Whether you have rural acreage, a suburban backyard or an urban lot, you may be able to raise chickens. No kidding. Keeping a few hens in your backyard will give you fresh eggs that are significantly more nutritious than what you normally buy at the supermarket. Free-range eggs have less cholesterol and saturated fat, and more vitamin E, beta carotene vitamin A and omega-3s than the eggs you’re used to. Plus, your birds can be raised humanely (much more so than they would be in a factory-farm setting), and give you hours of entertainment.
Why Raise Chickens?
•Easy and inexpensive to maintain
•Eggs that are fresh, great-tasting, & nutritious
•Chemical-free bug and weed control
•Manufacture the world’s best fertilizer
•Fun & friendly pets with personality (yes, you read that right!)
Where to Get Chicks:
•Local Feed Stores often carry a variety of day old chicks around spring
So You Want a Colorful Egg Basket
The Ameraucana chicken is the one for you. I have this breed of chick and I get the prettiest color eggs.
Ameraucana and Araucana chickens are completely different breeds just as Cornish and Brahma chickens are different. Each breed is different from all the others and the differences are listed in the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection. We generally refer to it as the APA Standard and it tells what characteristics or traits are needed to classify a chicken under any of many different recognized breed descriptions. The Standard is the final word in the world of exhibition poultry in North America
An Araucana chicken has ear tufts (not the same as muffs) and is rumpless, meaning it doesn’t have a tail. An Ameraucana has muffs and a tail. Both breeds have pea combs and lay blue eggs, but have just as many differences as similarities or common traits according to the Standard. What is referred to as an Easter Egg chicken or Easter Egger is not a recognized breed, but rather a mixed breed bird that possesses the gene for blue eggs.
How To Care For A Chick-First 60 Days:
•Young Chick Brooder - Can be as simple as a sturdy cardboard box or a small animal cage like one you’d use for rabbits.
•Flooring - Pine shavings work best
•Temperature - 90 to 100 deg. for the first week, decrease 5 deg. per week. A 100 watt bulb pointing in one corner (not the whole brooder) works well.
•Food & water - chick crumbles / starter & a chick waterer
•Play time - Play with your chicks when young to get the use to being around people.
•Outside time - Section off an area in your yard where the chicks can explore, scratch, etc. Make sure you can catch them when it’s time to come in.
Chickens lay eggs during the day when they reach about six months of age. They need at least eight to ten hours of sunlight every day to lay eggs regularly.
This is a helpful link that might give you a few tips for your backyard chickens. Enjoy!