Saturday, March 28, 2009

Raising Chickens: Attractive and Affordable Chicken Coops for the Backyard Farmer

Raising chickens for meat and eggs has been a part of the American culture since it began. Raising poultry dates back to ancient times in the Old World as well; with reference of it made time and time again in historical documents.

Why has raising chickens played such an important and long-lasting role in the rise of civilization? There are a variety of reasons for it. Here a few:

* They are inexpensive to keep and raise

* They don't require a great deal of attention

* They are prolific breeders

* They are dual purpose animals: meat and eggs

* They are fun and entertaining to be around

Even people who live around the edges of urban areas may enjoy the benefits of raising chickens if their zoning laws permit it. Not only do chickens provide meat and eggs for the table, they are efficient recyclers of food scrapes and high-quality fertilizer producers.

You don't need much to get set up in the chicken business. Probably the biggest expense will be in building some kind of shelter and penning area for them. Depending on how big a project you make of it, you may get out the door rather inexpensively.

The chickens themselves don't require much in the way of luxury accommodations, but there are certain things to shy away from and others to make sure you include. Most of the necessities are for the health and safety of the flock and the convenience of the owner. Others are to increase the productivity of the flock.

There are pre-fab kits available to build chicken coops, but by and large, they are inflated in price and you still have to assemble them anyway. Your best bet is to find a source that provides you with adequate do-it-yourself plans and build your coop outright. It's not that difficult for anyone who is capable of using good judgment and few simple hand tools.

At the very least, make sure you take into account:

* Materials

* Insulation

* Ventilation

* Lighting

* Positioning

* Nesting

* Perches

* Litter collection

* And protection from the elements and other animals

There are any number of effective and efficient options to choose from depending your needs and your budget. You can keep things as basic as possible or go for the super-sonic; the call is all yours. There are many good references available in libraries and online to help you in your planning process.

Raising chickens, or most other poultry for that matter, is not an all-consuming or difficult task. You can learn all you need to know in a short time and have your backyard mini-farm in full swing in a little while.

There is nothing quite like starting the day listening to your rooster crow and the hens cackle about the newest egg they laid. Chickens are a pleasure to have around the place and you are sure to get many years of enjoyment out of a well kept flock.

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