My Top 10 Questions About Backyard Chickens!
OK so as you may have read I have just gotten 3 beautiful golden sex link hens and they are awesome! If you haven't read that now you know. When I got my chickens I did quite a bit of research to be sure I could handle it along with my 3 kids and daycare troop and yes it was an exciting journey that I think anyone can handle if they are up for it. So when I got my birds I still had other questions that I am sure everyone else wants to know to.
- Q: Do they lay more than one egg a day? A: Usually a hen will lay an egg a day. It is heard of where a hen can lay up to 2 a day but it is rare. It takes a lot of work and nutrition to build those swee little eggs!
- Q: What else can I feed my hens? A: Besides regular feed or pellets I feed my hens all my fruit and veggie scraps and of course there own helpings of full fruit and veg. I also give them a great mix of bird seed that has sunflower seeds, mullet, cracked corn and much more in it. Chickens will eat anything so there is a lot you need to be careful with as well. Here is a great list: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-treat-chart-the-best-treats-for-backyard-chickens
- Q: How much do chickens poop? A: I have heard people say chickens poop so much it's ridiculous but I have 3 and it takes me about 5 minutes to go through their entire run and collect the poop for the day. Sure their poop is bigger then the average bird but it's not that bad.
- Q: Do chickens stink? A: It depends how many you have and how clean things are. We live in a very hot climate so I try to keep things tidy to keep the smell down. We also have bark mulch on the run floor to make cleanup easy and keep it smelling fresh.
- Q: Are they safe around kids? A: Yes and no. They will most likely run away from little ones but if they do become curious and feel the need to get defensive they could wind up pecking your little ones to get them to back off.
- Q: Can they fly away if they aren't contained? A: They can fly a bit when they have their flight feathers but clipping them is simple and it is best to do in case they try to escape. It does not hurt them to have their wings clipped it is just like clipping a finger nail. There are many tutorials on how to do it I like this one: http://www.permaculture.co.uk/readers-solutions/how-clip-chickens-wings-beginners
- Q: Are they just like other pets? A: You bet! I love my girls, I talk to them and give them hugs and love everyday. Some people take a bit to warm up and so do the chickens but when they do you have a life long relationship with a sweet bird that feeds you!
- Q: Do they have predators? A: Yes, hawks are bad. As well as raccoons, rats, mice, dogs, cats, skunks, foxes, and I am sure there is more. They need protection so if your birds are free range they may wind up someones lunch. My advice, build a safe home for them. I have a completely enclosed run and a tightly sealed roost for my girls to stay safe. When I let them go free range I watch them like their Shepard and keep them safe.
- Q: Do I need a rooster? A: No. A rooster is there for fertilizing eggs and if you live in a neighborhood like I do you had better make sure your neighbors are OK with it before you think about getting one.
- Q: Is it expensive to have hens? A: It is just like any other pet. There are expenses but not only do you have 3 or how ever many pets but these wonderful pets give back. They give you farm fresh eggs, wonderful garden fertilizer, and the joy of teaching your kids that food doesn't always come straight from the grocery store. I love my hens and they love me. If I choose to sell my eggs and fertilizer I can and begin to make money from my girls and even out the costs but that's not why I got them. They give me the best eggs and they are great pets.
So what do you think? I think that we should all become backyard farmers and make it so huge corporations that have abused little shut in hens and other animals get shut down! If you want to know more about that you can go here: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/
I wish my entire town of West Kelowna could become a little farm town that runs it's own little economy and everyone lives just like they used to without all the craziness the rest of the world endures everyday. I know this will never happen but hey I can dream.