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Apple Cider Linked to Foodborne Illness Outbreak at Illinois Autumn Festival

Apple Cider Linked to Foodborne Illness Outbreak at Illinois Autumn Festival


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A foodborne illness in Illinois hospitalized several fall festival attendees

Wikimedia/David Adam Kess

Health officials say at least 60 people were sickened at the Pike County Color Drive in western Illinois, and apple cider is likely to blame.

At this time of year it would be difficult for a person to go to a festive fall fair and not give in to the temptation to enjoy a lot of nice, fresh apple cider, but it looks like that might have ruined the festivities for several attendees at an Illinois fair who had to be hospitalized after a mysterious foodborne illness outbreak.

According to The Chicago Tribune, more than 60 people who attended the Pike County Color Drive in western Illinois on October 17 and 18 were stricken with gastrointestinal symptoms after the event. Several of those patients have reportedly been hospitalized.

Apple cider is currently considered the most likely source of the outbreak, but health officials do not yet know what specific kind of illness it is. It could be an outbreak of E. coli, or “a microscopic parasite called cryptosporidium” that infected a batch of cider.

Festival attendees who purchased jugs of cider from vendors at the fair have been asked to notify the health department so the cider can be tested. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to drink it until the source of the outbreak has been found.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.


Get More Poultry Tips Delivered to Your Inbox

Dear Readers:
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to get chickens.

You’re not going to let any of those lingering doubts keep you from your dream of having chickens any longer. Now the hard part … You need to figure out how and where to start. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

That’s exactly what this book is all about. Think of it as your quick-reference guide to help you answer all those nagging questions you might feel a little silly asking. But you shouldn’t! Asking good questions is the key to successfully chicken ownership.

To help you answer those “silly” questions (as well as a few more detailed ones), this resource guide will lead you to industry experts, including the talented writers and editors at Backyard Poultry Magazine, who have spent years specializing in assisting readers in raising all sorts of poultry safely and efficiently.

What follows are five steps our collective experts all agree you should take to help you get your chicken coop up and running, and your flock producing, along with award-winning articles, books and online resources to help you.

Before we get started, Byron Parker of the Randall Burkey Company in Texas “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask. It’s a must-read before you start digging deeper.

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs?
Okay, stop laughing! At one time, we all didn’t always know the answer to this question. The answer is no, unless you want chicks. If you’re just looking for eggs to eat and/or some nice yard pets, hens minus the rooster can provide you with plenty of farm fresh eggs without a single crow to wake you up in the morning.

2. How long do chickens live?
The life expectancy of most standard chicken breeds shielded from predators and deep fryers can range from 8 to 15 years. There are many reports of pet chickens living as long as twenty years! With the increasing popularity of raising chickens as pets, I imagine someone will develop a new line of chicken coops such as nursing coops or assisted living coops for the growing population of elderly chickens. All joking aside, chickens are very hardy animals that rarely need a trip to a veterinarian, no matter how long they live.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive?

Boil some water and grab some clean towels! Isn’t this what we heard on television when the mother went into labor? However, with newborn chickens, we only need to boil water if we plan on cooking them. What you do need is a way to keep your chicks warm without cooking them. Depending on the number of chicks and your budget there are several options. Most commonly used and most economical is a single lamp infrared brooder with a 250-watt red glass infrared bulb. Of course you will need a perimeter to contain the chicks inside the heated area —something as simple as an 18″ high corrugated paper chick corral will get the job done. Place a small thermometer inside to ensure the correct temperature of 95° F is maintained, dropping 5° each week thereafter. A proper chick feeder and waterer is also necessary and you should provide ample space for the number of chicks inside. Pine shavings will work well as bedding and although there are many other options, you want to avoid using material such as newspaper that does not provide stable footing.

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?
Typically hens will start to lay when they are around five to six months of age and will lay approximately two hundred to three hundred eggs annually, based on the breed type. Breeds like Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Links and White Leghorns are considered some of the most prolific egg layers. Peak production generally occurs at two years of age and slowly declines thereafter.

5. How much feed do chickens eat?
The amount of feed a chicken will consume varies dramatically based on breed type, feed quality, climate, and other variables that make it difficult to provide one good answer. However, a typical laying hen will consume around four to six ounces of feed each day with an increase during cold months and a decrease during warm months.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?
Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally two to three square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then eight to ten square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?
If you asked a slick nest box salesman, he would probably tell you the answer is one box for every hen and then tell you how much he likes you and how he is willing to give you a great deal if you buy today. Fortunately, I don’t think there are many “nest box salesmen,” especially slick ones. However, there are plenty of poultry supply companies that sell nest boxes and the answer they should give you is approximately one nest box for every five to six hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?
Because we are dealing with an animal that we may eat or eat the eggs from, I prefer to recommend the more natural alternatives for treatment opposed to chemical use. “Food grade” diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants called diatoms and is the most popular natural product for controlling internal and external parasites. Chickens can be dusted with it to treat lice and mites, and it can be mixed with their feed to control worms. Another alternative all-natural product is Poultry Protector, used to control external parasites such as mites, lice, and fleas. Poultry Protector uses natural enzymes to control parasites and can be sprayed in all areas of the chickens’ living quarters and safely on the birds as well.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?
Obviously, a well-built chicken coop is your first and best defense against predators. The coop should be designed to prevent predators from crawling through small openings or from tunneling under. Most troublesome predators come at night, so it may be a good idea to place a few NiteGuards around your coop. NiteGuard Solar emits a flashing red light at night that makes predators think they’re being watched by something more terrifying than they are, forcing them to leave the area, and preventing predators from ever approaching your coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go in the coop at night?
Chickens instinctively move into their coop when the sun goes down. It may take a little coaxing for grown chickens to move into a newly built coop, but once they realize it’s home, they generally go right in at night. Your job is to close the door behind them once they enter, and then to open it back up in the morning. If this sounds like something you don’t care to constantly deal with, you can buy an automatic chicken coop door.



Comments:

  1. Daikazahn

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  2. Kajiran

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  3. Lap

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  4. Joby

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  5. Ricman

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