6 pro methods to raising chickens for their eggs

Tired of paying high prices for eggs at the supermarket? Or maybe you want to know exactly where your food was raised? If so, raising a few chickens for your family might be the answer.

6 pro methods to raising chickens for their eggs

1. What you will need

Here's a list of essential items you will need before starting a chicken roost:

  • Chickens (good layers include Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns or hybrid crosses, like Bovans Goldline)
  • A chicken house
  • Wood shavings or another bedding material
  • Straw
  • Food, grit and water containers
  • A nest box
  • Fencing

2. Chicken housing

Providing comfortable and safe housing is very important for anyone who wants to raise chickens, and poor housing will affect how often they lay eggs.

  • Provide a weatherproof, roomy house with easy-to-clean surfaces, a secure door, roosting bars and at least one nest box for every three birds.
  • Temperatures shouldn't be too extreme, as egg production decreases in very cold or very warm weather.
  • A run outside the house is essential — at least one square metre (three square feet) per bird.
  • Chickens that roam outside could have a wing clipped to stop them straying and must be fenced in for safety against foxes and other predators.
  • Sink the fence at least 20 centimetres (eight inches) below the surface to prevent foxes digging their way in.

3. Cleaning the coop

Just like with housing, a clean coop is necessary for keeping the chickens healthy and ensuring a regular production of eggs.

  • Once a week, clean the house, renew the straw, and scrub the nest boxes and perches.
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling birds.

4. Feeding your birds

The amount of food your chickens will consume depends on the weather, time of year, and many other circumstances. Here is a brief guide, but more research will help you determine exactly how much food they need at any given time.

  • Buy dry pellets or a mash to mix with water; 30 to 100 grams (one to 3.5 ounces) a day per bird is usually enough, but this depends on the weather, time of year, whether the hen is laying and how much free range she has.
  • Hang grass or leafy vegetables in a string bag in the run, and provide flint grit to aid digestion and soluble grit — such as oyster shells — to supply calcium for eggshells.
  • Daily fresh water is essential.

5. Laying their eggs

Chickens can be very picky about where they lay their eggs. Nesting boxes are a great idea, but they will still sometimes lay eggs in weird, random places in the coop. Always check the nest boxes and other corners of the coop for eggs.

  • Provide dark nest boxes with a deep bed of wood shavings, comfortable enough to accommodate a bird for up to two hours while she lays.
  • Grit to peck at nearby will also help.
  • Most hens lay in the morning after feeding.

6. Dealing with other issues

Like with any pet or farm animal, chickens need a lot of care to stay healthy and producing eggs. Here are a few helpful hints for when other issues come up.

  • Egg production drops in autumn and winter, so calculate your egg-need based on the seasons.
  • In late spring and early summer, remove eggs as soon as possible to stop broody chickens trying to hatch them.
  • Consult your vet for health problems, and for more information search online for "poultry forums."

Fresh eggs taste far better than anything the supermarket can offer. Chickens are fun and easy to keep, and take up little space. With a little work, you can be on your way to providing eggs for your entire family.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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