Raising Chickens for Eggs

Information on Raising Chickens for Eggs

December 22, 2013
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Best Pre Made Chicken Coop

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 Bantams



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:

CLICK HERE

 

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Eggs

September 9, 2013
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What is the best way to clean chicken eggs?

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.

 

Healthy Chickens

September 1, 2013
by admin
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My Chickens Have Stopped Laying Eggs.

The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, moulting, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress.

1. Moulting

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.

 Molting Chickens

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. 

3. Stress

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.

 Healthy Chickens

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. 

5. Disease

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.

  Lovely fresh eggs.

6. Nutrition

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. 

7. Age

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.

Rooster

August 7, 2013
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Do you need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs?

Question:

Do you need a Rooster for your hens to lay eggs?

Answer:

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.

 


Chick Starter Feed

May 19, 2013
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Chick Starter Feed

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.

Naturally Free Organic Starter Chick Feed, 25lbs, Non-GMO Project Verified, Soy Free and Corn Free

 

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Chicken Feeder

March 25, 2013
by admin
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Chicken Feeders

Chicken Feeders

Having an automatic Chicken Feeder that hangs from the ceiling is a really good idea for the grain or layer pellets you will be feeding your chickens to keep them laying. This feed is the most expensive part of looking after your chickens so you don’t want it contaminated with chicken manure. You can buy a relatively cheap hanging feeder or you can buy or make a Treadle/Grandpa Feeder which although more expensive will save you from food wastage. The feeders below are perfect for small back yard flocks. They are at a very competitive price and they guarantee that your chickens will get fed even when you are not there.

Miller 9112 12lb. Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder

This hanging feeder is made of heavy galvanized steel, is strong and will last a long time unlike the plastic versions. It has a 12 lb hanging feeder tube with a 12 feeder pan.It has rolled edges for safety. 

Click Here to see more ….

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Chicken Coop

February 11, 2013
by admin
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Chicken Coops

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.

1. Space.

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.

2. Predators

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.

4. Ventilation.

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.

5. Flooring

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.

7. Roosts

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.

8. Feeders

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.

Chicken Feeders

The Automatic Feeder hangs from the ceiling.

9. Waterer’s.

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.

Click on this link for more Chicken Coop Designs.


Building a Chicken Coop

October 11, 2012
by admin
2 Comments

Coop Plans Review

Chicken Coop Plan Reviews

Chicken Coop Plans make it easier to build your own chicken coop from scratch. By following chicken coop plans you make sure that you are providing everything your chickens need for their new home and you are also creating something that is not an eyesore and will look attractive in your back yard.
There are several Chicken Coop Plans ebooks out there and below I have picked out the two top selling ebooks that offer the best value for money. It is definitely worth the investment in one of these chicken coop plan ebooks as they can save you a lot of money in the long run.
They not only tell you how and where to get the cheapest materials for building your chicken coop,  they also provide a lot of information and tips on how to look after and maintain your flock.
Introducing” Building A Chicken Coop”
 

Easy To Build Plans – Includes color step-by-step plans with scale diagrams and dimensions that anyone can follow Handy expert tips on flooring, roofing, walls, nesting boxes, windows, doors and perches
The focus of this ebook written by Bill Keene is on being well-prepared for your flock before they even arrive on your property. Keene ensures that you consider every issue before you spend any money on birds, feed or equipment.
 
He discusses which species are appropriate for your garden, what they should eat and more specifically, how you should house them. Anyone with basic do-it-yourself tools and a patch of land can follow his instructions.
 
The drawings and diagrams are easy to interpret and the lists of materials and tools needed are very helpful. Keene also appreciates the value of using recycled materials in your chicken coop to keep it  cheap and environmentally friendly.He also encourages responsible husbandry and if you follow his tips, your happy hens will be very productive.
 
