Monthly Archives: June 2017

Steps for Raising Chickens

Do you want to start raising chickens in your home? However, there are certain factors you need to consider before you bring chicks into your home. You will need to have enough information on how to handle the chicks until they are fully grown to produce meat or eggs depending on why you’re keeping them. To make sure you’re successful with your chicks, here are six steps on how to rear chickens from home:

Step 1: Get the chicks. There are a few things to consider when buying chicks. First, you need to buy the chicks that are right for what you want. Ensure that you buy them from certified hatcheries that would reasonably certify the sex of the chicks. This is very important since you don’t want to end up with a lot of roosters.

Step 2: Keep them indoors. Your chicks are tiny and delicate. Therefore, make sure they stay indoors for the first four weeks. Keep them warm, with a temperature of about thirty degrees Celsius. You will have to make sure they are properly fed and they have sufficient water all the time. The cage must be kept clean. Chicks can be fed on a chick feeder for up to eight to ten weeks. Mix their drinking water with electrolytes to make sure they are healthy. They need special care at this tender age.

Step 3: Time to take them outdoors. By now they’re fully feathered. It’s now time to take them outside. However, before you take them outdoors, make sure that it’s safe for them. Make certain that their coop is properly built to keep any predators out.

Step 4: How to care for them after ten weeks. Your chicks are almost full-grown now and a few things are bound to change. You will have to increase the amount of water by almost five times and the same goes for the food. They don’t need a lot of proteins now and feeding them a layer crumble will be good. Give them ground oyster shells to strengthen the eggshells and corn so their bodies can generate heat during the cold winter months. Don’t give them garlic, salty foods, chocolate, dried beans and rice because these foods would lead to death. Feed them on kitchen scrapes, overripe tomatoes, arugula and such like foods.

Step 5: Time for the first egg. At the age of between eighteen to twenty-four months, your chickens are ready to start laying eggs. You will have to keep the coop clean to avoid the eggs from getting stained by the food and body waste from the chickens. Ensure that you collect the eggs on a daily basis.

Step 6: Know what to do when the chickens get sick. Chickens may get sick due to a number of reasons. Some chicken diseases are so fatal they can wipe out a whole flock. Make sure you have a reputable vet in your area that can treat and immunize them as needed.

Urban Farming

Do you live in a city and want to raise chickens, ducks, or turkeys? In most cities in the US there are livestock ordinances that dictate whether you are allowed to raise poultry, or do not. You can do a quick search on the internet for your city’s animal ordinance. That ordinance will let you know if you can have fowl, and what you need to do in order to keep them; this may include permits, coop specifications, if certain fowl are allowed or not (roosters), and the consequences for not following the ordinance.

My experience with urban farming has been very enjoyable, even in the winter when we have to trek through freezing temperatures, wind, sleet and snow. Every morning before I get ready to go let the chickens and ducks out of their coops I look out my kitchen window and see them eagerly awaiting my presence. Our pet chickens, ducks, muscovy, quail, and turkeys bring me joy. They each have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. The best thing is the eggs. They are beautiful, green, blue, cream colored shells with rich orange colored yolks. I find that the eggs are better quality and taste like real eggs versus the eggs you buy at the grocery store. Chickens and ducks do not lay much or at all during the winter. From my experience you will most likely have to buy eggs in the winter.

Urban farming also involves growing your own food. Whether you want a strawberry patch or grow your own vegetables. The possibilities are endless! But beware! If you use your own compost for the soil in your garden beds, be prepared to have unplanned plants grow in your neatly planted beds. The best practice for finding out what can grow in your area is to research where your city is on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This tool will help you learn what plants will do well in your area. If you want to really get into Urban Farming, do a soil test. You can buy these at Lowe’s or Amazon. These will tell you the composition of your soil and help you level out the playing field so to speak, when it comes to what nutrients are needed for your crops to thrive.

If you are planning on selling your crops at a local farmer’s market, I would recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office and seeing if they have any classes you can take on the Good Agricultural Practices and take it! It will be very informational about the correct way to harvest crops as well as the do’s and don’ts for what you can and cannot sell. I would also look into any classes they may offer, there are also grants out there to offer agricultural classes for free. I would highly recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office for classes in general. Knowledge is power.

