Raising Chickens: Precautions During Winter and Summer

Many people raise chickens as pets or for food. Raising chickens is a great way to produce eggs, meat, and manure while also providing companionship. However, raising chickens can be tricky during the winter and summer months.

Raising Chickens: Precautions During Winter and Summer

This blog post will discuss precautions that should be taken during the winter and summer seasons to keep your flock happy and healthy!

Raising Chickens: Precautions during Winter and Summer

Even though it seems like chickens are fragile creatures, they have certain characteristics that can let them survive through whatever weather may come. But you have to take note that not all chickens are alike.

While some can withstand winters, others preferred to sunbathe during summer sunshine. It will all depend on the weather that you are having when you decide to purchase the right kind of chicken so as not to waste money and time raising them and just have them end up in a chicken graveyard.

Winter Precautions to Take with Chickens

During wintertime or on cold weather days, never try heating your chickens just because you fear that they might catch a cold or freeze. You may find your flock dead in the morning.

How?

Just think of all that hay or straw bedding? You are just asking for a fire if you pop a heater or two in there. Even if you are raising chickens for the food – you don’t want to roast them all at the same time.

Winter Precautions to Take with Chickens

F.Y.I., chickens can adapt to extreme cold conditions because their body can change their metabolism as the cold weather approaches.

The bedding you keep in their shelter should be more than enough to help keep them warm.

If you live in a place where winters are more prominent than summer or are literally winter all the time, you might as well take certain actions for your chickens that will not put any of your chicken’s lives in danger.

a. Frostbite on chickens

There is a risk that a chicken’s wattle and comb can be affected by frostbite. To avoid this, you can rub some petroleum jelly or any moisturizer every other day.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is a type of injury to body tissue, most commonly the skin, and underlying tissues. The damage can be minor or lead to severe medical problems. It happens by exposure to cold temperatures, especially when the skin is wet or numb. The water in the body tissues freezes and expands, damaging the cells.

Chicken water feeder

Frostbite can happen to any part of your body but it is most common in feet, hands, ears, or nose for people. We all know it often happens when people are outside for long periods of time without adequate protection from cold temperatures like gloves and hats, but chickens are vulnerable too.

b. Chicken Water Feeder

Look out for frozen water supply. You can’t deprive them of water. They will not drink from a frozen water outlet well, because they simply can’t. Chickens can’t take water with impurities. It must always stay fresh and clean.

You can take out a water heater so that the water stays in its liquid form. Or if you don’t have one, better bring the waterer inside the house then return it in the morning.

Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens

If you live in places where summer is the only known season, your chickens are prone to be exposed to excessive heat all the time. With this, they might be at risk of dehydration.

The only thing that you have to look out for during summer is that their water supply never runs dry. It must always have clean water.

Don’t let your chickens roam around without providing them a sort of shade. If there is no run, you can provide ventilation inside the pen.

Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens

During heat waves, hens would lay fewer eggs. If this occurs, it is a typical sign that your chicken is stressed because of the excessive heat. Have no worries though, their egg-laying tendencies will go back to normal once the heat recedes.

If things get worse, you have to observe the behavior of your chickens. What is manifesting? If you’ve seen that one catches a cold or is acting a bit odd, isolate the chicken instantly to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Just don’t forget to provide water and feed to the isolated animal.

Then, when things are manageable, consult with your vet. Tell him or her how your chicken/s are reacting.

Are they having:

a. Mites?

Mites are a problem for chickens because they are often found on chickens’ bodies, around the vent, and under the wings. Mites can be transferred to humans if we have close contact with them. It is not only unsanitary but also itchy and uncomfortable for both your chicken as well as you.

b. Abnormality in the stool? (blood, worms, and/or white droppings)

Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens

Their stool is a great way to learn more about the heath of your birds. If you’ve seen changes in their droppings, consult with your vet immediately.

c. Sneezing and teary eyes?

Do chickens have allergies or get colds? They can be a sign of upper respiratory disease in chickens.

If you’ve found that one of your hens is sneezing and has watery eyes, consult with your vet because it might need some medication to recover from the said illness. You should also isolate the chicken for at least two weeks until good health is restored.

God forbid you have to deal with the bird flu with your flock!

d. Depressed Chickens?

Yes, chickens can get depressed. And that’s not all.