He offers plans that cover a small chicken house that houses up to four chickens to one that can house up to 50. There are chicken tractor designs, double story designs, portable barn style designs plus an extra bonus book on how to build nesting boxes for free out of easily accessible material. This ebook offers more choices of chicken coop design than the others and is the most comprehensive.

To find out more about this ebook 

 Click Here….

 Chicken Coop Video Guide

 This guide is by Dan Kennedy. Not only do you get a written set of plans (so you can print them off and have them next to you while you build your coop), but you also get a video guide that shows you what to do at every step.
Chicken Coop Plans
This is the only set of chicken coop blueprints on the net that includes both written plans and an easy step-by-step, no guesswork required video guide. You Get the Complete Plans for twelve Chicken Coops.
Whether you want a starter coop for four chickens or a larger coop for up to eight chickens, you’ll get the plans you need to create the perfect coop: These coops include a front door, ramp, larger rear access door, perch, nest, and peaked roof.
Also included with your purchase of the complete guide and videos is a free report that will show you how to get started looking after your new chickens!
This book and video series is well presented , easy to follow and offers good value.
 

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August 8, 2012
by admin
22 Comments

Incubators

Incubating Eggs

If you are planning on raising your chicks from eggs then you will need an incubator of some kind. Fertile eggs should hatch approximately 21 days after the hen has begun to sit on them. You can leave them with your broody hen to hatch or you can incubate them yourself using an incubator.

1. Heat up Incubator

You will need to get your incubator ready by heating it up and making sure that the temp is at 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit before you put your eggs in. You can buy an incubator that does not require you to turn the eggs or you can buy

one that does require you to turn them. Some people prefer to turn them themselves so that they are more involved with the process and can keep an eye on the eggs.

2. Position the Eggs

An incubating egg should be set in a normal position as it would if you laid it on a flat surface. The large end should be slightly higher than the pointed end.

 3. Turning the Eggs
 Turning the egg is essential in the early stages .but in the last 3 days of incubation when the chicks are preparing to hatch, do NOT turn the eggs.Keep an accurate count of the days so that you know when you can expect the chicks to hatch. During the early stages if they are not turned they may stick to the shell and become deformed. Turning the egg mimics what a mother hen would do naturally.
 
If you are going to turn them yourself, you need to mark them with a marker so that you know which side is which when you turn them. You need to turn the eggs at least 3 to 5 times a day .You can’t skip a day as this will affect the development of your chickens.
 4. Moisture & Humidity
 The incubator must have adequate moisture in it at all times. A pan of water in the incubator will keep the air nice and moist. Make sure it is continually topped up. As well as having a thermometer to check the temperature you need to be able to measure the humidity. This combined thermometer below is an example.

AcuRite 00613 Indoor Humidity Monitor

Temperature measuring range: +32°F to +122°F (0°C to +50°C) – Humidity range:20% to 95% RH
5. Incubators
 An incubator keeps the eggs uniformly warm and moist, simulating the mother hen sitting on her eggs. If you’re going to buy one, there are lots of types and sizes and it will depend on the capacity you need, the features (auto-turning etc), and your budget! Below is a very economical incubator suitable for small backyard flocks.


 
Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator

 7. Hatched Chickens
Chicks will survive up to 3 days without feed or water after they have hatched. The yolk of the egg provides enough nourishment for the transitional period from the time the bird hatches to when he is ready to search for food. In general chicks are taken from the incubator after 24 hours. No harm is done if they are not taken out for 48 hours after they hatch.
Making Your Own Incubator
 
Another alternative is to build your own incubator.  I recently found an ebook that gives you step by step instructions on video on how to build your incubator with cheap materials from the harware store. So if you are handy this could be a cheap alternative to buying a ready made one. The author claims that the hatch rate is superior to some of the bought incubators. If anyone has built their own incubator perhaps they could share their results with us.
 
 

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Egg Candler

June 26, 2012
by admin
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Candling

 CANDLING

To check if your chicken eggs are fertile or not, you can put them through a procedure called Candling.  Candling is the process of shining a light through the egg to see if there is any sign of an embryo inside.

