size of your hens does matter. If you don’t take this into consideration you risk your chickens getting diseases and fighting each other. If you can let your chickens roam during the day in a large enclosed area then all the better. Just make sure that they are locked up in their coop at night.
This is so important as chickens are extremely vulnerable to all types of predators. From dogs and cats to wild and feral animals that may live in your area, they will all love to get a hold of your chickens. Foxes especially love chickens and because they can climb fences, the coop must be completely enclosed and be secure along the bottom, so that predators cannot dig their way in.
Here is an example of a very secure chicken coop and run, totally enclosed with bird aviary wire.
3. Protection from heat and cold
If you live in a cold climate having insulation or a light may be required in your coop to keep your chickens warm. Recent studies have proven that chickens will lay much more consistently if they are kept warm than those who are not This may sound a bit too expensive for some people so a cheaper way to get around this is to buy a heap of straw bales amd when winter comes place these around the outside of your coop. This will prevent drafts and also insulate your coop really well. If you live in a hot climate your coop will benefit from being either shaded by a tree or by a building.
Fresh air is vital so along the top of your coop have a thin strip of bird wire that allows the coop to receive fresh air but not cause a direct draught onto your chickens. Do not have your vents down the bottom of your coop as they will create a draught directly onto your chickens. Toxic fumes can build up inside an unventilated chicken coop from the chicken manure so this is very important and is something that can often be overlooked.
This Chicken Coop has excellent ventilation at the top of the coop with bird wire making it secure.
If you are only going to have a few chickens and you have decided on a mobile chicken coop then the floor can be just the ground the coop is placed on. As you will be moving the coop around the chickens will be quite happy with the new grass they get every time they are moved. A dirt floor covered in straw or hay is also acceptable in a fixed coop but it has the disadvantage of allowing rats and mice in and can be difficult to keep clean. A concrete floor is the best and will keep out rodents and is easy to clean. Straw or hay is still a good idea to put on the floor as it soaks up the manure and apart from providing warmth the combination of straw and manure produces fantastic compost.
This fantastic chicken coop has a concrete floor, bricks around the bottom so no predators can dig their way in, great looking nesting boxes and a roost.
6. Nesting Boxes
Nesting Boxes for your Chicken Coop need to be at least a foot long by a foot deep. Wooden boxes are the best but they could also be made out of plastic if necessary. Place them at least a foot off the ground and if necessary have a wooden ramp so the chickens can get into them. To make it easy to collect the eggs you may want to make a box with a hinged lid that you can open from the outside of the coop. This means that you don’t have to go inside the coop to collect the eggs. This can save you a lot of time and means that your children can collect the eggs without letting the chickens out. Put some straw, hay, woodshavings or even shredded paper in the boxes so that the chickens are comfortable and the eggs don’t crack.
These nesting boxes have a hinged lid on the outside of the coop so that you can collect the eggs without going into the chicken coop.
Chickens roost at night so you need to provide them with a roost to sleep on. Roosts are best made of wood and can be made from small tree branches, wooden poles, dowel, or even an old wooden ladder. Just make sure that the chickens are able to hang on with their feet and that they can sit there comfortably. Metal roosts are not suitable as they can get freezing cold in winter and very hot in summer.
Automatic feeders are very handy, or you may choose to scatter the hens food daily in their run when you collect their eggs. This has its advantages as there is little waste. If you are going to buy an automatic feeder you may want to place it in the chicken coop to minimise rodents who will love to share your chickens food and also the local bird population who won’t be able to resist a free feed. For this reason I also like to use bird avairy wire rather than chicken wire as the aviary wire has much smaller holes and other birds won’t be able to get into your chicken coop. It is also good to hang your feeder from the ceiling about six inches from the ground. This also will reduce waste, discourage rodents and stop the chickens from scattering the food far and wide.
If you need a chicken feeder click on the link below.
The Automatic Feeder hangs from the ceiling.
Fresh water is vital for keeping your chickens healthy. They need their water checked daily especially in hot weather. You will need a bowl that is deep enough for the water not to heat up too quickly but shallow enough so that the chickens are able to reach it easily. It also has to be in something large enough so that they can’t tip it over. Having an automatic waterer is a good idea but you still need to regularly check that it is working properly and that your water source is reliable. Another hint if you are raising baby chicks. Their water bowl needs to be very shallow as they can drown if their bowl is too deep.
This automatic waterer has two nipples that release water when the chicken presses on it.
Your Chicken Coop should have a place for the birds to roost, good drainage, nesting boxes, a feeder, a waterer and enough space for the number of birds you are raising. You can have a permanent chicken coop. a mobile chicken coop, a premade chicken coop, a homemade chicken coop and they come in all shapes and sizes.
September 11, 2012
Chicken Coop Plan Reviews