Backyard Chickens: 5 Things I Didn’t Know

in Barnyard,Beginner Barn

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chickenIs that not one of the grossest things you’ve ever seen?  GOSH, molting is nasty looking.  And, all of them are molting at once, which means every morning it looks like a chicken exploded in my back yard.  The first time I thought one got eaten!

Anyway, at over a 18 months of chicken ownership, I have some things to share that I didn’t know going in:

1.  Baby chicks can eat the same food as grown up chicks and will try.  HOWEVER, like human babies, they don’t have enough sense not to eat food pieces that are too large for them.  The best thing about chick starter is the SIZE.  You can grind up regular chicken food and feed it to your chicks, BUT do not leave any big pieces in there.  THEY WILL CHOKE.  (Notice I haven’t mentioned my guinea’s lately?)

2.  Chickens go through a massive molt at 18 months old.  After a month or two, they start laying again and the eggs are BIGGER.  They may not lay every day anymore, but they lay larger.

3.  Chickens can and will eat almost anything.  If you have chickens, there’s really no need for a bokashi composter.  They eat it all.  I don’t feed them CHICKEN, cause that’s gross to me, but they get everything else.  I wanted vegetarian chickens, but that’s not possible if they have access to pasture.  They eat every bug, worm, and dead thing they find.  So, ya get over it.  (*Note:  do not feed chickens homemade playdoh.  They WILL die.  Ask TL’s sister-in-law.)

4. You do not need processing devices to eat chicken.  You only need an old lady.  I was at the neighborhood association meeting on Saturday and they said something about boiling water and I tuned out, but I know that they can turn your chickens into dinner.  I could probably never kill chickens unless my children were in danger of starving (I’m a big baby), but if the old farm gals in the cove will do it for me, I might try my hand at broilers.  (*Note: never let your children name anything that you’ll be eating, unless it’s Dinner.)

5.  Collecting poo for compost is hard if your chicks are pastured.  Don’t even try.  You’d need a tablespoon and someone else’s back.  It’s ridiculous.  Not that I’m into the poo collection, per se, but having pastured chicks, I can tell you it would be like dropping tablespoons of thick pancake batter all over the yard and picking it back up when it dries.  If cooped, however, you just need a shovel.


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