Chicken Farming

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Chicken Farming

Raising chickens should not be a fuss. There are actually several reasons why people want to cultivate chickens in their backyard. Some of these are written below.

A chicken’s appetite is incredible. They can eat almost everything, even their own kind! You can now say bye-bye to those unwanted leftovers being left rotten in your fridge. You feel less guilty of throwing them out into the garbage can. Plus, you can save on chicken feed. But be very careful with what you give for it may be their last supper. Tone down on the onions and garlic.

Who doesn’t love eggs? Have them boiled, scrambled, sunny side up, etc. Admit it, pets that live comfortably inside your houses don’t give anything more than barks, meows, purrs, and sometimes, chirp. Fishes, in general, can be eaten, but who would want to eat Goldie? None of these domesticated animals produce something edible. Well, chickens, on the other hand, have lots of benefits. One of the many benefits chickens give is their egg.

You can eat fresh eggs right from the source. Either raw (good for pregnant women) or cooked, eggs taken from chickens minutes or hours ago are more tasty and nutritious than those purchased in the grocery store. You’ll notice the texture and color is way different than that of the fresh ones.

Your lawn or backyard could’ve never looked better. Chickens love to freely walk around. Chickens also love to peck on anything they see that can be considered as food. And what is food to them? Possibly anything that’s organic. If you let your chickens roam around your space, you’ll find out how reliable they can be. They eat pests living in your backyard – grubs, beetles, insects, earwigs, and anything that comes close.

After the digestion has set its due, they will transform what they’ve eaten into poop. But this is not just any kind of poop but a treasure called natural fertilizer. And you know what natural fertilizers do right? They keep the soil healthy for plants to grow. Cool.

Unlike dogs that need combing and brushing everyday to keep their fur alive and shiny, chickens doesn’t need such soulful treatment. All you have to do is provide them their daily needs like food and water. You also have to clean their pad at least twice a month and change the beddings too. In return, you can gather all the eggs. Aside from just gathering, you can also start a small business of your own by supplying poultry stores with fresh eggs or chicken meat.

Now you can save on mowing your own lawn by getting yourself chickens! For chickens, grasses, weeds, and leaves are treats. It’s like a lifetime dessert offering. It’s like having a cow in your own backyard. They will dig through whatever it is without even complaining about the hard work. Chickens will clip it then clean it all at the same time.

With these reasons, why bother getting yourself a dog or a cat? No offense but they can’t even water the plants nor lay eggs for breakfast. All they do is prove to their masters that they are either one’s best friends. In cases of chickens, you can have a best friend, a lawn mower, a supplier of organic fertilizer and an egg producer all in one.

Poultry are kept for the production of eggs and meat. Poultry are kept in most areas of the world and provide an acceptable form of animal protein to most people throughout the world. During the last decade, many developing countries have adopted intensive poultry production in order to meet the demand for this form of animal protein. Intensively kept poultry is seen as a way of rapidly increasing animal protein supplies for rapidly increasing urban populations: poultry are able to adapt to most areas of the world, are relatively low priced, reproduce rapidly, and have a high rate of productivity. Poultry in the industrial system are housed in confinement with the aim of creating optimal conditions of temperature and lighting, and in order to manipulate day-length to maximise production.

The term broiler is applied to chicks that have especially been bred for rapid growth. Broiler strains are based on hybrid crosses between Cornish White, New Hampshire and White Plymouth Rock. In broiler production there are 2 main production phases: (1) keeping of parent stock and production of day-old-chicken (d.o.c.); and (2) growing and finishing of broilers.

Rhode Island Red, Cock and Hen in a free-range environment. Photo FAO, DAD:ISLayers are efficient egg producers, breeds used for egg production in the industrial production system are almost entirely based on the White Leghorn and Rhode Island Red. Selection and crossbreeding techniques have resulted in productive laying hens producing 15 – 19 kg of eggs per year. In layer production, sometimes 2 phases of production are recognised: (1) growing phase up to approximately 140 days; and (2) productive phase from 140 – 560 days.

The large volumes of waste cause soil, water and air pollution. Most effects are caused by the transfer from manure of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and heavy metals (Zn and Cd). Emissions from manure arise in the chicken houses, during storage, after application on soils or when manure is simply disposed of. The extent of emissions depend on the systems adopted for housing and for manure management.

Surplus quantities of poultry manure have a negative effect on soil, water and air. The advantage of poultry manure compared to manure from most other species is that it generally has a higher dry matter content. As a result of the higher dry matter content, losses through evaporation and leakage are lower than with other forms of manure. Inaddition, transport cost are lower as well as processing cost in case of drying the manure.

In industrial poultry production systems uniform new breeds are developed and used. The role of traditional indigenous breeds is diminishing and there is a danger of extinction of these breeds and loss of animal biodiversity.

There have been thoughts on what to do with your flock daily. Raising chickens can be quite easy but also needs maintenance to keep their environment safe and clean for both your chickens and your own happiness. Some owners hesitate to do such a grueling task. But in reality it is one of the easiest works you can do to give your chickens the welcome they deserve.

In this section, you’ll learn about what to do and what not to do daily.

