New Chicken Keeping Articles | August 7 2015

 

This week’s Articles for Chicken Keepers, by Chicken Keepers.

A collection of chicken keeping articles from across the web archived in one convenient library on our menu bar.

August 7, 2015
The Truth About a Rooster’s Crow | Rodale Wellness.
The Chicken Chick®: Raising Chickens Naturally: Diatomaceous Earth is No Friend of Nature, by herbalist Susan Burek.
Chicken Quarters: 15 Terms Every Chicken Keeper Needs To Know – Hobby Farms.
What’s The Best Bedding For My Coop? – Chickens In A Minute Video | Backyard Poultry Magazine.
6 Things To Know Before Processing Chickens – Hobby Farms.

Interested in Writing an Article?

TBN Ranch is always interested in adding informative articles to continue the growth of our Frequently Asked Questions section.
If you’d like to submit an article, please send it for consideration to amyichi@yahoo.com with FAQS Article Submission on the subject line. Or, if you’ve already posted an article, simply send the link. Thanks!

And lastly, I’ve something completely off topic to share! My pretty African Violets are just begging for a little stardom. Whoo Hoo!

African Violets

Hatcheries and Supplies Index

Looking for quality retailers who can supply you with all your chicken keeping needs? These companies are some of my favorites.

My Pet Chicken
Baby chicks, coops and accessories.
Chicks, supplies, & more.
• Ships only a few chicks 🙂
• Sexes Bantams 🙂
Shipping survival rate on chicks has been 100%
Day Old Baby Chicks

Murray McMurray
The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters
• Minimum Order for chicks: 15-25
Get Free Catalog

 Chicks, ducks,turkeys, bantams and game birds as well as supplies.
Minimum chick order : 15

Best place to get chicken I.D. Bands! Arcata Pet Supplies

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Ideal
Breeding Farms Hatchery
chickens, bantams, ducks, chicks
• Chicks: $25 minimum purchase
Very pleased with their Silkie Bantams 🙂

Backyard Chickens / Forum, Learning Center

CHICKENS FOR BACKYARDS

rkholiday

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Provides over 200 varieties of chickens, gamebirds, domestic and wild waterfowl as eggs, chicks or adult stock.
Request a Catalog

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Fleming Outdoors carries a full line of BEC, Farm Innovators, Little Giant, GQF and Kuhl Poultry Products. We have poultry feeders, poultry waterers, egg incubators, egg turners, egg candlers, chicken brooders, poultry feed and supplements, automatic waterers, brooder lamps, transportation coops, laying nest, game bird peepers and accessories.

Your Source for Poultry, Supplies & Equipment
Offering chicks for sale in quantities as low as 5 or 10 chicks.

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Visit Tractor Supply Co.
Store Locator

 

Chicks Will Be Available in Phoenix Soon

Which Chicks and Where to Find Them
Which Breeds Beat the Heat

In about two weeks Phoenix area feed stores will be stocking up their brooders with an abundance of baby chicks for you to buy. You’ll see the most popular breeds, usually the best layers of brown, tinted, and blue-green eggs. The fancy breeds, commonly called ornamental, or exhibition chicks are rarely found locally, but they are easily located online at hatcheries who will safely ship chicks to you.

Choosing the Right Chicks

Rhode Island Red, TBN Ranch

If your sole purpose for keeping chickens is for lots of eggs, you’ll want to choose a proven breed known to yield over 200 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns rate high on my list of excellent producers. However, I don’t particularly care for the chicken yard drama that come with the brown egg laying Rhode Island Red. They can be bossy and a bit aggressive when demanding their place in the pecking order. However, they are a favorite among many chicken keepers and very heat hardy.

The Leghorn will give you white eggs of good size, most every day, but I don’t consider them very heat hardy in Phoenix’s extreme temperatures. Still, with a little effort to accommodate their extra needs in summer, I like them. The Leghorn is not readily available, but if you look around, you’ll find them. Pratts in Glendale or The Feed Barn in Phoenix are usually a goods place to find a wide variety of chicks or pullets.

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The Ameraucana or Easter Egger will be available most likely in every feed store. They are quite popular for their blue-green eggs. I consider them very heat hardy, and they get along nicely with other members of the flock.

