Keeping Chickens Many people think that keeping chickens is hard and/or not profitable. But it is much easier than you think and with things the way they are with our struggling economy, it may be smart to get a few hens. Keeping chickens is very easy actually. First, make sure they have water at all times (especially in winter when they drink the most). Second, give them free access to food or go outside to feed them frequently. Thirdly they need a building for shelter from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Chickens should be fed grain. The protein should be 16% for most of the year, but when they are molting it should be raised to at least 20%, higher is better. Animal protein should be a minimal in the chickens food, although chickens do enjoy animal protein, mostly from worms and bugs. Your chickens can eat any food scraps from the kitchen (including chicken, even though that would be morally wrong). Chickens lay an egg usually once a day. They take a break every few days. In the winter and summer you need to collect eggs at least once a day. In the spring and fall you can get away with every other day. You need to close your chickens in at night to protect them from predators. Some of the animals that can prey on chickens are: owls, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, stray dogs, cats, and hawks. Chickens are flock birds, you must keep at least two, so the birds have company. Depending on how large your family is, you should keep from 6-10 chickens to provide enough eggs for your family. Some good breeds for egg laying purposes are: Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Brahmas, and Wyandottes. This is my column for my school newspaper. I still have a little more to write.