STARTING OUT WITH CHICKENS
What is needed for raising chickens?
These are the basic items you will need to keep a few chickens, no matter what the size.
A Safe Home: The Chicken Coop. A safe chicken coop is one that will keep the chickens protected from the weather and from predators. ...
A Safe Run. ...
Food Feeder. ...
Water Feeder ...
Nest Boxes.- encluded in my chicken house
How do you raise chickens for beginners?
Raising Backyard Chickens For Beginners
Chickens are extremely flock-oriented, so a good starter flock size is no fewer than three chickens. Photo by Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily.
One nesting box can accommodate 3-4 hens. ...
Plan on a coop large enough to give each hen 3-5 square feet of floor space and 8 inches of roosting bar.
Is it hard to raise chickens?
Keeping chickens can increase in your duties, but my Chicken House can be simple that will require little dirty work. ... Chickens require food, water, and grit: a pebble-like substance that helps them digest their food, as well as a safe and cozy coop (preferably ventilated and sunny).
Do chickens attract rats?
Poorly designed or maintained chicken coops can be a magnet for rodents such as rats. Rats are attracted more so to your chickens food, water and eggs but will sometimes also prey on smaller birds, choosing to attack at night, leaving you with an unwelcome surprise come morning. My House Chicken Coop is designed to keep mice and rats and other rodents out. Hard to climb up steel!
How often should you clean a chicken coop?
Simply add enough pine shavings to keep the floor composting nicely, and the chickens do the aeration for you with their scratching behavior. Scattering corn on the coop floor encourages them. The litter has beneficial microbes, think of it as probiotics for your hens. Once or twice every six months year or less, you clean the coop out.
What should be inside a chicken coop?
It has to hold a feeder and water containers, a roosting area, and a nest box for every three hens. A proper coop should be large enough that you can stand in it to gather eggs and shovel manure comfortably, but a simple henhouse can be quite a bit smaller. My Chicken House has a back swing door to enable cleaning outside the large swing back door.
How can I make my chickens happy?
Not over crowding your chickens keeps them happy. No more than 4 chickens in our smaller coops or they will not lay eggs. Be sure to feed them daily. Best to leave food infront of them at all times.
What to feed chickens to make them lay eggs?
You don't have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that's guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It's recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, meal worms and other healthy treats
Can chickens stay in the coop all day?
"Coop" is generally used to refer to the shelter, often solid walled, that chickens roost in at night. "Run" is used to refer to the pen that chickens are sometimes kept in during the day when people don't want to let them free range. There's another housing option called the chicken tractor.. My Chichen House is a chicken tractor. One that can be moved option.
Composting Chicken Manure
Chickens Produce Eggs and Manure
Your chicken produces an egg every 24 hours and it is wonderful to have your own home-produced fresh eggs. Your average size hen also produces 1 cubic foot of manure every six months. What are you doing with this? Manure simply can’t continue to accumulate in your coop. It stinks, attracts rodents and flies, and the ammonia is not healthy for your chickens to breath.
Benefits of Chicken Manure
Don’t despair; manure can be one of the greatest assets for a home gardener! Although chicken manure is too strong to be used raw on your flowers or vegetables, it can be composted and converted to “black gold”. If used without composting it could damage roots and possibly kill your plants, however, once it is composted chicken manure is:
A good soil amendment, chicken manure adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial biota in soil.
A good fertilizer; chicken manure provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to you plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure).
Composting Chicken Manure
If you are not familiar with composting and need to learn how, contact the Seattle Tilth Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224. Hotline staff will provide you with information about the components of composting: Carbon (browns - your coop bedding), Nitrogen (greens - your chicken manure), air, moisture, volume, and temperature. Here are some recommendations to get you started using chicken manure in your compost pile:
Collect manure and bedding. Chicken owners normally use bedding such as shavings, sawdust, dry leaves, or straw to provide a dry cushion for chickens and to control odor and pests. The coop bedding can be collected with the manure and dumped into a composting bin. Some owners prefer to pick manure and soiled bedding out of the coop on a daily basis; others will add new bedding over droppings and collect on a less frequent basis.
Carbon to Nitrogen balance. A combination of 30 parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen creates the ideal environment for microbes to break down organic material to produce compost. When combining coop bedding and chicken manure how do you achieve the ideal C: N ratio? Since the different beddings have their own C: N ratio, the proportion of bedding to manure will vary depending on the type of bedding used. To keep things simple most composters follow the general rule of 1 part brown to 2 parts green. However, because chicken manure is so high in Nitrogen you may be more successful using a 1:1 or even a 2:1 mixture.
Use a “hot compost” recipe. By combining the correct ratio of bedding and manure at one time to form a pile, approximately one cubic yard, then adding moisture (material should be about as wet as a well wrung sponge), will produce a hot pile. It is recommend that the compost pile heat to 130-150 degrees F and maintain that temperature for 3 days. Heating is necessary to destroy pathogens but temperatures above 160 degrees F can kill beneficial microorganisms and slow the process. To help you achieve appropriate temperature you can purchase a compost temperature gauge from a local nursery.
Repeat the heating process. Once the center of your compost pile has reached the required temperature for three days it will start to cool. After it cools, pull the center apart and move the core material to the edges and bring the edge material into the center to heat. For 1 cubic yard of material repeat the process of bringing edges into the core at least 3 times.
Let it cure. Monitor the pile and once you are satisfied that the entire contents of your bin has been heated, loosely cover and let cure for 45-60 days before using. It’s ready when most material is dark, crumbly and sweet-smelling like soil.
Add to garden. You can add the resulting compost to your vegetable garden or flower bed by spreading it on the surface or by gently working it into existing soil.
Composting challenges. Does your compost pile stink, never decompose, or attract pests?
Get advice from the Seattle Tilth Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224.
Your bin should be at least 1 cubic yard in size (3x3x3 feet). If possible, we recommend that you use a 2-bin compost system. One bin will be in the hot compost phase and the other will be in the curing phase. You may also need a storage site for the carbon materials you collect. This can be a 3rd bin or it can just be a pile of leaves or bags of shavings stored in a dry area. If you want to add grass clippings or weeds to your bin, you will also need a storage site for this material. The Seattle Tilth or WSU websites listed below under Resources provide plans for building a backyard compost bin.
Manure Safety Tips
Fresh chicken manure may contain disease organisms that could contaminate root crops (carrots, radishes, beets) and leaves (lettuce, spinach), so DO NOT spread uncomposted manure on the soil in your vegetable garden. The following “Safety Tips” are summarized from the Stewardship Gardening Program provided by Washington State University:
Apply only aged or composted manure to your soil.
Always wear gloves when handling livestock manure.
Thoroughly wash raw vegetables before eating.
Do not use cat, dog or pig manure in compost piles.