Eggs Grown At Home

Growing chickens requires some thought if you plan on putting a coop in your back yard. I can say that the only time I wasn’t tending chickens was the time between leaving home and getting married. So my history with chickens is a long one.
As yourself do you really want to tend chickens as pets or as egg layers?
I think this is a valid question to ask. The reasons are wide and varied. The most important reason is; do you care about what’s in your food? If you are concerned about what is fed to the chickens, how they live and how well they are cared for, then you probably want to have chickens for great quality, fresh eggs. And not as pets. Pets they become over time, but when a layer gets old, its time for a day of canning up “stew chickens.” This is not uncaring, but rather practical. A layer that is not laying is costing you money and time and this is the practical way of farming anything.
If you want a coop of egg layers, working everyday to lay you great home grown eggs, do you want a rooster?
This is important too because to have eggs fertilized, a rooster looking after his hens is essential to continuing a good blood line of the breed and some say you get better eggs with a fertilized egg. Its up to you. You do need to find out the logistics of your community by-laws for back yard coops.
Do chickens need anything fancy for a coop?
Not really, chickens do need warm shelter, good light and access to free range pens or open access to your back yard. If you live in a northern winter climate, you’ll want to consider insulation in the walls and floor of your coop. Chicken laying boxes need to built and attached to one wall, making sure to keep the laying boxes lower to the floor than the roost. This is to ensure that the chickens don’t get any ideas to sleep over night in the boxes. Chickens poop while they sleep and you’ll start a bad habit that means you are always washing eggs, which is not good because egg shells are porous.
How much care do they really need?
Chickens are a livestock and need time, some money and consideration for their care if you are leaving for vacation. You’ll need a car or some other means to get bags of feed to your home. You’ll need coarsely ground oyster shell for good shell structure for your eggs. You’ll also need grit, unless you are living year round with open access to dirt for this digestive aid to grind their food. Some people say, “well they have ground pellets for food, its already ground, why buy grit as well?” I say that even though they have ground pellets, their gizzard is meant to have grit in it to function and operate properly before the food is fully digested in your chicken.
How do you keep your chickens from getting extremely cold?
Chickens in northern climates will need extra light to help them keep on laying, so an ordinary 60 watt bulb in the chicken coop with a timer for coming on in early mornings and again at early evenings, chickens need to have 14 hours of daylight to be in the mood to lay in the dark days of winter. Plus, when it gets to -10 or more, they will need an additional “heat lamp” for added warmth to take the edge of the cold out of the chicken coop. Both of these electrical items need proper attachments to prevent falling into the straw on the floor of your coop and setting the whole thing on fire.


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