13 Tips From Homesteaders
1. Check Local Laws
Laura Henderson of Craig, Colorado, says, “Some communities limit the number of chickens you can keep if you live in town, and others might not let you keep a rooster.”
2. Egg-Laying Fluctuates
One of the first things Henderson learned when she started raising chickens is that they produce fewer eggs during certain seasons. Hens tend to lay more eggs when the days are longer.
3. You Don't Need a Rooster
Beth Thompson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, thought she’d need a rooster in order for her chickens to lay eggs. Turns out, that's not true. “When my hens got about six months old, they started laying eggs,” she says.
6. Watch for Vent Prolapse
Hime has had to treat one of her hens for vent prolapse by bringing her indoors daily and letting her soak in a warm bath before cleansing the injured area and applying ointment.
9. Keep It Clean
“Clear out the old hay at least once every two weeks and put in clean dry hay,” Taylor says. “I put the droppings in my compost pile to compost, and then I use the compost to fertilize my vegetable plants.”
10. Cover the Chicken Yard
Within two months of getting her chickens, Taylor lost one to a hawk that swooped down into the chicken yard. She immediately installed chicken wire over the top of the chicken yard to prevent a recurrence.
12. Network With Others
When Henderson first started, she discovered a forum with other chicken owners. “I used to be the one who asked all the questions,” she says, “but now, I’ve learned quite a bit and I enjoy helping others get started raising chickens of their own.”
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