Beginners Guide For Keeping Chickens

Housing

Chicken coops need to serve several functions. They need to be able to keep the chickens sheltered from bad weather as rain and cold are two big enemies of chickens, as well as heat in some areas. Chicken coops need to be able to house chickens in a way that’s healthy and clean, with good ventilation. Plus, chicken coops also need to keep chickens safe from predators. Ventilation is one problem that’s hard to solve- and many people confuse being out of drafts for good ventilation. Good ventilation means that the hot wet air naturally generated in the coop by the birds and their droppings can leave the coop easily. And finally the coop needs to be predator proof. There are all sorts of predators that want to eat chickens – from raccoons to hawks. Snakes like to eat eggs and baby chicks. Even the neighbor’s dog can be a serious threat. The coop should be well constructed with good locks and fencing that can’t be ripped apart or manipulated/mauled by a predator. Cracks and holes should be sealed if possible. A well fenced chicken yard is a good start to keeping out most predators and a covered and protected run keeps the chickens safe from aerial predatory birds.

The general rule on space per chicken is thus: For the coop you need 4 square feet per standard size bird and 2 square feet per bantam. In the run you need 8 square feet per standard sized chicken and 6 per bantam. And of course, the more room you can provide in their living quarters, the better.

Food

You may find yourself sampling different chicken feeds to find one your flock likes best. Chicks need a special food, and layers need another kind. Thankfully the info on what to feed and when is always printed right on the bag so you know what you’re feeding. Feeders designed for chickens are readily available. Whatever way to choose to offer your feed to your flock is up to you, but the same rules apply to food- food has to be kept from getting poop in it, and it has to stay dry and fresh. And, it needs to be available to laying flocks at all times. Water is also something that chickens need constant access to and it needs to be clean and fresh and always available. Chicken waters are easy to find. Some have to be heated to keep water from freezing solid in the winter. There are lots of DIY watering systems available to look at on the internet, as chicken keepers are never satisfied with watering systems. But, a basic bucket cleaned and filled daily works for most.

Disease and Overall Health

Unfortunately, chickens are prone to a lot of parasites and sickness, a lot like people and other pets are. Chickens also do things like eat their own eggs, or even cannibalize. Chickens need to stay engaged and mentally healthy, too. A clean living environment that is well ventilated and plenty of clean water and good food is a good start to helping keep sickness at bay. Having a large space to graze and peck at is necessary – keeping in mind the general requirements for minimum space needs will also help keep birds happy and healthy.

Ways To Keep Out Digging Animals

When you install a fence you are able to get rid of large animals from getting into your garden or out of an enclosed area. While this is the case, you can’t fence out all the animals. Others such as rabbits and dogs are able to dig under the fence thus get into the farm or out of the enclosed area. The cool thing is that there are plenty of ways of preventing them from digging out. Here are some of the ways:

  • Install footer

A footer is a unit made from welded or galvanized wire and often installed under the fence. The mesh should extend in an L-shape under the ground thus preventing animals from digging under it. While it’s recommended that you bury the footer under the soil, you don’t have to do if you can’t dig due to roots, rocky soil, or foundation plants. If you can’t dig the surface lay the footer below the soil surface and secure it with heavy rocks or landscaping staples.

  • Install a horizontal board

Here you need to attach a board at the bottom of the fence. Sometimes large animals can move it from its place. To secure it dig a narrow ditch under the fence and place the board. For the board to resemble the rest of the fence paint it in your favorite color.

  • Place rocks and boulders

Rocks and boulders are effective in areas with long gaps that run along the fence. If there are rocks in your farm, use rocks to build a retaining wall. You can also use them to create a rock garden. If the gap is small, place a group of rocks and then fill in around the rocks with dirt. To give the surface a beautiful look, consider planting flowers.

  • Fence the area with poultry netting

Also known as chicken wire, poultry netting is an inexpensive way of closing the gap under the fence. When making the purchase, buy netting material with small gaps in order to keep even the smallest animals from squeezing through. To keep out digging animals, extend the net below the soil surface.

  • Conclusion

These are tips on how to keep out digging animals from your farm. Regardless of the method that you use, install the unit properly. This calls for you to ensure that it’s installed by an experienced professional. When buying the wire netting, ensure that you buy it from a reputable, well-known store. If looking for high quality enclosure mesh for zoo animals we have plenty of them in our store. We have mesh panel for macaw and many others. Visit the given links to know more.