  • Keep their feed and water containers full at all times. Do not let them run out of these two essentials. They need these two things everyday to live. If you tend to leave your house for a couple of days, be sure to leave sufficient food and water so that your chickens don’t run out of their needs and will not reach the point of picking on each other.
  • Clean their water canister. If their water becomes cloudy or if they sensed that it’s already dirty, they will refuse to drink it and in the long run, they will become dehydrated and eventually conjure illness and die.
  • Every morning, observe for their health status. Look at their physical attitude. Do they look bright, active, and healthy? If they don’t look anything close to normal, then you should call or see the vet to ask for suggestions and answers.
  • If you are the type who loves collecting eggs for breakfast or for selling, the moment they are laid, you can already get them from the coop. Put the eggs inside the fridge to maintain its freshness.
  • From time to time, you will have the chance to visit their coop and look at your chickens. Before you leave, make sure that things are safe inside and outside the pen. If you see rat holes, block it. If everything seems fine, be sure to close the door. As dusk comes, that’ll be the time when all the chickens are in their nest. Not a single chicken in sight. Secure the area so that predators will not have the opportunity to get in.

Unlike other pets, you can leave the chickens for days. You have to keep in mind that they have to be provided with enough food and water supply. If you came back and found eggs, it’s still okay to collect. It still has its freshness.

Here’s a fact that you should know about an egg’s freshness: it will take you at least 12 days from the day that it was laid before it matures and an embryo develops inside.

Another thing that you should know about eggs is that upon collecting them, there will be chances that you’ll see slight smudges of dirt or feces on the egg’s surface. Do not attempt too scrub the dirt off no matter how the urge is killing you. Because one thing about eggs is that they are not ejected to this world without protective barriers.

Bloom is the term that is given to the membrane that is located at the surface of the egg itself. The use of the bloom is to protect the egg from bacteria and microorganisms that may insist on penetrating through the shell. If you scrub this, you take away the protective covering.

But if you are that type of person who wanted things to always be spiffy clean, like that of the obsessive-compulsive type, you can clean the dirty egg provided it will be under warm water and in a very gentle touch.

There are varieties of chickens to raise. Choosing a breed will depend on the kind of chicken that you want to raise. There are chickens that seem healthy but their egg-laying capacity is frail while other chickens give out lots of eggs every day. Before finally choosing the right chicken to raise, you have to consider a lot of things.

Different angles must be taken into consideration like the place where your chickens will live. Do you have a big backyard? Is it wide enough to let your chosen number of chickens to roam? You have to think about this factor because chickens differ in breeds – some are small and others are large.

Also, another factor is the environment you are living in. If you’re living along the equator, it is expected that the temperature within that place be, most of the time, scorching hot. But if you’re living somewhere up above or down below, it becomes colder. Now, which of the two are you?

There are cross breeds that can resist whatever the weather that may come. Production Reds is one of many typical examples. They can be tamed and are resistant to cold temperature. That is why, when you live in a place where it’s always cold, this breed is the right one for you.

Bantams can be a little bit hardheaded. They love to fly around, a very good reason why pens can be worthless. These breeds are tough but pretty for their fluffiness is incomparable. They are not good in laying eggs but if they do, their product is very small and is not advisable for selling.

The Pekins and Silkies are two of the best choices when it comes to laying eggs. They come in various colors and types. If you try to crossbreed a silkie with a cochin bantam, you will have a wonderful breed because the outcome is a kind which never bit, hurt or clawed anyone as proven by top breeders.

Be careful with purebred chicken meat because they are very fragile, they tend to choke their own food, and are prone to having heart attacks without any probable cause.

If you are looking for a cheap egg-laying chicken, you can settle with a leghorn. Although you have to eventually clip their wings because they are flighty. Also, they are a bit scrawny so watch out! Some breeders dare not choose a leghorn because they are ugly and are high strung.

Looking for a chicken that’s sweet? Try cross breeding Cochin bantams. Breeds that came from a Cochin bantam’s bloodline are amazing because of certain qualities like sweetness, manners, and you have a very good breed that can easily be noticed in exhibitions.

Barred Plymouth Rocks are also one of the top breeds. It’s like the best deal ever, all in one package. Why? Well, during summer time, they lay almost every day. They have a healthy and good weight, are astonishingly pretty, and are not vicious.

Americaunas have an impeccable beauty that is more radiant because of their feathers. They have a color resembling a falcon’s – dark, golden feathers. Their beaks are almost similar with a falcon’s because some breeds have pretty curved beaks. They are indeed beautiful breeds and can withstand the coldness of the night or during wintertime but if you like squeezing eggs out of these breeds, what luck! Sadly, they don’t lay very well.

Breeds that are unusual need more attention from the breeders so their breeds can survive. Choose the right chicken that you will raise.

