Observations / Tips

Proud Chicken Farmer since April 2016!

I am trying to compile the things I’ve learnt as a chicken farmer.  I have a long way to go so please take everything with a grain of salt.  Or what your parents always say: don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

COCK to HEN RATIO

  • Originally I had 5 cocks and 1 hen and it sucked.  4 of the cocks were brothers, raised together and used to me, so I think they might have gotten along unusually well due to that.  However they would still occasionally bully each other and prevent each other from eating.
  • Generally I’ve read 1 cock for every 4-10 hens, but it varies.
  • Silkie roosters seem to get along better with other roosters.
  • It seems to depend on whether your surplus cocks want to challenge the higher cocks or not.  The ones who are passive enough to avoid the top cocks can live alright by hanging out with one or two hens at a time.

EGGS 101

 

FEEDING

  • Avoid feeding apple seeds, citrus, dry rice, eggplants, onions, potatoes, raw eggs*, and tomatoes
  • * Eggs are fine to feed chickens as long as they are cooked first so that they do not get into the habit of cracking and eating their own eggs.
  • Be wary of feeding too much asparagus, bread, and spinach
  • Do feed them poultry/egg layer feed from farm stores, most fruits & vegetables, oatmeal, and oyster shells
  • Personally, my chickens seem to quite enjoy grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, whole wheat/grain bread, and mealworms.  Lonely Chicken likes peanuts.
  • This list is by no means complete!

FREE-RANGIN’

INCUBATING EGGS

  • Incubators can be bought at farm stores, such as local co-ops or TSC.  Have yet to find any pet stores that sell incubators.  Have not found any farms that sell incubators, nor have I looked.
  • Not sure how to build a home-made incubator
  • I kept my incubator at 45-50% humidity (which happened to be the natural humidity) and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 2 1/2 weeks then moved the eggs to 60-70% humidity and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  As the cycle is not complete, I am not sure my success rate.

ILLNESSES & OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH

  • Fly strike
  • Maran’s Disease (look into vaccinations and medicated chicken food to avoid)
  • Predators that will go after chickens, chicks, and/or eggs include but are not limited to coyotes, foxes, skunks, and cats.

LAWS

SEXING

 

GLOSSARY

  • COCK: male chicken, short for “cockerel.”
  • DRAKE: male duck
  • DUCK: female duck, sometimes called hen
  • FOWL: birds such as chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, and turkeys
  • PIP/PIPPING: newborn chicks cracking their eggshell
  • POULTRY: domesticated fowl, especially those used for farming
  • PULLET: a young hen (less than one year)
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