The Frugal Homemaker - Organic Eggs & Raising Chickens

Organic Eggs - Raising Chickens

Raising chicken for Organic Eggs is a good way to supplement your diet and can be a rewarding hobby. If you have enough birds and surplus eggs, you can create enough income to feed and house your birds. and possibly some left over to renovate the coup.

I keep Chanteclers. If you live in a cold climate, consider Chantecler Chickens, they are the true Canadian breed. If you haven't surmised from previous Hubs I've written, I'm vegetarian and almost everyone else in the family is vegetarian too. We don't eat our birds so I don't have a lot to offer in terms of growing chickens for meat, although I have read that Chanteclers are a dual purpose bird.

Chanteclers
Chanteclers

Chantecler chickens originated in Oka, Quebec in the early in the 20th century. A trappist monk and a Doctor of Agronomy named Brother Wilfred Chantelain at the.Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac realized that all the chickens at Oka were American or European breeds. He began his quest to create a truly Canadian bird in 1908, his dream was realized in 1917 after crossing several breeds to create a bird that would be suited to Canada's cold climate. Chanteclers are very hardy with small combs and wattles which minimizes the risk of frostbite. These are gentle birds who are for the most part friendly and quiet. We do hear them laying eggs as though they are calling out β€œI'm working on it”

Unfortunately living in a rural area does not guarantee your right to raise hens. This is very unfortunate as urban flocks are on the rise as cities relax their bylaws to allow small flock of chickens without roosters into the neighbourhood. It's important to check your local bylaws before you begin.

Chickens are easy to raise, they are not demanding and don't require the kind of vet care an average household pet would require. Chickens earn their keep; they make awesome fertilizer for your garden and if free range or controlled outside of their coup, they are great for weed and pest control. Chickens make nutritious tasty eggs! My sister calls eggs liquid chickens..eww

Planning a coup is the first step to building your flock. Make sure you give your chickens at lease 2-3 square feet per bird, if possible go for three feet as Chanteclers are a larger breed. For the outside run plan on 5 square feet per bird. We have a small coup on the back of our property we are not using at this time because we expanded our flock this spring. We recycled wooden skid that we got for free, into board and batten for the coup. I have a 10' x 10' shed that offers ample space, remember more is not always better because your birds will huddle together at night for warmth and safety. If the coup is large it's a lot more difficult to warm up the space in the winter months. We have a heat lamp hanging in the centre of the ceiling in the coup for the real cold -30c evenings. I doubt they need it, but the kids and I see them as pets and worry someone might be getting cold out there. We also have a nesting bar made from 2 x 4 which the girl's use to perch on when the sun starts going down.

The Coup
The Coup

We use the Deep Litter Method for the flooring of our coup. The shed floor is plywood for strength and longevity. We allow the litter, which consists of pine shavings to build up through the summer months in order to create an insulated floor. The pine litter and bird droppings compost, producing free heat for the coup! Because the bedding gets quit thick, I added a pine board in front of the door to make sure the bedding doesn't fall out when the birds leave the coup or someone goes in to feed them.

We purchase an organic lay mash from our local farmers co-op, and can also buy it direct with some planning to bring the cost down. I know some folks who make their own mash, but for now it requires too much thought for me to balance all the required nutrients. It's in the plans for next spring though. You can make homemade chicken feeder and wateres, or purchase them at your local farm supply store. I've gone to Princess Auto when they chicken supplies on clearance and get them for next to nothing.

Nesting Boxes
Nesting Boxes

You'll need nesting boxes! One for every 3 hens. Nesting boxes need to be tall enough for your hen to stand up, Chanteclers need about 18” x 18”. We use pine shavings as nest bedding, change when necessary. Across the front of your nesting box you should put a narrow piece of wood to help prevent eggs from rolling out when the hen leaves the box or another hen enters.

Chickens make great composters, they love kitchen scrapes! Most veggies and bread, cracked corn, wheat and oats are a go.

