Different Chicken Breeds
Have you been considering raising chickens as a hobby or as a way to obtain fresh eggs? This is a growing trend throughout the United Kingdom and a great way to learn about traditions dating back thousands of years. However, there are some important topics to address in advance. One common issue involves understanding the different types of chicken breeds. This is important to understand so that you can better appreciate how they should be raised. Let’s look at some common types found within modern chicken coops as well as considering their average lifespan and dietary requirements.
Backyard Chicken Breeds at a Glance
Believe it or not, there are well over two dozen chicken breeds. Each chicken breed is associated with their own unique characteristics, so it is wise to perform additional research to better understand which type(s) might be best suited for you. Here are some common breeds to consider:
- The ISA Brown (known to produce a large quantity of eggs).
- Plymouth Rock chickens (one of the calmest breeds).
- The Barnevelder (famous for its distinctive plumage).
- The Australorp (another breed suited for high egg production).
We should point out that some chicken breeds are naturally more friendly than others. This should be taken into account if you wish to avoid any social issues within your future chicken coops.
How Long do Chickens Live?
The average lifespan of a chicken will depend upon several factors. Not only must they be provided with a comfortable living environment, but the correct diet is extremely important. We will take a look at their nutritional needs in the following section. While some breeds are known to live slightly longer than others, the average lifespan of a chicken is between five and ten years.
What do Chickens Eat?
These animals will normally require a type of chicken feed known as ‘layered mash’ or ‘layered pellets’. These foods contain a variety of substances that will provide an adequate supply of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and calcium. Most experts agree that up to 90% of a chicken’s diet should consist of layered mash feed. Of course, it is just as important to provide them with plenty of fresh water to ensure healthy egg production (as eggs are mostly comprised of water).
There are herbal and natural wormers available to enhance the immune system of poultry which helps to repel worms. Liquid AND Pellets are available to suit your individual feeding regimes.
Two forms of Verm-X for Poultry have been developed. Liquid formulation fed by adding to the drinking water. However many customers with free range birds have found that feeding Verm-X in the water may not be very precise. As their birds may drink from other water sources especially if it has been raining! So a convenient pellet has been developed that can be fed by sprinkling on the top of normal poultry feed.
- Verm-X is a natural way of controlling parasites.
- Ideal for poultry kept on organic farms.
- Palatable and has no known resistance.
Raising chickens can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Chickens require a certain amount of coop and run space including:
- Nesting boxes.
- Access to food and water
- Security from predators and space to roam.
Setting up a chicken coop requires some advanced planning to meet the specific needs of chickens.
Build your chicken coop with a minimum of 4 square feet per chicken. Fifty to 100 square feet is a nice space for 15 or fewer chickens.
- Allow space for chickens to free range during the day.
- They will forage for food and exercise when roaming free.
- Add roosting posts and branches to the run.
- Chickens use roosting areas during the day.
- Add shade cloth to provide a cool escape from the summer sun.
- Bury fencing 1 foot below ground, this will prevent burrowing predators.
- Cover with netting to stop birds of prey.
Add elevated roosting bars inside the coop. Chickens roost on the bars at night. Use natural tree branches, if possible, or wooden dowels. Chickens also will roost on exposed roof beams. Add nesting boxes with access from the coop interior. Use wood shavings, straw or shredded newspaper for bedding inside the coop. Use sand for easy cleaning in the run area.
Food and Water
Provide access to food and water inside and outside the coop. Constant access to water is critical for the chickens.
Hang food and water to prevent roosting and defecating in feed containers.
Use a heat lamp to prevent water from freezing during the winter and to warm the coop during cold weather. Frozen water will lead to dehydration and put your flock at risk.
Check the food and water on a daily basis.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Keep a rake and rubbish bin close to the coop for weekly cleaning. Remove and replace old bedding and rake faeces from the sand.
Used materials can make a compost pile for your garden.
Open the coop doors during the day to create airflow and keep things dry. Preventing moisture accumulation in the coop reduces fly problems and the potential for disease.
The professionals at Copdock Mill are pleased to offer a variety of poultry feed products and each of these has been engineered with an optimal spectrum of nutrients. Please take a closer look at our line of products and as always, do not hesitate to visit one of our country stores.