About Free Range Chickens, Pros and Cons

Should-I-Free-Range-My-Chickens-Blog-Cover

Many people ask if it’s safe to free range their flock. As with most questions, there is no simple yes or no. To really answer this question you need to understand the pros and cons of free ranging your hens. Continue Reading

The Happy Chicken Coop

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New Chicken Keeping Articles | Ocotober 22, 2015

Articles for Chicken Keepers, by Chicken Keepers is an updated weekly collection of chicken keeping articles from across the web archived in one convenient library on our menu bar.
Have an article to submit? Send it to amyichi@yahoo.com with ARTICLE SUBMISSION on the subject line.

October 22, 2015 | Archives
Chicken Breed Focus – Ancona
The Chicken Chick®: Surviving Winter with Chickens
All You Need To Know About Chickens Molting
How To Raise Free Range Chickens | Backyard Poultry Magazine
Molting: It’s That Time Again
The Prescription Gardener: 9 Natural De-Worming Plants for Your Backyard Flock – Hobby Farms
Germany says ‘no more chick shredding’ | Animals Australia
To Heat or not to Heat your Coop this Winter | Fresh Eggs Daily®

Feature Article | About the Leghorn Chicken

by Pickin’ a Chicken

Another incredibly common chicken, that is found in many varieties, with the most common, and famous being the White. They are the primary white egg producer of the world, and will be the source of what you pick up in the supermarket. Especially the Pearl-White variety (pictured) are very regal looking, and would be a nice addition to your flock in more ways than one. CONTINUE READING

Predator Solution? Does the Nite Guard® Solar Work?

nite guard

Need protection for your chickens against nighttime predators? I have 7 Nite Guard Solar® boxes on my property to help keep my flock safe.  I know it seems like silly gadget, but I must say, I haven’t had any incidents with predators since using them. They’ve been in use for two years now, all still working great.  They’re just under $20 on Amazon.

Orpington

The Orpington is one of my favorite breeds. They are very sweet, friendly, and seldom bullies towards the other members of the flock. However, living in the desert where the temperatures reach well over 110 they have proven their tolerance for heat to be quite low. Especially considering they can be broody and won’t leave the coop where temperatures can be life threatening. Every situation is different and they may be fine as free range chickens with plenty of shade and water.

Details of the Buff Orpington:
Type:   Large Fowl & Bantam
Size:   7-8 pounds
Purpose:   Dual (meat or egg production)
Recognized Varieties:   Buff, Black, Blue, White, (buff is most common.)

Egg Factoids:
Color:  Brown
Size:  Large
Frequency:  3-4 per week

Breed Features:
Feathered Legs: No
Crested: No
Comb Type: Single Comb
Number of Toes: 4

Character & Traits:
Accepts confinement well
Cold Hardy
Heat tolerant to 100 degrees
Docile, friendly
Broody / Setter
Good layers through the winter


What Is the True Definition of Free-Range Chicken?

by Cheryl Long

“Free range” refers to chickens being allowed to range freely outdoors where they can eat whatever grass, weed seeds, insects and worms they choose. This results in more nutritious eggs and meat for consumers, and more healthy, humane conditions for the birds. Some producers abuse this term and label their eggs as “free range” when in fact all they have done is open a door to allow their chickens to range in an outdoor area of bare dirt or concrete, with no pasture in sight.

Thus you need to confirm if your eggs or chicken comes from “true” or “pastured” or “grass-fed” free-range conditions. Also, some producers choose a modified system that involves keeping birds safe from predators by confining them in pens or inside electric fencing, and moving the pens frequently onto fresh pastures. Thus, pastured birds may be true free-range or penned, but either system is correctly referred to as “pastured.” And either system is a better choice than products that come from industrial factory farm conditions.

To learn a great deal more about all the terminology you might have to decipher on egg cartons these days (like “cage free” or “enhanced with omega-3s”), check out How to Decode Egg Cartons.

See also:  USDA definition

The United States Department of Agriculture offers this definition:

FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING: Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.

But “allowing access” doesn’t mean much. A small door in a barn with thousands of chickens technically gives chickens an opportunity to go outside, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll have access to grass (it may only be a concrete slab). For chickens to produce the most healthful and flavorful eggs and meat, they need to be able to eat a variety of green plants, seeds and bugs. Unfortunately, you can’t tell how the chickens live by reading the package in a store. I’d encourage you to find a local farmer who raises poultry on pasture.

For more information on this subject, read Free Range vs. Pastured: Chickens and Eggs.

 Troy Griepentrog, associate editor

Source:Mother Earth News
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