EXTENSION CONNECTION: Tips for raising your own poultry

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 06:21 PM.

Raising chickens in your backyard is becoming a national fad.

There has been a push to change land use codes to allow for small-scale poultry production in large cities and towns. More people want to raise their own chickens for eggs and meat.

However, raising poultry is not for everyone.

Before purchasing poultry, determine what county and city codes affect your property. Then, consider limiting the impact of poultry on your neighborhood. Poultry can bring unwanted smells and insects if improperly managed. Your yard needs a dry area to house the poultry.

Next, consider chick care. Baby chicks must be kept at around 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. Decrease 5 degrees each week until they are more than 5 weeks old. These young birds also need special chick starter feed until they are 8 weeks old, when you can switch them to a chick grower feed.

Chicks must be 20 weeks old before they receive adult feeds. If your backyard flock is for laying eggs, separate the roosters and hens at 20 weeks. Roosters are really of no use if you just want laying hens. The hens must be fed a layer ration.

Chickens are vulnerable to parasites — like worms, mites and lice — and diseases. Put them in a clean, dry habitat. This will help decrease internal and external parasites and reduce the need to use pesticides to control them. Additionally, ask a local vet about diseases prevalent in your area.



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