Before purchasing chickens , first check with the town hall or subdivision, as in some urban areas chicken farming is regulated. Rest assured, this is rare and you can have a few hens without harming the good relations of neighbors! Provided of course to respect some basic rules that we will explain to you …
Are you ready to breed laying hens?
The breeding of laying hens, unlike other animals, does not require any special skills. Nevertheless, it requires regular maintenance: giving them a rich and diversified diet, clean water, ensuring the hygiene of the henhouse … these are some principles of common sense!
And although chickens are not strictly speaking pets, be sure to maintain regular contact with them, you will be surprised to see that you can create real interactions with them! It will also be necessary to provide once a week a complete cleaning of the chicken coop. All of these operations will take you no more than a few minutes a day. A few minutes of happiness, you will say most small breeders …
How to choose your laying hens?
There are different breeds of laying hens. Chickens of eggs, ornament or competition. You can find them in the markets, in the garden centers or directly with the breeders. The poultry fairs, which regularly bring together the enthusiasts, are a great way to find beautiful subjects that can be used for breeding. You will thus participate in the preservation of certain breeds that have become rare because they are considered less productive than industrial strains.
On Laying hens, I will introduce you some breeds known for their talent of layers. You will also see that they have other assets! Go to the “chicken breeds” tab for more information. It should be noted that in terms of laying, all the chickens are not equal. There are indeed races that lay more than others. If your goal is to raise chickens for their eggs, then it’s best to choose them.
Read also our selection of the best laying hens .
How many laying hens do you need?
A breeding of 2 chickens seems to me ideal to start a small production of eggs house. It should be known that a hen can lay up to 200 eggs per year, or even more in the first year. Therefore two hens will provide enough eggs for a family of 4 people. Finally you will not need much space, at most about twenty square meters.
Need a cock for my chickens?
According to an urban legend, it would take a cock to have eggs. This mainly reflects a bad knowledge of our friends the chickens! Ladies indeed do not have the cock to lay eggs. This latter work, however, to fertilize them. So no cock, no chicks. If you live in urban areas, I strongly advise against taking one, you would put the whole neighborhood on your back! And on this point, the courts are unanimous: in town, the morning chanting of the cock represents a nuisance. Remains to invent the urban cock …
What should be expected for a chicken coop?
To accommodate your laying hens, you will of course have to provide a well designed chicken coop and a small adapted equipment, essentially a drinking trough and a reserve feeder. With this do not forget a grain-based food, ideally crushed, which will serve as a food base for your chickens. The litter will consist of crushed straw for the nesting part and wood chips for the rest part, where the chickens are asleep. Above this rest zone is the main perch where the chickens like to go for the night. The droppings fall below and aggregate to the chip. The assembly is removed at least once a week. Most poultry houses have a removable drawer, which is useful for recovering used litter. Attention do not throw this litter box, Which mixed with green waste will constitute a fantastic manure for your garden! You will only have to compost it to obtain a valuable amendment for your plantations.
You are ready to welcome your chickens. We invite you to read our page dedicated to “chicken henhouses” for more information: learn more .
Should I buy chickens or chicks?
Avoid chicks. Although very endearing, they are very fragile. Given the low cost of acquiring a chicken, we advise you to opt for a ready-to-lay chicken. From 16 weeks, the hens reach their adult size and are robust enough to live independently in the chicken coop. They begin to lay about twenty weeks usually. Chicks should be constantly monitored because they are very sensitive to temperature changes. And above all, important detail, on most breeds it is almost impossible to distinguish the chickens from the cocks at this age. Imagine your head when you discover that you bought two cocks !!!
How many eggs can lay a laying hen?
A good laying hen will lay you up to 220 eggs per year. Be aware that from the age of 3, your hen will become less productive. A trick to have a regular production:
Take chickens of different ages and renew the breeding by half every three years. Thus, you will keep a regular production. This technique is inspired by the French institutions, in particular the Senate which renews its old parliamentarians every three years!
Choosing your chicken coop and its location
Installing a poultry house requires a space of a few square meters. Ideally, ten square meters of outdoor space per hen should be counted. Prefer an isolated location at a location too close to your neighborhood. The chicken coop will be sheltered from the weather and from the prevailing winds, its entrance will be ideally oriented to the east.
The henhouse will consist of two distinct areas: the walking enclosure, allowing access to land, essential for your chickens. The shelter will be used primarily for sleeping and laying. During the day the chickens go there very little. The space can therefore be restricted, between 1 and 2 square meters for 4 hens.
The ideal is to install the set in a mixed location (sun on one side and shade on the other). Some tricks will improve the comfort of your tenants. Discover them in our “chicken coop” section .