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Buying and breeding a chicken does not seem complicated, but beginners should follow some guidelines. It is necessary to know the purpose for which we want to grow them, proper feeding is important as well as sufficient space and safe conditions.
The first thing you need to do before buying is to decide for what purpose you want to breed chickens – just for meat, meat, and eggs or just eggs, and choosing the right breeding goals is essential to choosing the right type and right food. Be careful when buying chickens, especially if you are buying from unknown sellers. Some may deceive inexperienced poultry growers by selling them sick chickens or the elderly to whom productive years have ended.
In the first weeks, the most important thing is heating the chickens
Chicks do not have straight feathers from 6 to 7 weeks of age, so they cannot regulate their body temperature, and they need to be heated during this period. During the first week, the temperature should be 95 °F and should gradually decrease by 41 °F every week until the ambient temperature is reached. We will know if they have enough heat according to their position: if they are all crushed in a pile – they are too cold, if they are arranged on the edges – they are too hot. If they are equally distributed everywhere, then the temperature suits them.
It should be kept in mind that chickens grow very fast so they do not need to be bought in large quantities at the same time as they may not have enough space. It is important to choose the type of chick that suits you and not buy several types at the same time as some are not good to breed together so you need to carefully study the information about the type you want before buying.
Very often, poultry breeders miscalculate how much space they will need to grow because the arrival of offspring reduces the space. According to the University of Missouri Extension, one medium-sized chicken needs at least 32 ft² of indoor floor space and 86-107 ft² of outdoor space. The hen should be dry and ventilated and the chickens should be kept dry and warm so that they do not become ill. The more space there is, the chickens will be happier and healthier, and overcrowding contributes to the onset of disease and pests.
Chicken manure and its improper disposal create ideal conditions for the development of pests and pathogens, so regular cleaning is required. The straw used should be changed more often as poultry quickly become contaminated and develops mold, and sawdust or peat can be used instead. Feeders and water containers should be washed approximately once a week. Chickens when small can also be drowned in a pot of water, so you can fill them with, for example, gravel to avoid this.
How to Feed Chickens Properly?
Poultry is not picky about food. Chickens are omnivorous, which makes them easy to feed and can eat cereals, fruits, vegetables, and bugs. They can consume leftovers from the table just be careful that the food is free of toxins.
There are some foods that are toxic to poultry so they should be avoided, which are:
- immature tomatoes
- food containing mold
To better manage their diet, you need to provide them with well-balanced meals containing all the vitamins and minerals they need to reach their potential weight. If you are breeding chickens for eggs, feed them with calcium. They will lay their eggs from spring to fall until they have about 12 to 14 hours of daylight. You need to change their water several times a day.
Lastly, be careful not to feed them any additives or products that will stimulate and accelerate their growth. Additives are almost always used in poultry farming, resulting in a jump in muscle growth, which is by no means healthy for poultry or meat and egg customers alike.
Proper nutrition can prevent illness, obesity, anxiety and premature death.
How to care for the health of hens and chickens?
If you are adding new individuals to the existing plantation, watch out for quarantine. It should take about a month to avoid the spread of diseases and pests that new individuals can transmit. Buy vaccinated chickens, and if they get sick, spray them with plenty of water and food, which is often a crucial factor in saving poultry, and make sure you call a vet.
They also need to have enough sun during the day because rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency. It is also important that the hen is not overcrowded and dirty as coccidiosis can occur. Watch out for ticks and lice because they are the most common parasites in poultry.