We first started raising chickens for eggs after ordering them with some friends...Then the fun began!
My mom first picked out the best egg laying chickens that also did well in our hot climate. We got Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, and Plymouth Rocks. They all do well in the heat and lay lots of eggs.
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There is a lot to learn about raising chickens when you are just getting started...
We got ours and put them in two cardboard boxes in our garage. We bought the standard waterers and feeders and heat lamps...and were up and running!
We were at first told that you weren’t supposed to handle them much...we took that to mean don’t touch! But after they were getting older, someone told us that they would not be very friendly if we just left them to their selves. Oops...I think we could have started handling them long before we actually did. :)
So then we started picking them up and handling them. Since then I have heard people say that you can pick them up even when they are tiny. So I don’t worry about it any more and they all have seemed to do fine with me and my younger siblings handling them at a young age.
Our Chickens First Egg!
Our laying chickens eventually got old enough and laid their first egg...
That first egg, or anything “first” for that matter (watermelon, squash, or glass of milk), is always so much fun!
Chicken Coop Design
Laying chickens need a shelter or coop of some kind. Our first chicken coop design was an A-frame coop with wheels. Our plan was to move it around so we didn’t have to mess with bedding. We also let them out onto the grass during the day.
Our first A-frame coop.
Since then we moved and we built another bigger, and stationary coop in one of our pastures.
There are pros and cons to both...
We need to keep fresh bedding in the stationary coop, but in the moveable coop it is so low it is really difficult to work in.
Either way your coop needs to have places for them to roost, and nesting boxes.
Somehow some of our laying chickens have found out that their eggs tasted good. :( We tried putting soap eggs in there, but the dog was also getting them...and we couldn’t fool the dog.
This can be a hard part of raising chickens for eggs. The best idea for not letting your chickens to eat their eggs is...Don’t let them start!
You might try collecting them more often, and having their nesting boxes off the ground.
Hatching Your Own Chicks!
Chicks under their broody mother's wings.
A fun part of raising chickens for eggs is that you can let them go broody and hatch chicks. We have had a few chickens go broody. It is so much fun having chicks that you hatched running around!
Make sure you get the right chickens if you are going to seriously start breeding your chickens.
Feeding Laying Chickens
Mother hen with her chicks... Eating with the rest of the flock.
When you are raising chickens for eggs, keep in mind you are going to need to have the right feed for them.
You can buy feed from the store that already has everything that they need in it. That is what we are doing right now. I really want them to be off the store bought feed and am working towards that as hard as I can...but it takes time.
I thought that I could do it just by letting them scrounge around our homestead. But I eventually realized that our land needs to be a little more built up first. I am working on it though.
Choosing The Best Egg Laying Chickens
Picking breeds that are going to lay you lots of eggs is important. You are going to be feeding them either way so get the best egg laying chickens you can.
Free Ranging For Healthy Eggs
When you are considering how to set up your flock do you want them free ranging?
Chicken digging through our compost pile.
If you care at all about the health of your eggs, the free range flock is a must! Pastured eggs have way more vitamins, omega-3, and seven times more beta carotene!
Not to mention the bug control, or the fertilizer for the grass.
If you can, free ranging is the way to go.
Raising Chickens For Eggs
There is a lot that goes into setting up your own chickens...but they are a must on any homestead or urban farm.
Remember that chickens are happiest with plenty of cool water, feed, and room to move around and free range.
Have fun raising your chickens for eggs!