Chickens can be one of the easiest types of livestock you can raise and in your own backyard. Chickens provide you with entertainment with their funny mannerisms, don't take up a lot of space in your yard, and provide you with freshly laid eggs each day once they reach several months of age. However, be sure you understand some of the important rules to keep a healthy and happy brood of hens. The following provides you some helpful information to get started with raising chickens in your own backyard.
Choose Your Chickens
When you first start off with a brood of hens, you should look to adopt them all together. Doing so will help keep your chickens well-mannered and prevent them from hurting one another, especially when you raise them as young chickens or chicks that are already familiar with one another. Chickens can tend to create their own pecking order in the coop, with some chickens pecking at others that are less aggressive.
If you adopt several chickens, then add to it later on in the season or next year, the two groups of chickens may not get along very well. You might find some chickens to have sores and missing feathers on their backs along with stressed temperaments and less egg production, illness, and even death. Otherwise, if you do add chickens to your flock later on, plan to keep any additional chickens separated in a different coop and run from the first group.
You can also look to select the types of chickens based on their breed or what color of eggs they lay. Some chickens lay white eggs, others lay brown eggs, and some chickens, such as Ameraucana, will lay blue, green, and pink eggs. So if you want to have a variety of colorful eggs, look at adopting several different types of hens.
Keep Them Occupied
After you have set up your chicken coop and run with plenty of space for them to live, you will need to provide your chickens with activities to occupy their time. Bored chickens can become aggressive, bully one another, and cause each other harm. So, to keep your chickens occupied and happy, you can provide them with interesting food scraps and treats to peck.
Fresh vegetables are a great diversion and provide your chickens a healthy snack to keep their eggs full of nutrition and vitamins. For example, hang a head of cauliflower in the coop or their run so they can peck at the vegetable. You can also freeze vegetables in a block of ice as a way to cool them down in the heat of summer.
Visit a site like Chickens.org to learn more about how to raise chickens.