The Keeping Of Chickens

Chickens can be tamed by hand feeding and by being handled. Some people are afraid that roosters will become aggressive, but this problem can easily be avoided if the rooster is handled properly.Breeds such as Silkies and many bantams are generally docile, making them ideal pets for owners with small children. Some cities in the United States allow chickens as pets but others ban them.



Some may only ban roosters due to the crowing. City ordinances, zoning regulations or health boards may determine whether chickens may be kept. A general requirement is that the birds be confined to the owner’s property, not allowed to roam freely. There may be restrictions on the size of the property or how far from human dwellings a coop may be located, etc. Hens continue to lay eggs in the absence of a rooster, but like most supermarket eggs, they are unfertilized.

The so-called “urban hen movement” harks back to the days when chicken keeping was much more common, and involves the keeping of small groups of hens in areas where they may not be expected, such as closely populated cities and suburban areas. In the UK a charity, the British Hen Welfare Trust, rescues commercial hens who would otherwise be sent to slaughter when they become no longer commercially viable. Supporters of the charity adopt the birds as family pets, with the intention of providing them a “retirement”. In Asia, chickens with striking plumage have long been kept for ornamental purposes, including feather-footed varieties such as the Cochin and the Silkie from China, and the extremely long-tailed Phoenix from Japan. Asian ornamental varieties were imported into the United States and Great Britain in the late 1800s. Distinctive American varieties of chickens have been developed from these Asian breeds. Poultry fanciers began keeping these ornamental birds for exhibition, a practice that continues today. Individuals in rural communities commonly keep chickens for both ornamental and practical value. The rarest breed in Britain is the famous Scots Dumpy.

Housing – Chicken coop and run.

Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop

A chicken coop is a housing where chickens are kept. Inside there will often be nest boxes for egg laying along with perches on which the birds can sleep. Backyard coops are small and fenced, often with chicken wire, allowing chickens an area to roam, peck and hunt insects. Chicken tractors are floorless coops which can be dragged about a yard. Some backyard chickens are allowed to free range, and sleep in coops. Urban chicken keeping has led to manufactured chicken coops such as the Eglu, which are designed for tight spaces and have a tidy look. Chicken waterers and feeders are an important part of keeping chickens as pets. There are hanging waterers/feeders, nipple waterers and waterer cups. When creating a home for their flocks, owners should plan on a specific amount of coop space and roosting space, nest boxes, food and water for the number of birds in their flock and also select breeds with an eye towards how many eggs they wish to harvest.

Posted: April 29th, 2016 under Healthy Chickens - No Comments.

The Chicken House – A Proper Coop!

The best chicken coop designs are the simple ones. First and foremost, the coop has to provide healthy and comfortable housing for your birds. Obvious, really, but I continue to be amazed by hen house plans that put human convenience and external appearance before the needs of the intended occupants.

Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop

What, then, are the essential features of a chicken coop, from the perspective of the birds that will occupy it?


First and foremost, the hen house must be large enough to house the birds safely and comfortably. Many people use a rule of thumb that allocates 4 square feet per bird. This is probably about right for average sized hens, giving them plenty of room to move around inside the coop. For bantam varieties you could provide less space, and perhaps 5 or 6 square feet for larger breeds.

The coop must be strongly constructed and weather-proof. Most are made of wood. If your climate is usually wet you might want to use treated wood to reduce the threat of rot but remember that this material is poisonous to animals, so paint at least the interior of the coop properly to protect the chickens and thoroughly seal all joins.

You probably want your new coop to look good and be an attractive addition to your garden or yard. The key is finding good chicken coop plans that achieve this without sacrificing any features essential for the hens and their welfare.

A Frame Chicken Coop

A Frame Chicken Coop


The hens’ access door needs to be large enough for them but no more, and it needs to be predator-proof. Remember that racoons are very capable of opening doors with conventional handles! It is a good idea to position this door a few inches above floor level, to stop the chickens kicking bedding out of the coop. Most good chicken house plans can be adapted to allow this.

The other door is for you! This is where you will enter the coop to clean it out, change bedding, refill the water and feed trays, all the usual upkeep and maintenance chores. A good idea is to mount the feeders on the inside of the door, so that they are easy to reach when you open it.

Nesting Boxes

Allow one box for every 4 or 5 hens. These should be mounted lower than the roosting perches, and it makes sense to design them as attachments to the outside of the coop and at a height that makes egg collection easy for you. Check that your hen house plans include, or can be modified for, this feature.

Ventilation and Light

Fresh air is super important for chickens. Don’t worry about them getting cold – they have feathers to keep them warm! But they must have fresh air, otherwise they will get sick and fail to lay those lovely free range eggs that you crave. Many chicken coop designs have wire mesh floors, with the coop mounted a foot to 18 inches above ground, to ensure a flow of air in to the coop.

This is also true for the lighting conditions inside the coop. Hens do not like the dark. They simply fade away and die. Make sure they have plenty of light.