The Ameraucana is a docile bird, predictable, and an excellent layer. Best described as aloof, not what I consider a social bird. If your looking for more of a social bird, lets talk Orpingtons!

Chickens Jan 2010 roosters 001

Orpingtons are a brown egg layer, very docile, social, and a nice choice to include in your flock.

They’re not especially heat hardy, but if provided with ample shade, an area to dig to cooler ground, and adequate space they will fair well.

This heavy breed has broody tendencies and this may be a problem if they retire to a hot coop and refuse to leave during the summer months. I have experienced heat exhaustion a few times with this breed, so this is definitely something to consider if you’re not willing to give them extra special attention.

My Favorite Places to Buy Common Chicks in the Phoenix Area:

 Pratts / Large selection of chicks, sometimes pullets, hens, & roosters
Western Ranchman / Common chicks
Pet Club Feed & Tack, N. Phoenix / Common chick varieties
Pet Food Depot / Common chick varieties

Looking to Order Chicks from a Hatchery?

Murray McMurray / The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters
🙂 My Pet Chicken Chicks, pullets, coops, & supplies
Meyer Hatchery / Offering 160 varieties of Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys, Exotic Fowl & More
Stromberg’s / Provides over 200 varieties of chickens
Cackle Hatchery / Hatchery & Supplies
🙂 Ideal / Breeding Farms / Hatchery breeds chickens bantams ducks chicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Chickens, Know What You’re Getting Into

Is keeping backyard chickens cost effective?
How much time in caring for them is involved?

These are valid questions, and certainly something you should prepare yourself before you buy those cute little chicks at the feed store. Chicks are tiny and super easy to manage the first couple weeks. But, about the time they reach 3 weeks of age they will  begin to outgrow the brooder box and become a bit of a chore to clean up after.

Baby chick

They will most likely be in a box in your house or garage with a heat lamp dangling overhead until they reach at minimum 4 weeks of age. By this time they are still about two weeks shy of being fully feathered and ready to be moved to the outdoor coop. From day old to six weeks is a long time, and indeed a commitment. During this time you are going to be busy cleaning the brooder box every day multiple times. They will also need to be slowly weaned off the heat lamp each week. Trust me, you will spend countless hours adjusting the temperature.

Timing is everything, make sure to buy your chicks when the temperatures where you live aren’t extreme. Otherwise you’ll be struggling to either keep six week old chicks warm or cool during the transition from indoors to out.

TBN Chicken Coop

Keeping chickens can be fun and easy to care for , but you just can’t skimp when setting up their housing, one way or another you’ll pay for it.

In other words, chickens are expensive, no matter how you slice or dice it, that first fresh egg from even a small backyard flock will cost at minimum, about $700. It’s true! That’s a lot of store bought shelf eggs.  But everything comes with a price,  the value of fresh eggs vs shelf eggs is something only you can decide.

I’ve thought about the cost effectiveness of raising chickens, and it really doesn’t add up. I’ve done the math, and well…there’s just no way! A dozen eggs can be bought for about a $1.29 here in Phoenix, sometimes even less. It definitely costs more to feed a small flock than it does to buy eggs! A $20 50lb bag of layer pellets for six hens will last about 30 days.  That equals about 180 shelf eggs a month from your local grocery store.  If each one of your hens lays 5 eggs a week, that will give you 120, not taking into consideration your hen’s rate of lay will significantly decrease in the winter and during molting. Let’s not forget you’ll be feeding those hens for 5 to 6 months before they even reach their point of lay.

Even raising meat birds can’t possibly be cost effective. I can go to any grocery store in town and buy a hot fully cooked rotisserie chicken for only $5.00! Oh my, it would cost me way more to feed that bird, and then I have to slaughter it too? Nah… I’ll pass.

There is an expense involved for the bedding in the coop and nesting area too. Pine shavings, hay, or straw will be necessary not only for the hen’s comfort, but it will keep the hen house cleaner and much easier to maintain.  The bigger the coop, the easier it will be to keep clean, but bigger also means more bedding to buy.  It also means your hens will be happier, and better egg producers. It’s like anything else, better always comes with a higher price tag.

Chickens are fun to watch, bring much enjoyment, and having fresh eggs is wonderful. There is no dispute over fresh eggs being a healthier choice, just be sure you are willing to put in the effort for the benefits.