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How To Raise Chickens In Your Backyard 101

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Why Raising Backyard Chickens Is A Viable Option For The Backyard 

While eggs are not expensive in the supermarket, many people today are increasingly concerned about the quality of our food supply as well as the conditions in which the poultry was maintained as they lay eggs for our grocery stores. When picking up a dozen eggs at the market, consumers may wonder if the hens were kept in humane conditions, what the diet of the chickens was, and whether these unknown factors will contribute to healthful and quality eggs for their breakfasts. 

One solution to this dilemma is to raise your own laying hens so that you can control the treatment of the animals producing your family's eggs. This, also, allows you to ensure that the hens are provided with a quality, nutritious diet that will doubtlessly also translate to better nutrition for your eggs and for your family's diet. 

How Do You Get Started? 

Space Needs 

The first thing that you need to know is that having a large yard or several acres of the property is not necessary. Most families have enough space in the typical suburban yard to be able to keep enough hens to provide eggs for their needs. On average, you would need 2-3 chickens per family member. So, given the typical family of three to four individuals, they would need between 6 and 12 laying hens to service their egg requirements. So, if we settle on the conservative number of 10 chickens for the average family, we can use it as a good rule of thumb. 

The Chicken Run 

To comfortably house your 10 chickens, you should be able to give them sufficient space that they can roam about your garden scratching the earth and pecking for worms, grubs, and insects. You should allow for one-half meter squared for each hen that you have. So, in our example of a 10 hen family, it is suggested that you provide 5 square meters of living space in addition to a small Chicken coop. The living space for chickens is called a "run". 

The run is where the chooks stretch their legs, scratch, and forage and preferably should be a natural place that is covered in grass, flowers, or shrubs. Most people just partition off a section of their existing lawn with wire fencing or chicken wire in order to keep the chickens contained as well as from spreading manure everywhere or entering the home. 

The Coop 

Many homeowners or families who are interested in backyard chicken keeping buy a prefabricated chicken coop. Many agricultural supply stores, lawn and garden supply centers, and lots of online websites sell ready-made chicken coop kits as well as sheltered runs that can be quickly and easily assembled in one's backyard. If you do not have experience in assembling such kits, Agri Labour Australia can help you find assistance with assembly by connecting you with someone with skills to accomplish this project. 

Such kits are not terribly expensive and are often the best and most economical option for someone who wanted to begin keeping chickens as a hobby, family project, or just a great way to provide a regular supply of eggs for their family. Depending on how many chickens you plan to own, the appropriate sized coop can easily be selected. It is not necessary for your coop to contain more than 3 or 4 nesting boxes as your hens will share them and actually prefer to lay eggs where others are too. 

The Chickens 

Once you have determined your space needs, what type of coop and run you need, and the number of chickens that are appropriate for your family, you should consider which breed of the layer will be best for you. If you are in a city or suburban environment and you also want a pretentious supply of eggs, then you would want to select a mild-mannered and good-laying breed. The Buff Orpington, Light Brahma, Americauna, Plymouth Rock, Leghorn, and Rhode Island Red are all examples of calm breeds that are also ample layers. Remember that you do not have to own roosters that might crow and disturb neighbors to have eggs. Hens will lay eggs just fine without a cockerel around. 

Chicken Care 

Feeding your chickens easy and inexpensive. Bags of chicken layer feed generally come in 18 and 25-kilo bags and are nutritionally balanced with the proper levels of nutrition that are appropriate for laying hens. You may also choose to supplement your hen’s diet with table scraps, green leafy vegetables, and edible weeds. The most important thing is that your chickens receive lots of healthy food whether it may be commercially formulated feed or a combination of chicken feed and supplemental nourishment. By learning these good agricultural practices, you will be able to provide your family with lots of quality eggs. 

Eric Reyes is a passionate thought leader having been featured in 50 distinguished online and offline platforms. His passion and knowledge in Finance and Business made him a sought after contributor providing valuable insights to his readers. You can find him reading a book and discussing current events in his spare time.