Sharing your garden with chickens is a bad idea! They can and will eat almost anything that does not eat them first. Anything vegetable or green plant is ‘Food’ to them, carrots, onions, tomato’s, you getting this picture?
Yes, your right, they are really good at controlling insects in your yard and garden. In all the years I have had free run chickens and ducks, I have never found a tick in my yard or on me or my dogs. However, after the insects are eaten they will continue to feed on your plants! What they don’t eat outright they will scratch and dig up looking for insects, worms, grubs and weed seeds.
Being the Frugal kind of guy that I am I have set for hatching a lot of eggs in the past 50 years. Chicken, duck, goose, turkey, quail and pheasant eggs are just a few of the eggs that I have hatched having some success with all of them.
In the U.S.A. it has become rare to find game birds or water fowl on American tables. With that in mind, unless you want to raise a few birds for yard ornaments, take water fowl and game birds off your want to hatch list. Keep in mind that to barn yard birds you look like a feed bucket. When you call them and they come running, they are looking for a easy meal that you provide for them.
A few things you should consider ‘Before’ you get your first hatching egg is the cost of equipment required/needed to be successful in hatching, brooding, feeding to laying or butcher age.
I did this year hatch 14 eggs, grin, I should say my 2 broody hens hatched 14 chicks. A bantam hen can cover and hatch about 7 or 8 bantam eggs or 4 or 5 standard size chicken or duck eggs. By doing this, I have placed all the work on the hen. No worries about incubators or brooders. Rule of thumb I will get 7 – 8 pullets from 14 hatch lings, this is enough to replenish my needs in keeping a small flock of chickens.
Seven or eight hens generally provide all the eggs needed by me and my daughters family. By the way I raise all bantam’s and they lay smallish eggs but are good layers. When frying up bantam eggs where I would cook two standard chicken eggs I now cook three or sometimes even four bantam eggs.
A handy reference for those new at DIY hatching and Brooding chicks.
Hatching and brooding chicks Melvin L. Hamre – Extension Poultry Specialist, University of Minnesota.
If everyone and thing is cooperative, in about 24 weeks new chicks will start laying. Any of the older hens that are no longer laying and the roosters will become the main ingredient in Sunday lunch consisting of a large pan of chicken and dressing 🙂
Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)