Flocking Chickens

Polish top hat

Polish top hat

Flocking is not misspelled! Flocking as defined by Wikipedia

Having a small flock of laying hens is a great way to save money and have all the ‘Fresh’ eggs you and your family can eat. Excess eggs can be sold helping to off set feeding cost.

Silky Bantam Hen

Silky Bantam Hen

How much do they cost?  Chicks can be purchased for as little as $1.50 each, slightly more when buying sexed birds. Ten to fifteen week old pullets and laying hens range from $3.00 to $10.00 each depending on the breed, age and availability in your local area.

How many hens do I need? Two(2) to six(6) hens will supply all the eggs an average size family can eat. In general each hen will lay from 200 to 250 eggs a year. That’s about 4 or 5 eggs a week. A flock of 3 hens will produce 1 dozen eggs or more a week. {I have read that a hen will lay one egg every 27 hours.}

White Leghorn, egg laying machine

White Leghorn, egg laying machine

What breed is best for me? Chickens fall into 3 general classes. Bantams, layers and multi-purpose breeds. Generally speaking, Bantams are miniature copies of the standard breeds. They are small to very small in size, fair layers of ‘small’ eggs. Layers are light weight birds at laying age but produce the most eggs for the amount of feed you provide. Multi-purpose birds are the heaviest and also good egg layers making them a duel purpose bird. They provide a good supply of eggs and are good meat birds as well. McMurray Hatchery website contains a ton of useful information on different breeds that I am sure you will find useful.

Barred Rock multi-purpose breed

Barred Rock multi-purpose breed

What do I need to house my chickens? Number one consideration is safety. Almost everything likes to eat chicks, chickens and their eggs. Dogs, cats, rats, skunks, raccoons, opossums, hawks, owls and even snakes. With this said, you will need a chicken coop that is predator proof to lock your chickens in after they go to roost at night. I have included a number of website links below, that contain very useful information on building coops or converting an existing structure for use as a chicken coop.

How-Stuff-Works

Freds Fine Fowl

Back Yard Chickens

The Back Yard Farm

What do I feed my chickens? If your chickens are confined to a small coop it will be necessary to provide them with a balanced commercial chicken feed. This is the most expensive method of feeding you backyard flock. If you have a fenced yard they can be allowed to free range over your yard eating weeds, grass, seeds and insects of all kinds as well as ridding your yard of most insects. You will need to provide very little supplemental feed for a healthy happy flock.

Your backyard flock will provide you with eggs, meat and a lot of enjoyment. Providing you do not get any roosters, chickens are very quite, easy to raise and handle and will provide you and your family with many hours of enjoyment. {A rooster is not need for hens to lay eggs.}

Start planning NOW for you small backyard flock. Purchase pullets or laying hens this fall when other growers start reducing their flock size for winter months. Good eating and above all plan to survive on your backyard farm.

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3 responses to “Flocking Chickens

  1. Pingback: A Walk Down Memory Lane – Assorted Town & Country Post | Town & Country Gardening

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  3. Pingback: Now More Than Ever – You Need A Home Garden – 2011 Growing Season | Town & Country Farming

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