The fertility of eggs cannot be determined before you incubate them, so after 2 to 3 days in the incubator, you can candle white-shelled eggs to see if embryos have developed.

Eggs that are damaged do not hatch and often develop odors and they should be removed when found.

White-shelled eggs may be candled by placing a light bulb under a box. Make a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the egg through which light will pass. Place the egg over the hole, if a cloudy spot is observed, this can be assumed to be a growing embryo. If the contents of the egg allows light to pass uniformly through it you can assume that the egg is infertile. If an egg is candled at 7 days or older and is absolutely clear it is dead or was never fertile.

If you prefer you can buy a Candler, which is a sophisticated product specifically designed to show you if the eggs are fertile or not.

Here is an example of a Candler below:

OvaView High Intensity Egg Candler

 

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Chickens Eating Scraps

May 20, 2010
by admin
56 Comments

Chicken Feed

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.

If you have chicks go to Starter Feed for Chicks

Chickens – Growing Feed

Once they turn six weeks of age you can start them on pullet grower feed which has only 14 to 17 percent protein. You feed them this until they reach twenty weeks old. You can then start supplementing the grower feed with grain. This will reduce the overall cost of rearing your chickens. Pullets may begin to receive grain as soon as they start eating growing feed. Corn, wheat, barley, oats, millet, grain sorghum, or combinations of these may be used. Begin with 10 pounds of grain for each 100 pounds of growing food. Increase the grain until they are getting equal parts of growing food and grain.


Manna Pro Organic Grower Crumbles, 10 lb

It is at this point that you can also start introducing your pullets to vegetable scraps, garden weeds, grasses and any plant material. This also helps to reduce your costs and it is also a very important part of your hen’s diet.  Vegetable peelings, stale bread, and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips,broccoli etc. are excellent sources. Avoid strong smelling vegetables such as onions or garlic unless you want onion or garlic flavored eggs. Don’t feed them food that is rotten as they can get food poisoning which can kill them very quickly. It is best to feed your scraps to your chickens daily.

Chickens eating Scraps

Chicken Food for Layers

When pullets are 18 to 20 weeks old, gradually withdraw the growing feed and replace with laying feed over those last two weeks. Layers need a quality balanced ration to maintain their egg production. If you are new to raising chickens then it is advisable to use a mixed feed purchased at a poultry feed store. This feed will ensure that your chickens are getting the nutrition that they need to produce eggs. Laying hens need a mixture with a 15 percent protein level with the vitamins and minerals blended into the commercial feed to complete their diet. This food can be supplemented with grain as before. Just make sure you do not feed too much grain as this can make your layers fat if you are feeding them both types of food.

Manna Pro Organic Layer Pellets, 10 lb

There is growing evidence that supplementing your chicken’s food with grasses and other vegetable matter will produce eggs with a higher ratio of omega three’s than those hens fed just on commercial food. We all know that the taste of eggs from chickens allowed access to weeds and grasses, insects and vegetable matter, is far superior to commercially grown eggs. Now we are starting to see evidence that eggs produced from chickens (who are allowed to eat the food that they would in the wild) are more nutritious and actually benefit your health.

Healthy Eggs

If you can achieve it, give your chickens access to your yard for about 30 mins every day. If you let them out about half an hour before their roosting time at sunset you will not have to chase them back into their coop as they will go in by themselves. All you will have to do is shut the door. By limiting the time they have access to your garden, gives them less time to actually damage your plants. They are more likely to feed on grasses and insects in the time given to them. If you have plants that you don’t want damaged, put a bit of wire mesh around them to protect them.

Another way to ensure that your chickens get enough greens is to have a portable chicken coop that you can move around on your lawn. You have to move it quite a lot so you need to be prepared to do this but they will mow your lawn and keep the bugs out as they go. If none of this is practical, pulled up weeds and garden refuse plus scraps from your kitchen will still do the trick and give them that extra nutrition they need.

 

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