You should also be on the lookout for chickens who are straying from their flock, have a droopy posture, and appear to be uncoordinated in movement as well as appetite loss. This could mean they might need some medical attention or even rehabilitation if it has been prolonged. In these cases, specially made chicken products might be necessary.

e. Unable to mingle with the flock?

Whenever an animal isolates itself from a flock or herd , it is always a sign that something might be wrong. If one of your chickens appears to have an issue with its eyesight, coordination, or social demeanor, there is a high chance they are sick and need some medical attention.

Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens

The bottom line?

Tell your vet what you actually see so that he or she can give you the appropriate answer to your dilemma. These are only bits of areas that you have to ponder upon regarding raising your chickens in winter or summer atmospheres. It’s better to be safe than very sorry.

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Introducing the New Birds on the Block: Raising Chickens 101

Raising chickens is a tradition that was brought to North America by the Europeans during the 1600s. In this blog post, we look at introducing new birds on the block: raising chickens 101!

Introducing the New Birds on the Block: Raising Chickens 101

The introduction of new chickens to an established group can be a tricky process. Introducing the “new” birds requires some attention and care, just like merging two restaurants into one when you have Italian food on one side and Chinese cuisine on the other – it’s bound to cause stress!

Introducing the New Chickens to Your Flock

With new chickens entering the flock, there is often tension between old and young hens. The newcomer to the chicken coop may not be accustomed to its surroundings or have a strong social bond within that group of birds. These tensions can lead to bullying behaviors among both newcomers as well as older members in more established groups which can cause injury for individual animals and damage long-term relations amongst flocks.

Many poultry owners who are ready to expand their chicken farm make preparations by importing birds from outside sources (such as other farms), while others take time waiting for eggs they purchased at auction sites like eBay, Craig’s list, etc., after being hatched by laying hens on one property -or even neighbors’ homes! Adding new breeds into your

I always thought that hens and roosters were only territorial in regards to certain areas of the coop. I never realized they could get so worked up over who was entering their home until now!

I have had many new chickens come into my flock over time, but it wasn’t until one newcomer would not let an old chicken take her water pan for a drink before things got intense. The newcomers are naturally trying to establish themselves by taking control or what they believe is theirs; meanwhile, the older ones will fight back as best as possible with whatever strategy will keep them on top like kicking out another bird from its nest space or splashing any perceived threat off-balance with feathers and water.

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Fret not, for this kind of attitude and feud lasts for only a couple of days. Adaptation can now take place. You can’t avoid this kind of predicament from rising but you can do certain adjustments that can make all of you happy and stress-free.

There are numerous peace-making strategies to help both parties adjust to each other. Isn’t it nice to see your new and old birds in one space without having to stop them from pecking one another?

Keep them close, but separate

One very good strategy is to let them see each other without having any physical contact. How? If you have a run (which is basically attached to the coop), you could put your old chickens there and then put a border (chicken wire) between the run and the coop. Put your new chickens inside the coop. This way, they are able to see each other minus the harm. Be sure that both parties have access to sufficient food and water. You can do this for about a week.

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Another strategy is introducing the new chickens to a separate pen for about two weeks. This will give them time to get used to their surroundings and allow themselves some energy-saving at night without having so many eyes on them 24/hours a day in the coop area.

As transition day comes, that will be a week after the slight introduction, you can now “join” them in one area. You can transfer the newcomers to the resident flock’s territory during the night when all the birds are sleeping. Upon waking up, the old chickens will notice the new ones and they will, at any point, try to start a fight but will not because they are too groggy to initiate it.

One at a time

Introducing new chickens to a flock of old birds involves introducing one at a time. They are introduced by leaving them inside the coop with an older chicken for about two hours, so they get acquainted and comfortable enough that you can leave both together overnight.

The next day, introduce another one in between feeding times and repeat until all your newcomers meet up with each other before introducing them outdoors!

If this sounds like too much work, remember that introducing newly acquired chickens to an established group is very important to prevent any possible pecking order problems or territorial disputes. It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.

raising chickens

Try distracting them

There are a number of distraction techniques that can be effective. This includes things like getting the older chickens out of their coop for some free time, or feeding them nearby to give the new birds a chance to settle in without being harassed by the old hens.

