Raising Chickens will make a fantastic addition to your organic vegetable garden.
Fresh, free range eggs for brekky each morning, little friends to follow you around, what could be better for your garden?
Well maybe worms!
Here's some info to help you with Raising Chickens in your garden
If you're looking for Chicken Coop plans - Here's a great ebook with many different plans to give you all the information you'll need when Building a Chicken Coop. You'll have the happiest chickens on the block!
Raising Baby Chickens
Here are my top tips for raising baby chickens. I had my first little baby chicken this year, so cute.
It's hard to determine if baby chicks are male or female, so if you don’t want a rooster buy older chickens. 16 - 20 weeks is a good age to buy chickens (point of lay age).
Did you know?
What can I feed them?
Some people will throw everything to the chooks but there really are some scraps that are better off in the compost heap. I don't believe they "know" what they can and can't eat. All animals get sick or die eating foods they shouldn't but don't know otherwise. These foods can be toxic to chickens or cause upsets like runny poos and upset stomachs.
This list comes from the net and from chicken owners that I know. Some sites will list a few of these items, others will have a different list - I've put everything I can find just to confuse you! no seriously so you can make up your own mind - do some more research if you want - or do what I do and top up the compost bin with this list.
Why not grow your own food - sunflowers, grain (oats, barley, maize, wheat), clover, lucerne... Just a small patch, you don't have to move to the country.Social problems
Raising Chickens is not hard but here a few social tips you may need to know.
Dogs! My Border Collie is great friends with the chooks but at the start he wanted to chase them of course. Now he protects them from other neighbourhood and wild dogs.
They can go broody at times. This means they will sit on their eggs hoping they'll hatch – sometimes there aren’t even any eggs in the nest. She won’t be laying eggs and at the worst may forget to eat or drink. Plus she won’t be with the other chooks so will be vulnerable to a snake or dog attack. It's best to get her off the nest – maybe lock her out for a day and remove any eggs if there are any.
Cock-a-doodle-don’t: Don’t buy a rooster if you are in the suburbs – your neighbours will not be impressed! Neither will you with the early wake up calls.Health Issues for your Backyard Chickens
Runny poo - Could be too many layer pellets causing diarrhea– make sure they have other food in their diets.
Soft shells – Could be lack of calcium. Add pellets to your feed. Grind up some cuttlefish and add a little to their feed or provide a dish of shellgrit.
Lice/ Mites/ Fleas - If you notice any of these you will need to act quickly. You will need to give the yard and chook house a good clean and treat any wooden areas such as their perches. Clean out their nests also.
To treat the chickens you have choices. There are many natural things you can try – do a google search and see what solution suits you.
Some I found include: Feeding them sulphur (Pat Coleby books), lime sand, diamateous earth, dust birds with one part derris dust to one part talcum powder (Jackie French), paint the perches with eucalyptus oil mixed with borax (Jackie French), neem oil (insects don't like)...
Keep them healthy and try some preventative measures to avoid the problem occurring. For example: add a dash of apple cider vinegar to their water, keep their scraps fresh, put some diamateous earth into their dirt bath. (be careful when using this as it’s a very fine powder – wear a mask and keep away from the kids).
For more information from raising chickens to building a chicken coop visit www.raising-chickens.org
Final note: If you don't think raising chickens is for you then please, please buy free range eggs.
"Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral."
Frank Lloyd Wright