I love talking about everything related to raising backyard chickens. I mean, obviously, these feathered animals not only produce fresh and organic eggs, but they also bring life to a dull and boring yard.
Obviously, it’s not just the interesting stories that entice urban adventures into backyard chicken farming. It’s also the health benefits that one can potentially reap from their birds, living a simpler and practical lifestyle.
While some individuals research ahead about everything related to this venture, unfortunately, many never really do so because they believe that chickens are purely farm animals that need much attention and time. Truth to tell, you don’t need to have a huge farm to be able to raise chickens. As long as you have supplies like a reliable chicken coop, chicken feed, and enough space, then you could be a poultry farmer.
To help you enjoy the fun and exciting realm of chicken farming, here are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to raising backyard chickens.
1. Is a rooster needed for a hen to lay eggs?
The answer is ‘No’. Actually, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about chickens. A rooster is not needed for a hen to lay eggs. But if you want to have chicks, then you will need one for the eggs to fertilize.
2. How many eggs can my girls lay and how often do they produce one?
There are several factors that could affect the egg production of a hen. First is the breed. Some hens are bred solely for egg laying purposes and if they are healthy, they can produce one egg a day. But then again, this is not the typical scenario. Normally, they lay 4 to 5 eggs in a week.
Another possible factor that can affect the egg production rate of a hen is age. On average, a hen will begin laying eggs at 4 to 6 months of age. During their first year, they are most productive, but after that, the number of eggs decreases.
3. How long do they live?
If protected against predators, a typical chicken breed can live 8 to 15 years. However, it’s really rare for a chicken to reach 15 years.
4. How much does a chicken cost?
The price of a chicken usually depends on your location and the breed you are getting. But the average cost of a chicken ranges within $1 to $5. (Do note that the price is in US currency.)
5. Do chickens require much attention?
Chickens are animals that require low maintenance. Perhaps the only things you are obliged to do when raising backyard chickens is to collect eggs, provide them with water and feed, clean and disinfect their coop. Because of these minimal requirements, they are often opted as pets.
6. When will my girls begin laying eggs?
As mentioned above, hens start laying eggs between 5 to 6 months. But again, this may vary depending on the breed.
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7. Why do the eggs of my flock vary in colour?
The colour of the eggs also varies depending on the breed. The Buff Orpington and the Rhode Island Reds are famous for their brown eggs. The White Leghorns, on the other hand, lay large white eggs.
8. Which egg is healthier and more delicious, the brown or the white one?
When it comes to health benefits and taste, the egg colour doesn’t matter. It’s what you feed your chickens and how you raise them that affect the taste and health perks.
According to research, if you allow your chickens to roam freely in your yard, chances are they’ll lay eggs that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and have low cholesterol content. But still, even if your birds can’t roam free, they can still lay healthy eggs that are better than those that can be purchased in the supermarket.
9. What are the basic things I need to raise chicks?
In the first 4 weeks, chicks need to be looked after. They also need to stay warm. Hence, a brooder with an infrared lamp would be a practical tool. As soon as you have it, you must keep the temperature in the area at a constant 95 degrees Fahrenheit. After a month, your chicks can now already explore the real world.
10. Are chickens really noisy?
It’s simple. If you have roosters, expect noise. Not only do they crow in the morning, they also crow whenever they want. Hens, in contrary, are quieter. They only make a loud sound when they feel threatened or when they lay eggs. Even so, they are not noisy. So if you reside in an urban place, it is best that you raise hens.
Whatever made you decide to raise backyard chickens; I think you just made the right choice. And for sure, you won’t just have fun stories to tell; you’ll also reap plenty of perks!