Rolling Chicken Coop

Rolling Chicken Coop


Beware of predators! Although most operate at night, when your hens should be safely shut up in their coop, there are some such as dogs and birds of prey that can attack by day. If possible, place the coop within sight of your kitchen so that you can keep an eye on it.

The chances are that you will decide that your birds would be safer with a pen or hen run attached to the coop. Chicken pens allow them the exercise and foraging that they need without exposing them to danger from predators. Even so, pens need to be able to withstand diggers like rodents, foxes and dogs. Bury the wire mesh sides in at least 12 inches of soil if possible. If raptors are around you will need to cover pens as well.

Best Chicken Coop Design

All of the above features will be included in the best chicken coop design layouts. Get the construction right; make the coop airy, light and comfortable for the hens; keep predators at arm’s length; and give the birds plenty of exercise room during the day.

That way your hens will be healthy and happy. This is a good basis for productive egg laying and smiles all round!

Posted: April 29th, 2016 under Keeping Chickens - No Comments.

Some Facts About Raising Chickens

Farmers have been raising backyard urban chickens for over 3,000 years, but in the last 5 years, it’s become accessible for even the beginner farmer like you and me. With 380 million eggs recalled recently, raising chickens at home never sounded so reassuring. You will be able to raise them organically, free of hormones and antibiotics, and let them run around your yard verses being cooped up in a cage twenty-four hours a day.

Chicken Heading For The Coop

Chicken Heading For The Coop

You’ll get around 300 eggs per hen per year but the benefits don’t stop there. Here are several more benefits:

* Backyard chickens are healthier. As we mentioned above they are kept to confined areas, causing stress, fed and unnatural diet, and given hormones and antibiotics which affect the taste of the eggs.

*Backyard chicken eggs are more nutritious. They have 25 percent more vitamin E, a third more vitamin A, 75 percent beta carotene, and taste fresher.

*Small chicken coops are good for your compost. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen which is great for your compost bin and you can even compost the used egg shells.

*Backyard chickens are good for your garden. When not in their chicken coop, chickens forage the soil looking for yummy bugs, grubs, earwigs and the same bugs that eat your summer veggies and fruits. Plus they turn the soil and aerate it.

* Backyard chicken coops are a great lesson for kids. It’s important that kids have a connection to their food and understand the farm-to-plate chain. Plus they will love feeding them and collecting eggs from your coop.

You can point to many different reasons, but it pretty much boils down to three things for having a backyard chicken coop: food, fascination and family.

Also you can have the fun of picking what type of chickens you want to raise. With more than 100 recognized breeds, the sheer number of different body types is amazing. Chickens range in size from the 12 ounce Serma to big bruiser’s such as the 13 pound Jersey Giant. Feathers can be blue, red, orange, gold, brown, white, gray or black. Rhode Island Reds provide brown eggs, Leghorns provide white eggs, and Ameraucanas can lay blue, green or even pink ones. Brahma and Cochin chickens flaunt fancy feathered legs. A Silkie looks like a ball of fluff adorned with turquoise earrings. Chickens personalities vary as much as their colors. They can be affectionate, curious, loyal, adventurous, shy, aggressive or hard to tame. Be sure to study up on what type of chicken you may want before you choose what to buy.

Posted: April 29th, 2016 under Keeping Chickens - No Comments.

What’s In Those Eggs You’re eating?

chicken eggs

Chicken Eggs

Have you considered what’s in the eggs you’re eating?  Those chickens that lay those eggs that are pretty cheap at the grocery store, they don’t have much of a life. They are all on top of each other and don’t see the light of day. They get fed the cheapest thing that will produce. Since they are all on top of each other, they can get sick real easy, so they dose those birds with chemicals to keep them disease free. And, you know all that stress and dissatisfaction and the chemicals and the mistreatment that what’s in the eggs you’re eatin’.

There’s an option. You know, you might have a dog or a cat or  a fish, why not have some chickens? They really aren’t that much trouble. They can be raised in your back yard. You can build your own chicken coop. They don’t have to take up a lot of space. And, they really add a lot of interest to your yard. You end up planting plants, and you’ve got the fertilizer. If you’re the gardening type, it’s really a natural addition to your garden. You end up with straw and chicken droppings and it goes in your compost pile and ends up in your garden making the soil really rich.

I really recommend raising some chickens. These hens save me a lot of money. I save about as much as my auto insurance costs me. And, my eggs are organic and the hens have names and they all have personalities.  When I go on vacation, the neighbors want to take care of the chickens, so they can get the eggs. I’ve got them set up so I can be



away for a few days and they take care of themselves. I let them out of the chicken coop and into my garden and they eat up the bugs. Then I feed them and they all scramble back inside to get their share of the feed.

To learn more about these fascinating critters check out “The chicken Coop” I’ve got more resources and information about livin’ with the chickens.

Posted: April 29th, 2016 under Healthy Chickens - No Comments.