How to raise chickens: instructions for raising chickens in the garden or in a small DIY chicken coop. From the breed most suitable for egg production, to nutrition.
Raising hens in the garden
If you have a small green space like a private garden, it might be a good idea to use it for raise chickens.
A little breeding of laying hensit will allow you to eat fresh eggs: the eggs we buy at the supermarket undoubtedly have an expiration date but… they will not give you the same guarantees obtained by the eggs just laid by your hens!
Raising hens it's very simple, you just need a little patience, especially to get the hens used to always laying their eggs in the same place! To get started, you will need a chicken coop that you can buy in specialty stores or build it yourself. For further information, please refer to the guide dedicated to the construction of a DIY wooden chicken coop.
Which hens lay more eggs
We often talk about laying hens… but which hens are able to produce more eggs? Today, we really find many selections on the market.
There are many breeders who, mating after mating, have selected hybrid breeds for industrial production. We are talking about “selected” hens for the production of a good number of eggs and of small tonnage, so that they adapt to small chicken coops and even small gardens.
Isabrown and Hy-line type hens are able to produceat least240 eggs per year weighing between 60 - 65 grams. If you choose to buy these chickens, go for animals that are around 20 weeks old (4-5 months old).
If you are interested in one more talksustainable, you can choose autochthonous breeds, that is breeds of hens typical of your territory. For example, the Leghorn hen is famous for producing white eggs. Very popular are the Ermellinata di Rovigo and the Ancona, these hens can be found easily throughout Italy.
These animals, being more rustic, have a lower productivity by providing 120 to 200 eggs per year, each egg will have an average weight ranging from 55 to 60 grams.
What you need to raise hens outdoors
First of all, we must make it clear that it is possibleraising hens in the gardenbut it is essential that the hens are provided with their own shelter. The hens should have a chicken coop (covered shelter) and a grazing area (your garden). In the chicken coop you will have to arrange the nests where the hens will have to be used to laying eggs.
Here's what it takes to raise chickens in the garden.
- 4 month old hens.
- Chicken coop, shelter or in any case a fairly large cage. If you intend to buy it, I advise you to choose one that is at least 3 square meters by 2 meters high.
- Drinking troughs.
- Plastic crates.
Chicken coops equipped for 2 - 3 hens should measure at least 150 cm and be equipped with perches, nest for collecting eggs, drinking trough and a manger.
What chickens eat
The feeding of the hens should vary according to the period of the year. Generally speaking we can say that the hens can also eat your kitchen leftovers (pasta, vegetable scraps, stale bread, rice…). Here's what chickens eat:
- Chopped corn
- Hard bread
- Plastic trays
For more information, please refer to the page dedicated to chicken feeding.
Before deciding on the quantity of hens to buy, you will need to evaluate the space you have available in order to guarantee the hens the possibility of scratching around freely. Ideally you should have at least 2 square meters of land for each hen. Furthermore, at the time of purchase, the hens must be already vaccinated.
How to raise hens outdoors
If the garden is too large, faces a busy street or is badly separated from the neighbors' garden ... you will need a fence.
Before arranging the cage, it will be necessary to build a fence with the ground possibly covered by lawn: for the realization it will be sufficient to stick wooden poles into the ground on which the wire mesh will rest. Once this is done, you can place the cage
How to raise hens outdoors: cage accommodation
- The plastic crates, filled with straw, must be placed in the cage: each crate will be used as a bed for the hen that will deposit her egg in it
- Drinking troughs, preferably equipped with a drip tray and plastic trays to put the hens' food, should be positioned
- Once this is done, you can put your chickens
Useful recommendations for raising hens in the garden
- The trays should be refilled periodically: make sure that the hens never lack food. The diet must be based on corn, wheat, wet bran, but also hard bread and occasionally fruit and vegetables
- During the day, let the hens scratch around in the open air, so take advantage of their absence in the cage to clean it: Also clean the outside area, to prevent excrement from accumulating
- Lock the hens inside the cage during the night
- When the hens are 6 months old, they will begin to lay the first eggs.
By following these guidelines, you will have laying hens, which will lay 1 egg per day for about 19 months.