Friday, 15 January 2010

Raising Chickens For Eggs

Raising chickens for eggs is the latest growing trend around the world. Both in country and urban areas people are making the decision to raise chickens for eggs. Join the urban revolution and you too could have a fresh daily supply of great tasting eggs for your table. Raising chickens for eggs can be far more beneficial than just producing your own eggs. They also make great pets, are very friendly if you raise them correctly, and will give you and your children many hours of fun and amusement.

There are five basic steps to raising chickens for eggs.

The first thing you need to do when making the decision to raise chickens for eggs is to find out if you are allowed by law to keep chickens in your back yard. This varies significantly around the world. For example in New York City you can have as many chickens as you like but you are not allowed to have roosters because their crowing may disturb your neighbours. In London you are also allowed to keep chickens but in some cities it is totally banned. There is a growing movement of people protesting in these cities so that they too can enjoy the experience of raising chickens for eggs.
Look at the space you have available in your yard. Chickens do not need a lot of room but the size of the chicken run will determine the number of chickens you will be able to raise. It is not necessary to have a huge flock and if you are just starting out I would recommend 3 to 6 chickens. This will allow you to manage your flock easily and as laying chickens will produce approximately one egg each per day, you will have plenty of eggs.
The chicken coop is your next consideration. You can buy ready made chicken coops or you can make your own. A simple steel garden shed can be converted into a chicken house and recently I saw a childrens cubby house that was no longer being used, converted into a great chicken coop. There are some really inventive coops around, let your imagination run free. You need to make sure your chickens are protected from the weather, have a place to roost at night and have some nesting boxes to lay their eggs in. Also they need to be locked in every night so that predators can't get to them. This is very important.
Ordering your chickens is next. Do you want to raise them from baby chicks or do you want chickens that are ready to lay. Baby chicks are more time consuming and you have to wait for them to grow up before you get your eggs, but children find them irresistible and can develop relationships with them right from the start. However if you are new to raising chickens then I would recommend you buy hens that are ready to lay. You can get them at your local fodder store or you can order them and have them delivered to your door depending of course on where you are in the world.
Enjoying your chickens is the next step. Make sure they have fresh clean water, this is very important for their health. If you want to save time, you can buy automatic waterer's that will ensure they have fresh water all the time. You just hook the waterer up to a hose and the chickens will always have clean water. They need feeding every day with grain or pellets and all your kitchen and garden scraps. Providing them with scraps and green food i.e. weeds, is the secret to producing great tasting eggs. You can also save time by having automatic feeders as well but I find that I end up feeding the local bird population as well if I do this so I prefer to feed them daily myself when I collect the eggs. Scattering grain and scraps around their yard is not difficult.

There are so many reasons to raise chickens for eggs. Join the growing trend and turn your urban yard into a food producing haven. The next step is to grow your own vegetables, but that is another story on the way to sustainable living and you may not have the room or the inclination. A good start however is to get your own chickens and see how you go from there. If nothing else you will get great tasting eggs and a great deal of satisfaction from raising chickens for eggs.

Dianne Maher is an artist who believes in sustainable living and wants to encourage city dwellers around the world to produce their own food.

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