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The Basics of Chicken Keeping

Scorpions may seem like a fearsome threat to you, but to a chicken, they make an especially tasty treat. “Chickens do all kinds of good things,” chicken keeping expert Carol Hamilton told PDM. “The…

Scorpions may seem like a fearsome threat to you, but to a chicken, they make an especially tasty treat.

“Chickens do all kinds of good things,” chicken keeping expert Carol Hamilton told PDM. “They keep flies and scorpions down, and they even help keep the yard clean by breaking manure down. Chicken keeping is the fastest growing pet market segment, and for good reasons.”

The lifelong animal lover and Laveen Pet Club worker, Hamilton, explained to PDM that owning chickens ensures you know what’s going into your food. “People want the meat and eggs,” she said. “Plus, having chickens is cheaper than keeping cattle; and people tend to eat a lot of chicken anyway.”

Chicken-keeping is also a great way to take more control of your own health. “People are wanting to go organic,” Hamilton went on. “They don’t want all the hormones in their meat and they want good quality eggs. When you buy eggs from the store, you don’t know what the chickens have been eating.”

Hamilton advises them to have some friends for the baby. “I tell them, ‘You should get two or three chicks so they can huddle together and keep one another warm so they don’t get too cold.’ That’s something a lot of people may not know about.” It’s also a good idea to invest in heating to help the chicks regulate their body temperatures.

Chicken Chicken coops are essential because, without protection, chickens could easily become a wild animal’s dinner. “I have a friend who walked outside to his chicken coop one day and saw a huge bobcat run off with one of the chickens in his mouth,” Hamilton recalled. The coops do need regular cleaning. If you have a small flock of three to four hens, the coop should be washed once a week.

A beautiful bounty of eggs In addition, there’s a difference between eggs you can buy at the store and eggs from a chicken you’ve raised yourself. “The shell of a farm egg is way thicker and nicer. Ones at the store are kind of pale and some are so thin they’re almost see-through. That tells me that the bird’s not getting enough calcium.”

Fresh food makes for health chickens And to top it off, Hamilton said, “They’re really easy birds to take care of. Chickens will eat just about anything.” This includes meat, table scraps, or even a scorpion’s stinger, which they eagerly gulp down.

Basically they need clean water. If you’re getting them as chicks, put probiotics and electrolytes in their water, Hamilton says. It’s also important to keep them warm, since their feathers haven’t grown in yet. Sometimes, when customers buy chicks from the Laveen Pet Club, Food, water, and cleanliness are the three necessities in chicken keeping, but you can always go a step further and offer love as well.

“Chickens bond with you,” Hamilton pointed out. “They’re smart birds. If you sit with them and hold them, they’ll get used to you. They can recognize their names and respond when you call them.”

Provide protection-Zeus and Hera the Great Pyranees chicken protection team After a lifetime of owning animals, from a peacock to sheep and horses, Hamilton’s full of colorful anecdotes illustrating her experience. Among her nuggets of wisdom is a method of checking for rotten eggs: “If it sinks, it’s good to eat. If it floats, throw it away!”

She rates chicken breeds from the most difficult to take care of: Polish Bantams, to the best breed for beginners: Buff Orpingtons, which are a great source of meat and eggs. Research different chicken breeds to ensure you pick the best bird for your needs. But, remember to check with your homeowners’ association to be sure they’re allowed in your neighborhood before you go on a chicken run!

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