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Cooping It Up

So you’ve decided to do it!  You’ve got yourself a breed all picked out, you’re excited about the learning process, and you can’t wait for the eggs!  You are going to raise your own chickens.  This is a fine plan, to be sure, and if you follow a few simple steps, you’ll be enjoying fresh eggs in no time! 

  1. Check the Local Ordinances -- Make sure that wherever you have decided to keep your poultry allows such animals to be kept.  Most rural areas are safe from stringent restrictions on chicken-raising, but urban/suburban places usually have rules regarding the space requirements or number of birds allowed.
  2.  Get the Brooder Together -- Assuming you are raising your chickens from hatchlings, you’re going to want a small brooder in place to help them adjust to life without their mother.  Provide a warm, nurturing environment with plenty of fresh food and water, and check on them regularly to change out their bedding as necessary.  Baby chicks are perfect for first time raisers, and are readily available for shipping or from hatcheries in most rural spaces. 
  3. Larger Birds Need a Larger Space -- Once your chicks have been growing for about a month and a half, they should be ready to move into their own coop.  Make sure that they have plenty of space to move around.  Some owners prefer to provide larger pens for their birds to roam freely as they please.  This can be great for the birds state of mind, but it also means needing to know what dangers and predators are in your area and make sure that your animals are safe and protected.  If it is your first time raising poultry, you may wish to start with only a few birds.  Even so, having more room to roam and a safe space to retreat to will reduce your birds’ stress levels and make for better, more consistent laying.  At about six months old, most hens will begin laying about one egg daily and should continue to do so regularly for a couple of years. 
  4. Get to Know a Vet -- Farm birds have different veterinary requirements than household pets.  Poultry are not the same as dogs and cats, obviously, and not all veterinarians are able or willing to treat them in their offices.  Make sure that you have a local animal doctor who is knowledgeable about the creatures you are raising and have necessary first aid on hand to deal with issues as they arise.
  5. Know What You Are Getting Into -- Raising chickens is just like any hobby or home-building activity in that it takes more effort to get started than it does to keep going.   Chickens can be messy, dirty, noisy animals at times.  Just like any home-kept pet, they require fresh food and water daily, clean bedding, and a safe place to roam.  Though they present a number of challenges, the rewards are plain:  fresh eggs for a few years, and fresh meat thereafter. 

Hillsboro Feed Company is the go-to location for any North Alabamians looking to supply their livestock and work animals with the best, healthiest options for feed. Our customer service skills are excellent and their products are the best around. Visit our store at 14934 Alabama Hwy 20 W, Hillsboro, AL, or call (256) 637-2309 if you have any questions. You can also visit us on our website.  

Also in Hillsboro Feed Blog

Dairy Goats

The dairy goat’s popularity continues to increase rapidly as more people discover the dairy goat’s appeal, utility and productiveness. The female dairy goat is a doe; the male, a buck; the young, kids; and a castrated male, a wether. Their life span is eight to twelve years.
Bullies in the Chicken Coop

Today's article tackles one of the least endearing qualities of our beloved hens – bullying.

It is more than establishing the ‘pecking order’- it is systematically picking on one or two hens for no apparent reason.

Bullying can be limited to feather plucking or it can escalate into full blown warfare with the receiving hen being severely injured or possibly killed.

In this article we will cover what the usual causes of bullying are, how to stop them pecking each other and finally what to do when you need to intervene.

How to Keep Nuisance Flies Away from your Chickens

The hot summer is around the corner.  That being the case, the flies are going to start becoming a problem around the chicken coop.  We have discovered that the best way to get rid of the flies is to stop them from breeding.  

While you’re never going to get rid of ALL of them, you can do a good job decreasing the population, especially if you have just a few chickens.  Studies show that if you get rid of flies in your chicken coop, Campylobacter is less likely to spread, keeping you, your family, and your flock healthier.