Some of the best distracting techniques are:

a. Cabbage heads can do the trick. By hanging a piece of whole cabbage just above their head, chickens will reach it until everything is finished. That is if they don’t get exhausted by jumping to it and reaching it.

b. Make the pursuit an obstacle for the pursuing party. Add large branches inside the run and coop. How does this help? It will make it more difficult for the old birds to get at the new ones.

c. Let them run around at a wider and freer range. The oldies will be so thrilled to dig for grubs and insects they wouldn’t even notice that there are newcomers roaming around.

In conclusion:

There is no 100% foolproof way on how to avoid territorial disputes among your flock but there are strategies that will make it easier for everyone involved in settling down with each other. The best thing would be if all parties transitioned smoothly into their new surroundings without any problems or injuries but this doesn’t always happen (despite our efforts).

raising chickens

If it happened every single time, then we wouldn’t have had anything worth reading about! It’s best if done gradually but it may need some “dealing with” on certain occasions when everyone isn’t getting along as well as it should be.

Introducing newly acquired chickens into an established group of older birds requires patience (especially when introducing one bird at a time) but is worth the wait considering it offers less tension between hens as they adjust themselves to each other’s presence.

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How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

Several years ago, the bird flu spread quickly and infected birds all over the world. Every chicken keeper in the world was aware of the deadly effects of avian influenza. 

How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

The bird flu became the number one cause of death for chickens in Asia and around the world.  The bird flu is thought to have originated in China.  It killed millions of chickens and basically halted their chicken industry.  

How to Prevent Bird Flu in Chickens

Although this is a strain of flu that spreads quickly among chickens, it can also infect humans.  The virus can be passed from chicken to chicken, from chicken to human, from human to human, and from human to chicken.  For this reason, health officials all over are taking this disease seriously to stop the spread.

Bird Flu in Chickens Symptoms

The bird flu in chickens is much more serious than a common cold.  If just one bird gets infected, it can kill the entire flock within a week.  If it is passed from a chicken to a human, that person can infect hundreds of people before they even realize that they are sick.  Avian flu affects people of all ages, including children and the elderly.

If a human being gets infected, it can take about three to five days from the time of exposure to experience symptoms.  The first symptoms or signs of bird flu in people are similar to the cold symptoms.  The person may have a fever, sore throat, cough, or muscle aches.  Some people will have conjunctivitis.  

bird flu symptoms

If the person doesn’t get treatment, the disease can quickly progress and get more severe.  The bird flu can lead to viral pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress.  These respiratory problems are the leading cause of death for people who get the bird flu.

How to Prevent Bird Flu

Raising chickens has several benefits, including fresh eggs and meat if you choose to use your birds for meat.  However, raising a flock of backyard chickens also takes a lot of work.  There are several problems that can arise, including avian flu.

One way chicken keepers can prevent the bird flu is by keeping the coop and their chicken area very clean.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has studied diseases around the world, and they have guidelines for keeping you and your flock safe. 

They are also in charge of tracking chickens and people who are afflicted with bird flu and studying how it travels.  They keep records of confirmed cases and deaths from diseases.  If there are a lot of cases in an area, WHO will put that area under quarantine.

How to Prevent Bird Flu

When an area is in quarantine, people who are in that area will not be allowed to leave.  Those outside of that area can not enter the area.  It’s important for agencies, including WHO, to have accurate information otherwise more people and chickens will be affected, which can save lives.

Since avian flu can quickly spread around the world, governments also have strict rules if the virus enters their country.  People in that area are asked to report signs or symptoms of this and other diseases and to be on the watch for potential bird flu cases.  This helps protect both humans and chickens, and it can save many lives if those affected are quarantined quickly.

How Do Birds Get Bird Flu?

Avian Influenza can be caused by dirty conditions and exacerbated by cold weather.  It’s important to determine what causes the bird flu so you can take prevention measures to stop the spread.  As a chicken keeper, it’s less expensive to prevent bird flu than to treat it and to risk losing your flock or being infected yourself.

Although you can’t change the weather, it’s still important to recognize that cold weather can increase the risk of bird flu in your flock.  Like human influenza, the bird flu is passed around quicker in cold weather.  The birds tend to be closer together in their coop, and the virus quickly jumps from bird to bird.  

How Do Birds Get Bird Flu?

To protect your flock, you can keep them healthy by supporting their immune systems.  Feed them healthy food so they get plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies healthy.  You can also immunize your chickens to protect them from some diseases.

A dirty coop can also help avian flu spread.  Your coop and the area in their pen and around it should be kept very clean.  Whether you use wood shavings or straw, clean it regularly to prevent contamination from fecal matter.  

