See also How to Get More Eggs From Your Laying Hens
Keeping Hens for Eggs?
With urban chicken websites popping up online, new products for chickens going on the shelves at feed stores, and cute little coops all the rage on Pinterest, it’s obvious that a lot of people are interested in keeping a few backyard chickens.
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It’s a win-win solution for providing fresh eggs for your family and bypassing the cruel conditions in the egg production industry. But before you order a coop and start picking out chicken breeds, here are some things to consider.
- Is it legal to have chickens on your property?
- Are you familiar with their potential health issues?
- Do you have a chicken sitter for emergency trips and vacations?
- What will you do with the used bedding?
- Will the neighbors be annoyed with them?
- Are you prepared to deal with sick or injured chickens?
- Will you keep the hens into ‘retirement?’
- Do you have housing for them?
- Are predators a problem in your area?
- Where will you buy their feed?
A Simple Way of Life?
With more people interested in returning to a simple way of life, keeping chickens is gaining in popularity. The backyard chicken industry is growing . Chicken saddles, cozy coops, treats and feed, and even toys are available for the chicken keeper to purchase.
Don’t get caught up in the excitement of bringing home new chicks if you aren’t committed to providing proper care for your flock. They need food and water daily, protection from predators and weather, and medical care if they get sick. Chicken keeping isn’t very time consuming or difficult, but it is necessary every day.
A Retirement Home for Old Hens?
When your hens get older and stop laying eggs, but continue to eat feed…what will you do with them then? Will you keep them as pets, make chicken soup, or will you try to re-home them? Taking them to a shelter may not be an option…many shelters are full or will not accept livestock.
Know What You are Getting Into
I grew up on a small farm. We had chickens, ducks, cattle, horses, and pigs. Every day I went out to the barn to feed, water, and turn out the animals and clean their stalls. It isn’t a glamorous job. So when I bought chickens, I knew what I was getting into. I knew that I would need to find friends to care for the flock when I take a vacation. It’s the beginning of March and I have our chicken sitting arranged for the summer. I know that these birds are my responsibility and their lives depend on me. I know that if one of my chickens is sick or injured, I will take its life. When they no longer lay enough eggs to justify their feed, I will make chicken soup with them. And I’m ok with that.
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If you are interested in ordering your chicken feed through a buying club, check to see if Azure Standard delivers to your area. They have a variety of products for the small homestead, as well as natural foods for your family.