Some Ways To Keep Your Flock

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    Chickens, with their small size and simple requirements for care; make them ideal livestock for almost any environment. Here we are going to look at some options for housing and raising them. First, we’ll look at some options for urban dwellers. In several areas around the continental 48 chickens are now one of the legal farm animals urban dwellers are allowed to own. If you happen to be one of the fortunate people to live in an urban area where they are allowed, then you should definitely try your hand at raising them. Small coops with runs attached are available commercially and are ideal for areas where space is limited, although they can only house a few chickens. These can often be very expensive. They can however, be easily and inexpensively constructed if you care to take the time. Chickens can also be housed in cages; similar to how people often keep rabbits. These are also commercially available. But if you have any experience with building, then I strongly recommend that you build them yourself; as they can be constructed for a fraction of the price that you would otherwise spend if you were to buy them new; in addition to being extremely easy to construct. If you have a fenced yard then allowing them to free-range, is in my opinion, the best option of all. Providing them with a small coop in which they can roost at night, lay eggs and get out of the weather. If small, these coops are easily constructed, although a little more building experience and funds are required to build one. Keep in mind that buying these coops new will be very expensive. Also, if free-ranging them, you may need to cover the top of the area they are in with some sort of flight netting to keep them from flying out if they are a small/light breeds or you have a low fence. Another option is clipping their wings; this does not cause the chicken any pain and will need to be repeated after every molt. Clipping their wings may present a problem if they need to fly up to roosts or to enter the coop/nest boxes (you only need to clip one wing). Consider that all of these options may be expensive depending on the route you choose in constructing/obtaining them. Although with a little practical knowledge on building and rummaging around for free materials they can be almost free to construct. However, if when building you are concerned mainly on keeping cost down then their appearance may not be very attractive; therefor, if looking for something neat and attractive consider spending the extra money to buy the commercially available ones or you can invest a little more time and money and build one yourself that will be eye appealing and still save you some cash. With whichever option you choose, be sure that they have a place to roosts, nest boxes and protected from predators and weather. In the country, all the previously discussed methods of keeping chickens can still be practiced with the addition of allowing them unrestrained free-ranging privileges. Predators can be a big problem in any of these areas; but are especially a problem in country settings. This being largely because of the increased number and variety of predators; and you often don’t even know when the chickens are being attacked if they are in an area out of your sight or hearing. Now for part # 2. There are many different ways that people maintain their flocks. Some feed only scratch grains, their birds roost on the rafters of whatever available building or in trees and lay in the hayloft, shed or brush. While others provide specialized layer feeds, minerals and supplements, as well as worming and vet care and large, expensive housing often with heat and air. Then you have the people in between. In reality, neither one of these is either right or wrong. It all depends on what you want out of your birds and how much you want to invest in them. If you aren’t looking for exceptional amounts of eggs or rapid growth then most chickens do extremely well on scratch grains, and kitchen scraps alone; as long as you provide them with the necessary minerals/supplements they need or provide them with free-ranging opportunities that can offer them the minerals/supplements they need to gather themselves. So evaluate what your chickens living arrangements will be and what you want out of them before ever bringing some home. And you will have a happier and more enjoyable poultry experience. Welcome, to the wonderful world of poultry.

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