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Chicken Raising Terms

  • Bantam – chicken variety that is about half the size of the standard breed of chickens. These breeds are usually bred for ornamental reasons.
  • Bedding – can either be shavings of wood, haystack pile, or newspaper that are added to the floor of the coop and inside a nest box. The purpose of this is for absorption of droppings and odor of chicken poop. It also provides as cushion for eggs to be safely ejected from its mother without the worry of breaking it.
  • Brood – this could either mean the hens incubating their chicks or a flock of baby chickens.
  • Broodiness – a chicken’s desire to incubate their babies – unfertilized or fertilized. Broodiness can make an egg hatch or spoil it. There are a lot of factors that may arise in being broody. And the mother is a bit moody when she is manifesting broodiness.
  • Candling – is a procedure wherein a candle or a light bulb is used. It is the process letting light shine through an egg to determine if it is fertilized or not. Candling can be useful especially if you are planning to separate the eggs with growing embryo and those that you wanted to sell.
  • Capon – a rooster that has been castrated.
  • Clutch – fertilized egg groups that hens tend to incubate.
  • Cockerel – a juvenile or young rooster.
  • Comb – this is the rubbery, red flat piece of flesh hanging on top of a chicken’s head. Roosters have a more prominent comb than hens. Some who are engaged in cock fighting preferred to cut the rooster’s comb so as not to interfere with the fight.
  • Coop – house of chickens.
  • Crop – Part of a chicken’s digestive system that can be found in the esophagus wherein food is first digested before entering the stomach.
  • Droppings Tray – a tray that collects chicken droppings, which is located under poles for quick disposal.
  • Dust bath – A pattern of chicken behavior wherein they dig a hole in the ground and immerse their bodies in earth that has been loosened. They will get down and dirty until they get satisfied. Bathing in dust is a kind of defense mechanism to protect chickens from lice and mites that may invade their feathers and feed on their blood. A dust bath can either be natural or artificial.
  • Feeder – a container that delivers and holds feeds for chickens.
  • Fertilized egg – an egg that came from mating of a rooster and a hen and is destined to become a baby.
  • Grit – bits of rock or sand bits that chickens tend to eat and is stored in the crop that is important for good digestion.
  • Hackles – chicken’s neck feathers.
  • Hen – female chicken.
  • Incubation – process of egg hatching in which application of heat is required. The eggs that are incubated are those that are already fertilized. Constant heat, usual turning, and an environment that is humid are the essential needs of an egg that also comes in with the period. Incubation takes about 21 days before the eggs are expected to hatch.
  • Layer feed – a feed that is complete and is made for the sake of laying hens.
  • Molt or molting – this is the process of feather shedding and re-growing which happens once a year. When molting season comes, laying season is suspended.
  • Nest box – a box, usually improvised, that is designed for hens to lay their eggs. It is a requirement that for a number amounting to 4 to 5 hens, one nesting box is needed.
  • Non-setter – this is a kind of chicken breed that don’t have any desire to care for their chicks, if they have one, or never wanted to incubate or hatch fertilized eggs.
  • Ornamental breed – a kind of chicken that is used only for ornamental purposes and nothing more. These breeds are the ones that are often seen in fairs and poultry shows. They are appreciated because of their stunning stature and appearance but not used for producing eggs and chicken meat.
  • Poultry show – this is a kind of show that is organized for the sake of judgment. The proudest breeds are displayed and are judged according to their standard breed. This show is organized by the APA or American Poultry Association. Not only chickens are brought to this kind of affair but also other poultries like geese, ducks, turkeys, etc.
  • Production breed – are the kind of breeds that are used for mass production of eggs.
  • Pullet – a juvenile or young hen.
  • Roost – the time when chickens are resting on a pole to sleep. It is also what you call the actual pole where chickens use to perch.
  • Rooster – male chicken.
  • Roosting pole – a perch that is made out of wood. It can be constructed and put inside the coop.
  • Rumples – a kind of chicken breed that does not have feathers on their tails.
  • Run – an area connected to the coop where chickens can roam around freely.
  • Scratch – a treat made for chickens that are composed of different kinds of grains; this is the one that is scattered on the ground. It can also be referred to as the behavior chickens make wherein they use their claws to dig up either worms, bugs, rocks, and tiny little insects that are inside the ground.
  • Sexing – determining the sex of a chicken.
  • Sex link – a type of new chicken wherein the chicken’s sex is soon indicated even before the eggs hatch. Female of the sex link kind is known for producing eggs in a massive state.
  • Shanks – part of the chicken’s legs which can be seen at the bottom.
  • Sickles – what is called to the rooster’s tail feathers.
  • Spur – this is the protrusion that is seen on the shank of a rooster that used for fighting.
  • Started pullet – a hen that has started laying eggs but is only on a juvenile stage.
  • Starter feed – it’s the complete feed that is formulated and made especially for baby chicks.
  • Vent – part of the chicken where poop, eggs and other waste matters pass. It’s like the anus of humans.
  • Waterer – this is the trusty partner of the feeder which delivers and holds the water supply.
  • Wattles – it’s similar to a chicken’s crow but instead of being on top of the head, it’s found under the neck of the chicken. It’s composition is red and has rubber-like flaps.
  • Wheezer – in colloquial terms, it’s what they call a chicken’s butt.
  • Wormer – a kind of medicine that can treat or rid animals of parasites inside their intestines like worms.

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