The backyard poultry movement is gaining ground! While those in some communities register a double take (or glare in disdain) at backyard hens; let’s own up to it, not too long ago, every thrifty house wife had a hen (or 6) in the backyard. Who doesn’t like the thought of producing at least a portion of our own food? Backyard biddies have gone from bumpkin to stylish vogue in recent years.
So, we say, “Bring on the Clucks!”
HOLD ON! Before you let visions of Omelettes and Frittatas dance in your head: backyard poultry is a serious venture. We are caring for live creatures after all, and while they may be egg laying machines, some care and attention is needed.
First off, what are the regulations in the area you live? Are chickens allowed? Are there “NO ROOSTER” ordinances? (we’re not kidding) While you may enjoy Foghorn Leghorn’s alarm clock each morning…your neighbors may not! Check these things out, it will save you time, money, and headaches later on. As far as the rooster goes…(psssst, we have a secret)…hens don’t need a rooster to lay eggs…honest.
So once zoning and the neighbors are on board ( it’s amazing how many neighbors can be bought with peace-offerings of nest-fresh hen fruit), let’s think housing. It need not be fancy! The main objective is to protect against wind, rain and extreme temperatures. Egg laying houses do not have to be elaborate and many designs can be found. Whatever style you decide upon, provide enough space for the number of chickens it will hold, figuring approx. 4 sq ft. per bird. Also, don’t forget an adequate number of nesting boxes ( 1 per every 3 birds) and roosting perches (old broom handles work great!).
Line the laying house floor with several inches of wood shavings and keep it dry and loose. Replenish with fresh litter regularly.
Once the housing has been secured and the hens are on their way…Barred Rocks and Orpingtons, and Leghorns…oh my!
What are they going to eat…and drink???
At Martin’s we’re here to help and offer you the peace of mind of properly balanced conventional and NON GMO poultry feeds.
Optimal growth and performance depend on quality and balanced nutrition, it supplies all of the nutrients chickens need to grow and thrive and LAY EGGS!
Chickens need carbohydrates for energy, protein for amino acids and fats to supply energy. Vitamins and minerals also contribute to good health.
Store feed away from moisture and direct sunlight. Humidity is the nemesis of bagged feed! Immediately remove stale, rancid or moldy food from feeders and feed storage area. Fresh feed and water = FRESH EGGS!
And while we’re on the H2O subject:
More than anything else, chickens consume water. How much water a chicken drinks equates to how much feed is eaten. When not enough water is available, chickens stop eating. A lack of water negatively impacts egg production and growth.
Chicken feeders and drinkers come in different sizes and styles. Protect them from moisture, wild animals and free flying birds by keeping them in the chicken house.
We also have some of the neatest poultry products in stock! Poultry water nipples. Turns any plastic 5 gallon bucket into a great poultry waterer! Drill a couple holes with a 3/8″ drill bit and voila – a handy dandy gravity-fed poultry watering system. No fuss and no mess.
Ultimately, enjoy your backyard chicken project! There will be some blood, sweat and tears but it is a more rewarding experience than you will ever expect! There is nothing like a fresh egg, knowing that in your backyard you and Martin’s raised it together.
As always, “We look forward to serving you!”