When you clean the coop, protect yourself by wearing rubber boots, gloves, and a face mask with a respirator so you don’t breathe in the dust particles from the litter.  By keeping your coop and the area around it clean, you can stop the virus from spreading as fast.  

What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu

If you suspect that your chickens have avian flu, the disease can spread through a coop quickly.  You should take precautions immediately to stop the spread.  Wash your hands with soap and water every time you are near your chickens or in the coop.  Even if you don’t handle your chickens or touch anything in the coop, wash your hands when you are done.

In addition to keeping your chickens healthy, it’s important to keep yourself healthy.  Get exercise and eat a healthy diet to support your immune system.

If you suspect that one of your chickens has avian flu, call your vet right away.  Your chicken can be treated with an antiviral medication to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the disease.  However, these medications can not always prevent death.

What To Do If Your Birds Have Bird Flu

Practice good hygiene when handling raw chicken in the house.  Disinfect cutting boards with chlorine bleach to kill germs.  To effectively kill germs, dilute 4 to 6 teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water.

The bird flu isn’t a common condition for chickens, but it can decimate an entire flock in a matter of days.  It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of the bird flu so that you can isolate sick chickens and take precautions to protect the rest of your birds and your family.  Keep your coop clean and practice good hygiene when you are around your flock to prevent the spread of this disease.

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Top Chicken Raising Tips: Give Your Chickens Treats!

Give your chickens treats? Like people, chickens like treats.  If you have a backyard flock of chickens, it’s fun to spoil your chickens and offer them treats.  

Chicken Raising Tips: Give Your Chickens Treats!

While humans like chocolate, candy, and sweet things as treats, chicken treats are usually mealworms, vegetables, or fruits.  In addition to being tasty, offering your chickens treats alleviates boredom.  When chickens get bored, they can start pecking each other and some breeds can get aggressive.

Some chicken keepers even train their chickens to come when they hear the treats so they can quickly call in their birds if one wanders too far or there’s a predator or inclement weather.

Chicken Treats

There are special chicken treats and mealworms available in pet stores.  These treats are great options for your birds, but they can get expensive.  Most chicken keepers turn to kitchen scraps for treats.  Your birds will love most kitchen scraps, and they can be a good supplement for their diet and help combat boredom.  

However, it’s important to watch what you give your chickens for treats.  Although they can have several different kinds of foods, there are some foods that they can not eat because they can be harmful.  

Best Treats for Chickens

Even though chickens aren’t the most intelligent animals, they do have their own preferences for treats.  You might notice that some of your flock won’t eat certain things.  Like people, chickens have their own tastes and preferences.

Yogurt 

Chickens like yogurt, and it’s good for their gut health.  Yogurt also has calcium that the chickens use for eggshells.  In the summer, spread yogurt on a pan and freeze it.  Then offer your chickens yogurt bark for a cool treat.

Give your chickens treats: Apples

Most chickens will happily eat apples.  They like both applesauce and raw apples.  Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, so be sure to core the apples before serving to your chickens.

give your chickens treats

Banana

Chickens love bananas, but they won’t eat the peel.  Bananas are a good source of potassium, so it’s good for their muscles.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Although your kids won’t think broccoli and cauliflower are treats, your chickens will.  You can toss the whole head in the coop or hang it so they can peck at it.  These are great boredom busters for winter.

Cabbage

Like heads of broccoli, heads of cabbage are great for hanging.  The birds will peck at it and have fun chasing it as it moves around.

Give your chickens treats: Carrots

Chickens love carrots cooked or raw.  They will even eat the leaves off of carrots if you grow them in your garden.

Crickets

Chickens eat small bugs in the wild.  If they get outside in the nice weather, they will often look for bugs in the soil.  In the winter or if you just want to have fun watching them, get some crickets from the pet store and watch your chickens chase them.

Cucumbers

If you give your chickens cucumbers, give them mature cucumbers because the seeds and flesh are softer.

Give your chickens treats: Eggs

I know, this just seems all kinds of wrong. You can also feed your chickens their own eggs.  Avoid feeding them raw eggs because it could encourage them to eat their own eggs after they lay them.  Instead, scramble them and offer them scrambled eggs.

give your chickens treats

Fish or Seafood

Give chickens fish or seafood sparingly because it can alter the taste of their eggs.