Once you have your coup all set up, it's time to bring the birds home. Depending on your breeder you may have to order in advance, and long before you think you might want them. Because Chanteclers are a rare breed they are not always easily found. One of the reasons we choose to go with Chanteclers, besides all the wonderful traits I mentioned above, was because of their statue listed as critical according to Rare Breeds Canada and by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Raising backyard flocks of Chanteclers can help increase the population if you opt to breed, making it easier to share birds with other Rural and Urban chicken farmers.

Chickens on a small scale are not a nuisance to your neighbours, they are not stinky vermin that carry disease. I bet many people have stories to tell about the local cat or dog that roams freely around the neighbourhood leaving it's poop all over the place, not the best fertilizer. I can also wager that a neighbour or two in your neck of the woods has a dog that likes to bark into the wee hours of the night and early morning. Chicken are quiet, social, clean and very giving creatures!

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Comments 13 comments

leelee66 4 years ago

I would like a small coop one day..or nice to have a bigger one and sell the organic eggs...I'd like to set up a pasture system where they have fresh grass to go to on a rotating basis. Thanks for the info:)


earthybirthymama profile image

earthybirthymama 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Teresa,

Thank you for your interest in my Hubs and your comments. When we first started raising chickens for eggs we had Shaver sex-link. I'm not sure where in the world you are? But you can check out Breed Information on the ALBC Conservation Priority List website http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html#chickens Chantecler Chicken are on the critical list. There is a link below: Breed Associations and Clubs where you can do a search.

Cheers

Grace


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

earthbirthymama,

Love your hub. I have a similar one on my hub pages but we also raise birds for meat! Love your coup and the fact that your chickens do well in cold climates. We mainly use Shaver sex-link for our egg birds but we like to have a mixed flock and are just rebuilding after a disaster with racoons. Where can I order these Chantecler Chickens. I have not seen them from our local co-ops supplier? Great hub. Voted up.


earthybirthymama profile image

earthybirthymama 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi tirelesstraveler,

Thank you. A house with a coup already up and running would make a house more attractive to me as well, much of the work is done for you.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 5 years ago from California

Congratulation on your nomination. Looking at houses for sale yesterday, we saw one that had a chicken coop and 6 chickens in the yard. On the flyer for the house it said "The chickens stay. Free eggs for life". My realtor lives on a small farm down the road. I clean her coop for fertilizer. Completely agree that it is wonderful fertilizer. Nice hub


somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

Yes, I too believe the climates are changing and if you have read any of my hubs you will know why . . . those of us that are able to sustain ourselves with limited resources may find the living easier to deal with.

Look forward to reading more!


earthybirthymama profile image

earthybirthymama 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi ripplemaker and somethgblue,

Thank you for the kind words.

Funny you mention my neck of the woods, zones are changing due to climate change we can grow more things these days and I bet we will be able to grow a whole lot more in the decades to come. somethblue you've inspired another Hub!

Cheers

Grace


somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

This exactly the kind of articles I like to read very informative to the point and practical, also I'm interested in this kind of thing. Since you live in Canada do you have any knowledge of wild plants that are edible in that region and what garden plants do the best in your neck of the woods . . . ?

Great Hub!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Being able to raise your own chickens to have organic eggs is the ideal. I confess I am not into it but would love to buy eggs from you... :)

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To all who would like to read and vote, this way please: http://ladyjane1.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/Room...


earthybirthymama profile image

earthybirthymama 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi SimeyC,

Wow, I have two dogs,three cats, lol not a hairless rat, but I do have a furry bunny! Thank you for the welcome.


SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA

Hmmmmm fresh eggs! I'd love to do this, but with two dogs, three cats and a hairless rat I think this may be just a little hard for me! Great hub! Congrats on the nomination and welcome to Hubpages.


earthybirthymama profile image

earthybirthymama 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Simone,

It's a great hobby! I'm fairly certain Chantecler Chickens would love hanging out in California :)

Cheers

Grace


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

I dream of doing this someday. Your coop looks amazing, and the Chantecler Chickens look great! I might need a different breed in California... or maybe not! Thanks for outlining the basics.

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