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Backyard Chickens = Fresh Eggs
Chickens As Pets
Are you considering having chickens in your back yard so you can have your own freshly laid eggs ?Would you enjoy fresh farm eggs with bright yellow yolk laid today just outside your door ?
It is a special feeling when you are living in the country with paddocks surrounding you , standing in the kitchen preparing a meal looking outside at the chickens wandering around the garden pecking at what they can find, Jack the dog stretched out contentedly letting them walk by him!
When I wanted an egg for breakfast I would go out the backdoor to a tree that had a deep hole part way up , Put my hand under whichever chicken was in there & pull out a freshly laid egg !
They were delicious ! We had a chicken coop, however a while back we stopped finding eggs in there which worried me for a while.
After a long search of the garden, under the house etc much to my surprise I discovered a hole in the tree with over 20 eggs in there !
We did the egg test & were able to keep a lot of the eggs to keep and use .
Fresh laid eggs!
What to feed your chickens
We saved all our food scraps & they especially loved pecking on corn cobbs as well as our dog Jacks dinner if he had some left!
As well as scraps we would buy a large bag of chicken pellets & grains as well as grit for them so the eggshells are hard.
We always had fresh water for them to drink.
What age do chickens start to lay ?
IT depends on the breed you have , some such as Brahmas would be nearer 6 months when they start laying but RIRs would be around 18-20 weeks ie 4-5 months. Good quality layers food is essential so is free ranging and access to grass, chickens love to eat grass and this is what gives their yolks that lovely deep yellow colour and the delicious taste.
If you are not in a hurry for your chickens to start laying then you might like to raise your chickens from a very young age & that can be fun to watch them grow up !
We got our chickens just after they had started to lay eggs & had about 12 chickens all up so I sold the extra eggs as we had plenty to spare .
The Egg test !
Did you know you can test an egg and get an approximatation of its age? All you need are the eggs and a bowl of cold water.
Gently drop the egg into the bowl of water. If it:
- sinks to the bottom and stays there, it is about three to six days old.
- Sinks, but floats at an angle, it's more than a week old.
- Sinks, but then stands on end, it's about two weeks old.
- Floats, it's too old and should be discarded.
You might be considering breeding chickens as a hobby .
After leaving your rooster with the hen or hens for a few days stop collecting the eggs and let them sit on their eggs in their nests. Do this when you notice a hen not leaving her nest, and puffing up her feathers. This means she is broody, and ready to sit on eggs. Make sure that the nests are on level ground, so that when chicks do hatch, they do not fall out. In addition, you may actually want to separate a low-ranking hen from the rest of the flock, so that she may brood in peace.
Make sure the chicken coop is kept warm with no drafts & the hens have plenty of clean food and water nearby at all times .
If there are any neglected eggs make sure you incubate them yourself.
Feed the new chicks chick starter food, plenty of water. Don't neglect the hens - keep up their hen food as well. The mother may actually eat her own chicks, so keep a close eye on them, and have a brooder ready in case you have to take the chicks from her. Keep all the new babies safe from predators and other chickens; it is possible that others will peck at them. However, if you provide plenty of space and outdoor roaming areas, this will be much less of a problem.
Have fun naming them & watching them grow up!
Chickens wherever they are in town or in the country need a good looked after chicken coop for protection from foxes and the weather at night even if you allow your chickens to wander freely during the day .
Ideally the chicken coop it will be tall enough for you to walk in & collect the eggs as well as clean the coop out on a regular basis & change the straw or whatever you have used for the chickens bedding .
However if you don't have enough room for that you can have smaller ones like the one in the picture below.
- Types of Chickens. A Review of Different Breeds of Chickens.
There are an astounding number of different breeds of chickens. Here we review the most popular and interesting types of chickens, with chickens pictures and useful info