Raising Chickens A Essential Addition

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Raising chickens in your backyard,  farm, or homestead is the fastest way to a healthy homegrown food source. Chickens are delightful, silly and have their own personalities.

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Chickens grow fast, forage well, and are able to sit on and raise their own young. Learn how to raise chickens and you will always have a steady supply of healthy food.
Because in a bad economy, for those that prepare for when the SHTF, those who can raise their own food are way ahead of the game.  With a dozen or so hens and a couple roosters you’ll have a steady supply of eggs and meat.
Chickens are also valued for their manure and considered one of the most fertile substances in nature. While you should never add the manure directly to your soil, the nitrogen is too strong and can burn your plants. We have found that tilling it into the group to sit all winter does very well. Chicken manure breaks down beautifully when added to your composter.
Raising chickens is easy. They do require some special care their first few weeks of their life. Once juveniles they are fairly easy to care for. All they require is shelter, protection from the elements and predators, fresh water and fresh food every day. There are large capacity feeders and waterers to make this job easier.

A survey done by Mother Earth News revealed that poultry – particularly those who live in chicken tractors moved daily. The eggs have up to one third less cholesterol and a fourth less saturated fat than commercially raised eggs. The eggs also have more vitamin A and a lot more omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and beta carotene than their commercial counterparts.
Free range birds eat more of a diet that is healthy for them. Consuming lots of leafy greens, bugs and worms may sound icky to us, to them it is a smorgasbord. During the winter months, when these delights are not available to them, their diet is supplemented with live or dried mealworms, or Black Soldier Fly Larvae. Black Soldier Fly Larvae contains 50% more calcium to help those hens laying eggs for you.  Other methods to supplement their diet can be growing fodder, this provides them plenty of greens.
Commercially confinement and cages are a stressful environment for chickens, consume a diet of cottonseed, soy and corn with additives thrown in and can make them sick. Once sick they’re are all given antibiotics, thru the feed or water. It is not cost effective to catch only the sick birds. You and your family ingest those antibiotics when you eat their eggs & meat.
By raising chickens in a free range environment, you’re providing a stress-free environment for your flock and better nutrition for your family.
The hardest decision you need to make if which breeds to raise. Heritage breeds, will lay eggs longer, be hardier, generally have good personalities and become broody. This is not to say others will not. Broody refers to setting, hatching their own young. They will raise them all on their own, no need for you to interfere.
Everybody loves farm fresh eggs, properly raised free range chicken so they are easy sell. Allow your hens to raise a few chicks to sell chicks, raise extra hens and have males to butcher. Start keeping chickens and they’ll produce more eggs than you and your family can eat. Collect eggs and store them in the refrigerator quickly.  Within a year of selling eggs, chicks and meat you’ll recoup your startup and cover feed costs. Keep selling earn a nice little income besides. When selling eggs, have your clients provide cartons eliminating the cost of buying cartons.

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