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January/February 2020

Chickens, a bimonthly magazine from the editors of Hobby Farms, , provides expert advice about the nutrition, health, care and comfort of keeping a single backyard bird or a large country flock, as well as the care, collection and consumption of their eggs and meat

United States
EG Media
Les mer
6 Utgaver

i denne utgaven

5 min.
great egg layers

Egg-laying chicken breeds tend to fall into two categories: heritage and hybrid. Heritage-breed chickens have been around since your grandparents’ time and often have multipurpose qualities, while hybrid chickens are commercially developed for a specific purpose. Some layers have both a heritage strain and a variety that has been commercially bred for production — not necessarily hybrid, but commercialized — so be sure to ask your source which you’re getting if this distinction matters to you. Heritage Chickens “[Heritage] breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment, and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture,” according to The Livestock Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to protect livestock and poultry breeds…

7 min.
promoting harmony

Harmony in the henhouse is a beautiful thing: no bullying, no manic behavior, just happy chickens coexisting with one another. And it’s not only doable, but it’s not especially difficult to achieve. Here are some ways to make it so. Provide Lots of Room Crowding is at the root of most henhouse misbehavior. Most experts say a chicken needs 2 to 3 square feet of floor space in the coop and 8 to 10 feet in an outside run or 7 1/2 square feet per bird kept in full confinement, but these are bare minimums. The more personal space chickens have to stretch, stroll about and avoid dominant birds, the better life is. This is especially true if they live in confinement full time. Most sources recommend 8 inches of roosting space per…

1 min.
choosing chickens

If you want to promote harmony in the henhouse, choose a docile, nonflighty breed that adapts to confinement as well as free-range situations. These breeds apply: Ameraucanas (said by the chicken owners we polled to be the calmest breed of all), Araucanas, Australorps, Barnvelders, Brahmas, Buckeyes, Chanteclers, Cochins, Dorkings, Faverolles, Hollands, Houdans, Javas, Jersey Giants, Naked Necks, New Hampshires (roosters can be aggressive), Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, Polish, Rhode Island Reds (roosters can be aggressive), Rhode Island Whites, Silkies, Sultans, Sussex, Welsumers and Wyandottes. Flighty breeds — this includes most in the Mediterranean class — tend not to do well in confinement, and their higher energy level may lead to bullying. Aggressive breeds such as Aseels, Cubalayas, Malay, Modern Game and Old English Game shouldn’t be mixed with more docile breeds, as even…

7 min.
insect impact

An efficient, sustainable homestead — whether in the country or the city — makes use of surplus resources that are close at hand. And what better qualifies as a surplus resource close at hand than bugs? And what do your chickens like more than eating bugs? Nothing. So turn your outdoor — or indoor — bounty of bugs into a supplement to that organic chicken feed. You’ll make fewer trips to the feed-supply store once you have a few systems set up. Just be sure to avoid using pesticides, because you are what you eat. If your hens eat nasty chemicals in those bugs, then you could become a walking superfund site. This means you must forgo insecticides and turn your problem into a poultry food source by spending your money…

6 min.
expansion plans

With thousands of years of genetic tinkering, humans have created a wide range of options when bringing home baby … chicks, that is. Given the large number of breeds to choose from, it’s no wonder first-time chicken-keepers (or even those that are experienced in “all-things-chicken”) can become overwhelmed with the decision-making process. It’s best to define your goals before heading to your local feed-supply store or visiting a chicken hatchery’s website. Is egg production your main purpose for owning chickens? Some breeds lay more than others. Do you have a small backyard in the city with zoning considerations? Certain breeds will adapt to smaller spaces better than others. So, when making the decision to start (or grow) your flock, make sure these eight characteristics are at the top of your list. Heirloom…

1 min.
pick up chicks

Where to source your chickens: Mail order? Feed-supply store? Hatch your own? Each option has its pros and cons. Purchasing through the mail/internet is convenient. A bunch of cute, fluffy chicks will show up on your doorstep without much effort on your part. The downside of this option is they will come in batches with more chicks than you may want or need. Although this issue may be able to be overcome by sharing an order with friends/neighbors also looking to get chicks. Visiting the local feed-supply store gives you the chance to develop a relationship with people that will have knowledge of what breeds do well in the region where you live. They also have the supplies you will need to be successful while raising your flock: feed, heat lamps, waterers…