Flowers

Chickens like marigolds, pansies, and nasturtiums.  Make sure the flowers haven’t been treated with pesticides.  

Fruit

Chickens like most fruits like cherries, pears, and peaches.  They also like grapes, but cut them into pieces because they can get stuck in their throat.

Give your chickens treats: Herbs

Chickens like fresh herbs.  They will eat lavender, cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, and oregano.

Corn

Chickens love corn on the cob.  You can simply put the cobs in the coop for them to peck at or hang them.  They will get every bit of corn off the cob and leave a clean cob for you to clean up.  

Watermelon

Chickens love watermelon.  Buy it when it’s cheap in the summer and freeze it.  Then give your chickens frozen watermelon to help them cool off.  They also love fresh watermelon, but they won’t eat the rind.

Give your chickens treats: Oatmeal

Chickens really like cooked oatmeal.  Simply prepare it with water or milk and serve warm to your chickens on cold days.  You should feed them steel cut or old fashioned oats because they are less processed.  You can also add fruits for more flavor and nutrition.

give your chickens treats

Pumpkins

Chickens love pumpkins.  Cut one in half and let them peck at it.  They will eat the stringy part, the seeds, and the flesh.  They will leave just the shell for you to pick up later.

Cottage Cheese

If your girls are laying eggs, you can offer them more calcium by giving them cottage cheese.  They will eat it plain, or you can add vegetables or fruit.

Eggshells

Eggshells are high in calcium, and chickens need to replenish their calcium to make more eggs.  When you use eggs, let the eggshells dry.  Then crush them by hand into about ¼ inch pieces.  Then sprinkle in the run or offer with their food.  Only give your chickens their own eggshells because other eggs can have bacteria that can harm your flock.

Leftovers

You can compost your leftover food through your chickens.  Be careful giving chickens people food though.  Don’t give them food that’s high in salt, sugar. or fat.  Also, do not give them anything that is spoiled or moldy. 

–>Chicken Treats to Avoid

There are some treats that you should not give your chickens.  Some of these can change the taste of their eggs, and other foods can be harmful for your chickens.

give your chickens treats

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions can change the taste of your eggs, so avoid giving them to your chickens.

Avocado 

Avocado pits and skins contain persin, which is toxic to chickens.  The flesh of the avocado is fine, however.

Beans

Avoid giving your chickens dried beans or undercooked beans.  They have hemagglutinin, which can affect the bird’s digestion and cause it to get sick.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb can act like a laxative.  Rhubarb that has been damaged by cold temperatures can be high in oxalic acid, which can kill a chicken.

Offering your chickens treats is a great way to dispose of food scraps, and your chickens will enjoy a special treat.  Chickens will quickly learn to come running when they see the scrap bucket heading towards the coop.   With this guide, you’ll be able to offer your chickens safe treats to keep them healthy and happy.

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Look at Our Top 5 Reasons Raise Chickens 2021

If you’re not sure whether you should raise chickens on your land or not, these are some of the reasons to give it a try. These birds have a lot more to offer than most people realize before bringing them on their land.

Top 5 Reasons Raise Chickens 2021

It’s not as challenging or complicated as some people make it seem. Raising chickens is fun, enjoyable, and rewarding in many ways. Check out these top 5 reasons to choose the right chickens, bring them on your property, and raise them on the land with the rest of your family.

Top 5 Reasons Raise Chickens 2021

There are tons of reasons why raising chickens can be a great idea – but we have narrowed it down to our top 5 for you.

Reason #1 – Chickens Love Leftovers

Chickens can eat! Sure, you can give them food explicitly made for chickens, but you can also expect them to enjoy leftovers that would’ve otherwise been thrown out. These birds can eat just about anything, including cooked chicken scraps, believe it or not.

How many times a week do you end up with rotten leftovers that nobody finished? If it happens more often than you’d like to admit, now you don’t have to feel bad. Instead of leaving that food in the fridge to get old, you can serve it to your chickens to leave their bellies full.

top 5 reasons raise chickens 2021

Feeding your chickens your leftovers helps you save money on chicken feed because you’re going to keep them full with some of the meats and veggies that you usually prepare at home. Make sure anything that you’re planning to give your chickens is good for them. Try not to overdo it with garlic or onions, both of which can cause irritation. You want to keep them happy and fed, not uncomfortable.

