How to Tips on Raising Free Range Chickens
Free range chickens as the name suggests are chickens that are allowed to "free range" over a large area with no obvious fences. This is opposed to "caged" where the chickens are penned into a defined area usually by chicken wire. Free range chicken often lay their eggs on the land rather than return to a coup to lay, and at night true free range chicken roost in trees and bushes on the land.. Caged birds often have a chicken coup to where they roost and lay eggs. Often free range chickens are allowed to sit and incubate their eggs where they lay them. However, if you wish to protect the brood hen from the many predators then a small safe coup is desirable for protection. Foxes just love chicken eggs and of course chickens! The ideal place to raise free range chicken is in a large yard containing a tree or two. This enables the chickens to forage for food on the ground and have a place to roost at night. Egg collection is also made a lot easier. Uncollected eggs tend to go off very quickly.
There are many species of chicken that are ideal for free ranging. Bantams (small chickens) are very popular and a breed such as the Pekin has long been popular for raising in yards. The Pekin Bantam does not fly being a total ground dweller. Pekin bantams are a friendly breed that does not mind being handled. They make fantastic pets for children and need only a small yard to be happy. Pekin Bantams are average layers and make good mothers. This breed is also known as the "Cochin Bantam"
Another popular breed of Bantam is the "Game Bantam" these cheeky little birds come in a range of colors. They are easy to handle and like the Cochin Bantam make excellent pets. Again this breed of Bantam does not need much space to forage so they are very happy in a small area. The Game Bantam is very hardy and easy to look after.
The Houdan is a very striking bird with an endearing butterfly comb, five toes, and a crest. This bird is fast growing, easy to handle and docile. Houdans lay well and make an entertaining backyard bird. Houdan is considered by some to be an "exotic breed" because of its strikingly good looks.
The Belgium D'Uccles are an easily managed bantam breed and are not known for wandering far from the coup. They come in many colors but the Mille Fleur is very popular with chicken enthusiasts. This is a true chicken and the breed hails from France. The are prolific layer of small white eggs, and again are great for children's pets. The hens are quite broody and make good mothers.
Raising free range chickens is both rewarding and entertaining. The free ranging chickens and bantams bring color and life to a backyard as they strut about the place. Another bonus is a supply of fresh delicious free range organic eggs for the breakfast table. Truly raising free range chickens is a worthwhile and rewarding pastime!
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