Raising chickens a rewarding challenge
I recently attended to an interesting seminar about how to raise chickens given by Rich Kennedy of Nutrena Feed at Locust Hill Farm and Stove in Pattersonville.
What I found out is that there's a lot of work involved before you can enjoy your first scrambled egg. Many people enjoy the flavor of fresh eggs because store eggs can be sitting in a store fridge for up to three weeks.
Chicks are hatched and then experience their first big adventure being shipped via the U.S Postal Service to our local feed store. Once they arrive, they have to be kept at a constant temperature of 90 to 95 degrees. This is done by keeping them in a small container heated by a special light bulb. It is also important that they have proper bedding, food and water. That is just the easy part, and then you have to check on them three to four times a day and look for any signs of stress, disease or discomfort after their big trip. The New York state law is you have to buy a minimum of six chickens .
It is about 20 weeks until they start laying eggs. That is when their purpose in life begins.
First in the process, you have to keep a healthy flock. One way is to limit contract with other animals -- for example, by keeping the chickens caged in to prevent contact with wild birds and other predators.
Chickens lay one egg per day. Once they are ready, they need a place to lay their eggs. The best place to make them feel comfortable is a small wooden box in a chicken coop. You must check this box every day for eggs. After about 14 months, the chickens stop laying eggs for one to three months for the molting process.
Chickens live four to seven years; some live as long as 20 years. Chickens are cute when they are small and fluffy like any other animal, and they require lots of work, and you'd better like eggs, because you are going to have lots of them.