Raising chickens is fun for the whole family. Kids especially love collecting fresh eggs.
More and more families are choosing to keep chickens for a variety of reasons. Fresh daily eggs and for their companionship. Some people are also choosing to raise chickens for their meat. Growing your own meat can be quite rewarding but its not for everyone.
If you are thinking about keeping a backyard flock of chickens you may be wondering what you should feed them? There are commercial layer feeds available at your local feed store which is formulated to give your chickens proper nutrition.
Many people choose to also let their flock free range. Your chickens will walk around picking at weeds, bugs, and grasses. This is a great way to cut down feeding costs and control bugs at the same time. If you are considering letting your hens free range, there are some things you should know about letting chickens free range.
* Firstly you should make sure the area is secure. This is a matter of safety for your flock. Even the nicest and sweetest of dogs could be a chicken killer. Make sure your free range area is a safe place of your hens to roam. Pesky neighborhood dogs should not have access.
* Chickens are your gardening friend, they will help you control weeds and bugs but they can also be destructive. Unfortunately a chicken can’t differentiate between a beautiful tomato plant and an invasive weed. All is at target with chickens. In the past I have had plants in planters completely dug up by a hen who enjoyed scratching up the soft potting soil in my planter. To remedy this, I placed stones the size of my fist all around the plant in the planter. This actually stopped my hens from digging up my plants and may or may not work for you.
* Chickens will put themselves to bed when it starts getting dark. This is a great thing about chickens, they will return to their roosting area every evening when it starts getting dark. When you first let your hens out to free range you may have a few stragglers who have lost their way but they will quickly learn.
Another alternative to feeding your chickens a commercial diet is to supplement their diet with your kitchen scraps. Chickens love kitchen scraps! Think of all the food you throw out on a weekly basis. Cereals, breads, and chips that have gone stale and vegetables, fruits, and leftovers which didn’t get eaten up, most of these food items would be a treasured meal for a chicken. I feed my chickens just about everything with a few exceptions: onions, garlic and chicken meat.
Keeping chickens is a very rewarding experience for the entire family.