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This guide to raising egg laying chickens will help you through the process of getting started with your own flock, so that you can enjoy fresh eggs produced right in your back yard.
Why Keep Egg Laying Chickens?
Egg laying chickens are easy to care for and will reward you with delicious fresh eggs, as well as hours of entertainment.
You’ll know that your eggs will be 100% fresh and 100% free from the drug residues prevalent in commercially farmed eggs. Plus you’ll no longer be buying the products of an industry that keeps battery hens in horrific conditions.
A small flock of egg laying hens doesn’t take up a lot of room and if you supplement their feed with kitchen scraps they won’t cost you much money, either. Fresh, green feed can also be easily grown for your chickens, to ensure they have a steady supply of healthy food.
Chickens are a lot of fun! They are friendly animals and will enjoy your company, softly clucking and cooing when they are content. They are very curious too. Ours free range and they love to come and poke around in the house when the door is open. Of course we chase them out quickly, so we don’t wind up with a house full of chicken poop!
Children will get a lot of enjoyment from taking care of chickens and they will learn some valuable skills at the same time.
Our daughter is the chicken chief in our household. She has been taking care of our hens since she was 8 years old and she does a great job. The hens know that when they see our girl outside, they are going to get something good to eat. It’s hilarious to watch them running to her as fast as their legs will carry them.
Hens usually begin laying eggs when they are about six months old, although if they come of age when the days are short they probably won’t start laying until the following spring, unless you place a light source inside their coop.
Male chickens are called cockerels or roosters. You don’t need a rooster in order for your hens to lay eggs. But if you want to raise chicks from your eggs then you will need to have a male around to fertilize the eggs. Many people also believe that fertile eggs are healthier for you then infertile eggs.
Some people like to keep a rooster with their hens, especially if they are free ranging birds.
Why Keep A Rooster?
A rooster will take responsibility for the safety of the flock, sounding the alarm if danger is near and will try to defend his girls from predators.
The addition of a rooster will allow you to breed and raise your own chicks, to replace older layers once they are no longer productive. You can also sell chicks for a small income.
And roosters make a stunning addition to a flock with their decorative plumage and strutting ways.
Please use the links below to learn how to care for your flock of egg producers.
- What you should consider before you commit to keeping chickens
- How to provide safe housing for your hens
- Which breeds are the best egg laying chickens
- Buying the right number of birds
- Where to buy your hens
- What do chickens eat?
- How to get eggs all year round
- How to clip wings
- Treating worms in chickens
- How to spot illness and injuries
- How to dispatch unproductive hens
Author: This article was written for Self Sufficiency HQ by Barbara Wright of Stanford, Kentucky.