Got Questions About Raising Chickens?

busy henhouse

Got Chicken questions? Leave me a comment on this post and I will try my best to answer them. Here are a few questions and answers to get things started. Chickens are a fantastic addition to your backyard or homestead. If your city doesn’t yet allow backyard chickens, consider getting involved in the growing movement to change council’s mind. While I can understand urban areas not allowing roosters, I love the idea of allowing a certain number of hens per household.

 

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“How do you get chicks used to you so they won’t run or get scared when you come around?”

When chicks are brand new, enter the brooder area slowly and softly. What we actually do is start humming or talking in a low voice outside the brooder room. This helps alert the chicks that you are close by. When you go in the room, do it gently. Don’t go rushing in freaking them out! Have your feed can in your hand and give it a few shakes. Very soon, they will relate that sound to “Oh, good, here comes the food!” Very soon you will find that they will start coming to you.

Remember, they are little babies. We don’t go around freaking out little babies, so don’t do it to little chicks either.

 

“When you put them into your garden area, what keeps them from eating all your good plants?”

You can’t. The ONLY time our chickens are allowed in the garden is after the veggies are harvested. Some people say to keep the chickens out until the veggie plants are well established, then they won’t hurt the plants. I am a skeptic when it comes to this. I have seen my hens get into my flowerbeds, and before I know it, there are uprooted plants lying on top of the soil.

What we do is build temporary fencing using T posts and wire fencing. It’s easy to set up, easy to move and easy to remove. All you need is a few T posts and wire. Run it up to a building or a fence post, etc., so you can reduce the number of T posts needed. Check out this post for more information on temporary fencing.

I like to give my girls a large amount of room to run around and forage for plants and bugs. However, I want to keep them away from my flower beds and veggie gardens. So, we give them as much free range as possible, but with limitations….hmmm, kinda like raising teenagers!

 

 

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“I want them to free range, but how do I get them back into the hen house?”

I bet 98% of chickens will return to their hen house on their own, once dusk comes. Chickens don’t like being out in the dark! They want to feel safe at home, locked in their pen, away from predators. If you have trouble getting them to come home, shake that ol’ feed can for them, while calling them. “Here, chicka, chicka, shake shake shake” goes a long ways!

Also, if you bring home grown chickens, take them out of the carrying cage INSIDE the coop. Then leave them locked inside the coop for a few days. This will reinforce to them that the coop is home. After a few days, open up a door to their outside run. Leave that door open so they are free to go in and out. Don’t let them out of the run for several more days. This will further reinforce to them that the coop and run are home.

 

“How do I catch one of my chickens if I need to?” 

If you need to get ahold of one of your chickens for any reason, wait till dark. Once they are in their coop, you simply pick them up off their roost. When it happened here for the first time, I groaned thinking about all the other times I had tried to pin one down. If you need to catch one for emergency purposes, a fish net works great. Works on piglets too! I’m unsure whether it works on teenagers.

 

“What will keep them from flying away or into the neighbors yards?”

A good pair of scissors does a lot. Cut the flight feathers off ONE side only. This prevents them from flying and if they do get off the ground, they will go in circles, ha! A 42 inch fence should hold them in, IF the flight feathers are cut off. If they are not cut, I think they could get over that height of fence.

Want to read more about raising laying hens for eggs? That link will take you to all of our chicken posts.  Got more chickens questions? Just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.

 

 

The 10 Things I Love About Chickens

Raising Laying Hens for Eggs

Chickens are often the first “livestock” people get when they are starting to become more self sufficient. Chickens are easy to raise and are a low cost way to make sure you are feeding your family wonderfully fresh eggs.

Here are the 10 things I love most about chickens.

1. They lay eggs almost every single day. Healthy nutritious eggs – if I add flax seed to their feed ration, they are what is called Omega 3 farm fresh eggs!

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2. They don’t have a smelly house. If I make sure to completely clean out the coop twice a year and at all other times make sure there is a good layer of hay being thrown on top of the bedding, chicken coops will not smell.

3. If I have a rooster and a broody hen, chances are that I could get baby chicks at no extra cost.

 

 

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4. Chickens taste pretty darn good – older laying hens can be stewed for a delicious meal. Young meat birds are fantastic roasters and can reach 6 pounds easily.

 

 The 10 Things I Love About Chickens

5. They keep the bug population down – Chickens love running around chasing and catching bugs. If you let your chickens free range, you will notice a difference in the bug population around your house.

6. Chickens eat weeds – Instead of throwing our weeds on the compost, we throw them to the chickens. They love them and the greens are really healthy for them.

 

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7. Chickens love to work – Put some temporary fencing around any area in your yard that needs to be worked over. Chickens will do that for you and they will let you know how happy they are by laying some nice eggs for you.

8. Chickens eat almost all kitchen scraps – We don’t actually have compost piles. With our kitchen scraps, we keep them all in a bucket in the kitchen and each morning, bring the contents down to the chickens. Leftover veggies from dinner, scraps of meat, old bread – all these things get fed off to them. We have found they don’t like onions or citrus, everything else is enjoyed and gobbled up quickly.

 The 10 Things I Love About Chickens

9. Chickens create manure – not a lot of it but when you combine it with the spent bedding they have in their coop, you may be surprised how much compost you will end up with. Add this composted lack gold to your garden and your fresh veggies will thank you.
10. Most chickens don’t seem to mind if you pick them up and give them a cuddle.
Want to read more about raising laying hens?  Check out all of our posts about laying hens or take a look through this book.
What do you love the most about chickens?