How to Prepare Your Yard for Chickens
If you want to rear chickens, you might have to consult relevant local authorities and even get necessary permits before you can raise them. However, permission and licenses are just the first part of the game. You also have to prepare your property, namely your backyard, before being ready to play host to chickens. Provided you exercise adequate preparation, the act of raising chickens in the backyard is a fun, educational activity. You need to obtain the following items to prepare your yard for all those chickens properly:
You might seek to raise chickens from tiny, little cute chicks while others want to hatch the eggs their chickens provide in a home incubator. There are still others who want to buy adult hens that are already laying eggs. Chicken age is a primary determiner of the kind of shelter you need for them, and the latter varies accordingly. You can consult this website for different resources helping you to guide you through raising chickens.
There are two broad categories in this, which are:
Chickens Aged Lesser Than Two Months
Perhaps the best and simplest solution for finding a suitable home for your two months or less old chicken is an old box made of cardboard. Remember, if you are dealing with small chicks, you must regulate their living temperature.
Heat lamps perform the best for this purpose. Another cheaper alternative will be a shop light or conventional light bulb. Don’t forget to place a thermometer in the cardboard box, which will let you adjust the lamp according to the desired temperature.
Another thing about your chicken shelter that you need to consider is the flooring. In this, you should use pine shavings from a pet store near you. Remember, little chickens poop a lot, and I mean a lot, and the wood shavings provide to be useful in this. Another alternative open to you is to use newspapers for the purpose.
Chickens Aged More Than Two Months
When chicks reach the age of two months, it is time to move them to an outdoor coop. There is no lack of design inspiration for outdoor chicken coops; results on Google search pages will give you plenty of ideas. The general rule to follow in this is to keep 3-5 chickens in a 4×8 feet coop. You can choose to buy coop building kits on the internet or download designs for the same without spending a penny.
The first and foremost purpose a coop serves is to ensure the security of chickens. Chickens are at the bottom of the food chain, and besides the worms, almost any predator would feast on a chicken with casual ease. Such vulnerabilities of chickens in front of predators makes it necessary for you to wrap the coop three hundred and sixty degrees in a wire cage. Make sure that wire holes are in no way larger than a single inch. Also, ensure that nothing could slip inside by using things like cracked or loose boards. Additionally, make sure that the doors are locking as patches and ledges might give in to predators’ tiring efforts.
Make sure that the coop you have created for the chickens gives them enough space to forage and then enjoy some additional fresh air as well. As backyard chicken rearing experts have found out from their own experience, 4×8 coops fit three hens to perfection.
Indeed, while you have open-air roosting coop designs to choose from, it is better to stick with a coop that is equipped with an enclosed elevated roost. Much akin to all other birds, chicken too want to roost by default and like to go to a high place to do the same. The roosting area needs to be well ventilated besides being sheltered. The ventilation is particularly essential for the hot months of summer. A roosting perch bar needs to be a part of the roosting area, which will help the chickens sleep. Such perch bars serve as tree branches suitable for sleeping to the chickens.
It is necessary to equip all coops with nesting boxes. By the term, we refer to space’s hens use to lay eggs. These are usually 12″ x12″ x12″ in dimensions. Usually, the nesting box comes as a part of the roosting area, and it is a good idea to place wood shavings in the nesting boxes.
Mobile Outdoor Chicken Coops
Mobile coops are preferable due to a variety of reasons. If you are using a fixed cage, more often than not, chickens strip the below-ground till it is bare earth in just a few days. To prevent the ground from getting all muddy and nasty, you will likely need to cover it with pea gravel, hay, or wood chips. However, you can avoid this scenario by using mobile coops. You can choose to move these coops around your backyard without affecting the ground below too much. But such a setting will still allow chickens to feed on fresh grass and insects without needing to temporarily guide them out of the cell. Additionally, you can place the same to a spot the chickens would find ideal, like under trees or out in the sun with a mobile cell.
Many chicken growers prefer not to heat their chicken coops during the winter months. Chickens possess thick feathers, which is enough to survive the winter, just like any other bird.
The crucial thing you need to remember in the context of chicken food is that you will eat the same in the forms of eggs and chicken meat. Many expert chicken growers give their chickens all sorts of foods- from leftovers to scraps of kitchen food. Remember, chickens love to feed on eggs, their shells, and chickens. It may not sound nice, but it is a fact.
Another thing you want to provide your chicken is sand for them to pick through. Chickens use sand and gravel mixtures to digest food in their gizzard. The best idea is to mix the sand with crushed oyster shells, which provide an additional amount of calcium, making the surfaces of the eggs laid by these chickens healthy and pleasant.
Like all living beings’ chickens too need fresh water to survive. There are plenty of choices for chicken watering buckets available for sale in the market. Most chicken growers use large five-gallon water buckets as it requires less effort as you will have to fill it up less often. For winters, heated watering bowls are recommended.
Irrespective of whether your home seems too empty or if you want to have eggs all too often for breakfast, raising chickens is a good idea. Raising chickens is surprisingly affordable and will not precisely break your bank. If you think it’s going hyperbole, then you want to catch up with the folks at your local poultry club. However, before you start, keep in mind relevant legalities and adequately prepare your backyard for rearing chickens by following the steps mentioned in this article.