Top 5 Reasons Raise Chickens 2021: #2- Eggs

Why wouldn’t you want to have chickens living on your property when you know they can produce eggs? Most chickens will produce at least a minimum of 100 eggs per year, so you can imagine how many you’ll end up with if you have multiple chickens living on your land.

In addition, you can do so much with the fresh eggs that come from chickens. For example, you might want to fry them, scramble them, boil them, and even use them in different recipes when preparing baked goods, such as cupcakes, pies, and sweet bread.

The animals living inside the home, such as your cats and dogs, are adorable. However, one thing they can’t do is provide you with food to eat! Chickens are superior because they lay eggs that you can put to good use. Even if you end up with more eggs than you need, you can sell them or give them to your loved ones. 

top 5 reasons raise chickens 2021

Nothing tastes quite as good as fresh eggs compared to those found in grocery stores. The ones sold at stores aren’t nearly as fresh! With fresh eggs always available, you won’t run out of things to make. You’ll have an essential ingredient at home with you all the time.

Reason #3- Source of Natural Fertilizers

Did you know that chickens can potentially improve the way that your lawn looks? It’s common for chickens to roam around on the land where they live. They enjoy roaming, so you’ll see them walking, standing, and even running around with one another. One thing you’ll notice your chickens doing is pecking at the ground. It’s what they love to do. If they think it’s edible, they’ll nibble at it. 

What that means is that you can end up with chickens on pest control duty. They’ll pick at and eat insects, beetles, and other things they can find on the lawn. Once they’ve consumed it and digested it, they’ll poop it out into the grass. It turns into the perfect fertilizer for your garden. It might sound strange, but it’s true.

Reason #4- Low Maintenance Pets

Some pets require a lot of maintenance. For example, if you have a dog with long hair, you know how much time and effort it takes to deal with all the upkeep. However, chickens are the opposite.

top 5 reasons raise chickens 2021

They’re low-maintenance pets that are easy to handle, especially if you choose the right breed. If you select chickens known for being gentle and docile birds, you won’t have a problem. The only thing you need to do is provide your chickens with food, water, and enough space to roam around freely.

If you provide the right environment and what they need to survive, you can expect happy chickens that will thrive on your land.

Reason #5- Grass and Weed Clippers

Save time and still get your lawn to look its best when you have chickens. These birds nibble at the grass and weeds that grow on the land. They love eating these things because it tastes like treats to them, so you won’t have to worry about your grass overgrowing or to deal with tons of annoying weeds that take away from the overall appearance of your land. 

Chickens can dig through a lot of things to get to the weeds, too, making them remarkable creatures that are worth having on your land. If you’re tired of doing the mowing and clipping of the grass all the time, imagine what it would be like to have chickens roaming around. You wouldn’t have to do half of the work you’re currently doing!

top 5 reasons raise chickens 2021

Top 5 reasons raise chickens 2021 – raising chickens

Raising chickens is a rewarding experience. If you’ve never had these animals on your land before, you might not know what to expect. However, you can expect to have a lot of fun with chickens living on your property, especially when selecting a friendly breed. These birds can lay dozens of eggs each month, providing you and your family with plenty of eggs to eat throughout the year. 

Besides laying eggs, chickens are low-maintenance pets that can help you keep the grass looking its best, provide you with natural fertilizer for your garden, and eat leftover scraps that you have so that they won’t have to go to waste. What other animals do you know that can do all these wonderful things without requiring so much maintenance? None! So, what are you waiting for?

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Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed

Before you start raising backyard chickens, the first decision that you’ll have to make is which breed to buy.  There are dozens of chicken breeds to choose from, and each one has its own pros and cons.  There’s no single answer to which breed is best for you because it depends on your needs.  Most backyard chicken keepers will have a few different breeds in their flocks. 

Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed

When choosing a breed of backyard chickens, take into account what your goal is.  Do you want to have a lot of eggs?  Are your kids raising chickens for 4-H?  Do you want meat birds?  

Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed

Some chickens are friendly and become pets, while others aren’t as friendly towards humans.  Some breeds are ornamental and lay fewer eggs but are pretty to look at in the backyard.  

Here are some tips to help you choose the right birds for your new or expanding flock.  

Choosing a Chicken Breed to Raise

Generally, you’ll want to take into account your climate and coop area first and then choose what’s most important to you: eggs, meat, or temperament.  From there, look for the breeds that will be suited to your climate and fit your first criteria. 

Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed: Climate 

Before we get into egg layers or meat birds, the first thing that you need to look at is your climate and how much room your backyard chickens will have.  Some breeds are more heat tolerant or cold tolerant than others.  If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter and choose a cold hardy breed, then you may not have to heat your coop in the winter.

If you live in a cold climate, look for breeds that are well adapted to cold weather.  They will have smaller combs, more feathers to keep warm, and don’t have feathers on their legs that can freeze and cause frostbite in the winter.

guide to choosing a chicken breed

Good ones to try are:

  • Buckeye
  • Ameraucanas
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Australorps

If you live in a hot climate, look for breeds that do not have a lot of feathers or heavy plumage.  Smaller birds also tend to do better in warm climates.

Good breeds for hot weather are:

  • Leghorn
  • Golden Buff
  • Barred Plymouth Rock

Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed: Backyard Pens

Another thing to consider is whether your flock will be free-range or in a coop.  Will they have a pen to roam in during the day?

Bantams like to fly around a lot, so they are hard to contain in a pen.  Leghorns also like to fly out of their coops, so you may need to clip their wings.  

Smaller breeds like Silkies are good for small spaces.  However, these birds lay small eggs.  

Best Egg Laying Chickens

If your main goal is to get a steady supply of eggs, some breeds are better egg layers than others.  These breeds will lay nearly every day for about 5 to 6 eggs per week during the spring and summer.  However, winter egg laying always decreases for any breed.

guide to choosing a chicken breed

For the Best Chickens For Eggs, try one of the following breeds:

  • Ancona
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Barnevelder
  • Buff Orpington
  • Leghorn
  • Hamburg

Egg Colors

Chickens can lay different colored eggs based on their breed.  They can lay brown, white, blue, green, pink, or olive eggs.  Although the eggs taste the same, it’s fun to have blue eggs in your fridge or to give to friends and family.

  • Brahmas, Cochins, Delawares, and New Hampshire Reds lay brown eggs.  
  • Light Sussex and Australorps lay pink eggs.

Chickens that lay blue eggs?

  • Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Cream Legbars lay blue eggs.

You’ll also get some variation between the same breed of chickens.  Some will lay darker or lighter eggs, so you’ll have a nice assortment of colors if you get these breeds.

Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed: Meat Chickens

Some people raise chickens for eggs and then butcher the chicken for meat.  Others raise chickens just for meat.  If you are raising chickens for meat and not for egg production, look for Broilers.  These chickens grow fast: up to 10 pounds in 5 weeks!  

You don’t have to worry about the birds being cold hardy or able to handle the heat because you can simply buy them when the weather is nice and will be nice for the next five weeks.

guide to choosing a chicken breed

The following breeds make good meat birds:

  • Jersey Giant
  • Cornish Cross
  • Freedom Rangers
  • Breese

If you want your chickens to lay eggs and then be used for meat, then you want a dual-purpose breed.  These breeds lay a lot of eggs, and they grow to a decent size for meat.

  • Sussex
  • Marans
  • Wyandotte
  • Turken
  • Chantecler

Our Guide to Choosing a Chicken Breed: Exhibition Breeds

There are several ornamental chicken breeds that are fine birds, but they aren’t exceptional for eggs or meat.  However, they are fun to have in your flock.  Cochins, Marans, and Frizzles are all fun chickens to have.  These birds are fun to watch in your backyard, and they will give you a steady supply of eggs, although they usually lay fewer eggs than other birds.

If your kids are using backyard chickens for 4-H or another club, check with the regulations before placing your order.  Rules and regulations may vary by state or county.

Temperament

If you have children or want your backyard chickens to be pets, then you may want to try breeds that are friendlier.  Buff Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Australorps are all friendly and will become part of the family.  

guide to choosing a chicken breed

Leghorns are good for eggs, but they can be noisy and sometimes aggressive.  Delawares can also get aggressive.  Rhode Island Red roosters also tend to be aggressive.  If you have young children, then you may want to avoid these breeds.  

Choosing the right backyard chicken breed can be difficult.  If you have a large coop, you can get more than one breed to have more variety.  Some backyard chicken keepers get a new kind of breed every few years so they have several different kinds.  

No matter which breed or breeds you end up with, get your eggs or baby chicks from a reputable hatchery.  These chickens will be stronger and healthier, so they are more likely to survive.  If you can only have hens due to zoning restrictions, then a reputable hatchery is less likely to make a mistake during sexing young chicks.

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