A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Stores Guide to Chicken Keeping
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During the first week of the chicks' life, a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit is required. The temperature can be decreased by 5 degrees F. At week 6, the birds should have enough feathers grown to be moved into their chicken coop.
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Checking on chicks often is important, as chicks that are too cold will huddle together to attempt to retain warmth, and chicks that are too hot will spread out in the brooder in attempts to cool down. Temperature can be adjusted accordingly by lowering and raising the heat lamp in the chick's brooder. Temperature can also be monitored by the use of a thermometer. Chicks require different food than adult chickens. Chicks need a mash or dust food so that they are able to digest it without grit. Adult chickens are able to digest grit, which allows them to eat bigger food pellets.
Purchasing chick food from a local feed store that is specifically for baby chicks will ensure that all nutritional requirements are being met. There are different types of food for different types of chicks. Chicks that are grown for egg-laying purposes require a lower protein level than chicks that are grown as a source of meat. Chicks should be fed and given water out of containers that ensure the chicks' safety, as some containers can injure the chicks or cause easy drowning.
What you need to know about backyard chickens
Most chicken owners say that these myths and misconceptions about chickens and their behavior are central to issues surrounding passage of city ordinances and regulations necessary for the keeping of urban chickens:. Bird flu and salmonella are the two biggest concerns to human health. The risk for catching bird flu is low, according to Mark Slifka, Ph. He states this is especially true if the hens are kept in a closed environment, since they wouldn't be exposed to other birds.
Salmonella is mostly associated with under-cooked chicken meat. People who have weak immune systems , such as the elderly, young children, and those with various medical conditions, are most at risk. Proper sanitation and cooking practices lessen the threat of contracting salmonellosis. Avian influenza , commonly referred to as "bird flu" is spread through contact with the feces of contaminated migratory birds. Since these infected wild birds are currently only in Asia , Africa , and Eastern Europe , there is no possible chance of it spreading to chickens elsewhere.
In some areas, roosters are banned, and only hens are allowed, and in limited numbers, to prevent problems with noise.
Hens are relatively quiet as compared to pet dogs, though hens often vocalize after an egg is laid for a few minutes. The noise level during this squawking period has been measured at around 63 decibels , or about the level of two people talking. Other than post-laying squawking, normal hen sounds are not audible at 25 feet 7. In Columbia, South Carolina it was argued that leaf blowers were far louder than chickens, that dogs produce more waste than chickens do, so neither of those concerns were a valid reason to keep a ban on them. However, the average chicken defecates upwards of seventy times a day, compared with a dog's two or three times a day, calling into question the veracity of that argument.
In in Oakland, California , the department of public health and safety issued an order to "put your roosters in a light[-]proof coop, or devise apparatus that will hold the rooster's head down so he can't crow" in response to complaints about the noise they were making. Odor concerns can be mitigated somewhat by limiting the number of chickens that a household can own.
Unlike large commercial operations, where thousands of chickens are kept in close quarters and thus build up enough ammonia to create a powerful odor, small backyard operations produce proportionately less odor. Although in urban spaces where homes are situated right beside one another, steps must be taken to control odors. These range from regular cleaning to changing out the chicken's bedding. If not properly cared for, odors can become quite strong given close proximity to neighboring homes. The average chicken eliminates waste, on average, every fifteen to twenty minutes; a coop of nine chickens will produce approximately seven hundred defecations per day.
Predators and rodents are already living in urban areas. Wild bird feeders, pet food, gardens, fish ponds , bird baths , trash waiting to be collected all attract raccoons , foxes , rodents and flies. Most modern chicken pens are designed to keep predators away. Rats, however, may be attracted to a yard in which excess chicken food remains on the ground on a regular basis. Beyond scavenging, they also eat green plants with a methodical intensity. A small flock of hens grazing a lawn are tapping into a valuable nutritional resource, all the while helping to reduce your mowing chores.
Returning animals to the pasture, even on a tiny scale, just makes sense to us. This gusto for plant browsing also has its drawbacks. Chickens will also scratch the earth in search of tasty tidbits, making shallow holes and possibly exposing the roots of plants. Although this activity is usually harmless, you should keep it in mind when planning your garden-protection scheme. You can harness these nibbling and digging tendencies to help you in the garden as well.
Chickens can be confined to a pen or other structure and made to concentrate their digging and foliage chomping in a small area, effectively clearing it for future planting. Perhaps the greatest assist that your birds will provide in the garden will come not from the beak end of the bird, but from the other. Contrary to popular belief, widely dispersed chicken poop in this form will not burn your plants though it is advisable to hot-compost larger amounts of poultry waste to ensure that any potentially harmful organisms are eliminated.
Indeed, we have noticed a marked improvement in the health of plants in the backyard, where the chickens live, compared to the front yard, from which they are excluded. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Got a little space and a hankering for fresh eggs? Show More. Average Review.
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