The Basic Needs Of Chickens
- adequate food and water
- a coop with enough roosting space for all the hens
- protection from predators
- a dust bath
- a clean nest box for laying the eggs
- free-range area with greens or mulch/deep litter
What About Noisy Roosters?
Roosters can be quite noisy and are not always acceptable if you have
nearby neighbors. In some areas, you are not even allowed to keep
them...so check before you get one.
But if you want to keep only a few
hens for the eggs it is not necessary to keep one. They will happily lay
their eggs without one. The eggs just won't be fertile and can't be
Keeping Backyard Chickens: They Can Do More Than Lay Eggs....
Chickens can be great helpers in the garden if used wisely. They are
great assistants when it comes to natural pest control.
The chooks are
very busy all day scratching the ground looking for slugs, worms, and
beetles. They consume seeds of weeds and scratch their little seedlings
out of the ground. Of course, they leave little parcels of organic
fertilizer behind wherever they go.
Putting the chickens to work in your garden can be of great benefit but they can also cause problems. Just let loose around the veggie garden they can cause damage to plants and seedlings if you are not careful. Chickens love for example beets and any type of brassicas. Our hens find them absolutely irresistible...so be careful!
Areas, where you don't want the chickens to go into can be fenced with a low temporary fence, made of bamboo canes and plastic mesh fencing. I prefer a plastic mesh to conventional chicken wire because it is a lot easier to work with.
Horticultural fleece, well pegged down around the edges, protects young seedlings and seed beds from our free-ranging chickens.
If you don't want to your chickens free-ranging in the garden you can use a chicken tractor or electric poultry netting
and move them around different areas in the garden.
Vegetable beds that
have been harvested can be cleaned and tilled by the chickens. They
will get rid of the bugs, slugs, and weeds...automatic fertilization
included! And voila....the bed will be ready for the next crop!
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