General information

Growing chickens at home


Novice poultry farmers first need to decide on the goals of breeding domestic chickens. The goals of breeding chickens can be:

  • Getting meat
  • Getting eggs
  • Cultivation and sale of chickens,
  • Decorative targets.

Not only the choice of breed, but also the method of placement of chickens, as well as the number of their livestock will depend on the goals.

Acquire for breeding better day chickens from trusted breeders. When buying adult poultry to inexperienced poultry farmers, markets often sell elderly individuals whose meat is tough and their egg production is low or absent.

Choice of breed

If the main purpose of raising chickens is to obtain eggs, then for breeding should choose the egg breeds of birds. These breeds include:

  • Russian white,
  • Kuchinsky anniversary
  • Red-tailed,
  • Loman Brown,
  • Rhodonite,
  • Leggorn
  • Oryol,
  • Minor

Chickens of oviparous breeds rush from six to seven months old, yielding up to three hundred eggs a year, but gaining a relatively small weight - from two to four kilograms, and their meat is suitable only for broth.

Chickens breed Leggorn begin to rush already from 4 months. The egg production of the German breed Broma Brown reaches 330 eggs per year, but the maintenance of this breed requires a good warming of the chicken coop in winter. Chickens of the Minor breed do not have high egg production (up to 240 eggs per year), but carry the largest eggs weighing up to 80 grams.

Chicken meat breeds carry few eggs (about 100 pieces per year), but quickly gain a lot of weight. The average weight of meat chickens is from 3.5 to 7 kg. Among the most popular meat breeds can be identified:

Breed Bharama is popular in Russia because of its good cold tolerance and the ability to quickly adapt to different conditions of detention. The weight of adults reaches five kilograms by the fourth month of fattening.

To receive dietary meat, chickens are a breed of Orpington, as their meat is the most lean and easily digestible among meat breeds.

A compromise option would be the choice of meat-breeding breed for breeding, since chickens of such breeds gain good weight with relatively high egg production. Meat-breaking breeds include:

  • May Day,
  • Bress Gallic,
  • Kuchinsky,
  • Plymouth Rock,
  • Sussex.
The most popular meat-breeding breed is Bress-Gallic because of its good stamina and productivity. The weight of hens of the Bress-Gallic breed reaches 5 kilograms with egg production from 190 to 220 large eggs per year.

Choice of room

The next step after selecting the breed will be the choice of the method of keeping chickens. There are three main ways:

  • Free range,
  • In nests with aviary,
  • In special cells.

Free range implies keeping chickens in an open henhouse with perches and a large layer of litter. Chickens can freely go outside and walk to the compound. This method is suitable for keeping a small number of chickens (up to 20 individuals) in rural areas.

For chickens of egg breeds, free walking is more suitable, since mobility has a beneficial effect on the egg production of birds and the abundance of natural food in the form of greenery, insects and small pebbles will provide the layers with intake of vitamins and calcium for the shell.

Nests for chickens are indoor or outdoor covered boxes installed in chicken coops. Usually a small (3 by 5 meters) enclosure made of metal mesh for summer poultry is attached to such chicken coops.

The content in the nests with an open-air cage is suitable for hens of an egg and meat-breed, as it provides chickens with comfortable conditions for laying eggs and hatching chicks while ensuring moderate mobility. The density of placement of adults in a chicken coop with nests is from two to four heads per square meter.

In the cages for chickens the highest density of poultry landing is up to 12 individuals per square meter. A sedentary lifestyle with the cellular housing of chickens allows meaty breeds of chickens to gain weight quickly, but it is contraindicated for egg breeds, since, due to the limited mobility of the hen, they are obese and have difficulty laying eggs.

It is important to remember that keeping poultry in cages requires regular disinfection of cellular cages and good ventilation of the room, since a large density of birds, together with high humidity, can lead to the spread of infection and mass death of the livestock of chickens.

Features of the content of hens

It is preferable to keep the hens of the egg breed on the open range or in the nests with a small aviary. There are three options for obtaining chicks for the reproduction of poultry:

  • Buying young
  • Incubation in an incubator
  • Hatching with a hen.

Buying one-day stocking is a quick and convenient way to increase poultry stock, but there is a risk of acquiring sick and outbred chickens from unscrupulous breeders. To avoid this, it is necessary to require from the seller certificates of veterinary control and pay attention to the appearance of the chickens - they should not be wet or dirty.

Reproduction of chickens with the help of an incubator allows you to get young, without removing the layers from laying eggs. In the incubators, fertilized eggs are kept at about 38 degrees for twenty-one days, after which the chicks hatch from the eggs. It should be remembered that the use of an incubator requires a responsible approach and experience from the poultry farmer.

The most economical way to get chickens hatching is their hen. In order to incubate the chicks, the hen must be kept quiet by placing it at some distance from other hens.

It is important to remember that in order to fertilize the eggs, it is necessary to keep one individual per 8-12 hens in the rooster population.

Feeding and care

To ensure high egg laying hens it is necessary to follow a number of important rules for their maintenance:

  • Comfortable rooms,
  • Balanced complex nutrition,
  • The correct mode of lighting and ventilation,
  • Providing protection
  • Disease prevention.

If the birds are kept year-round, the room should be insulated, since at temperatures below +8 degrees the chicken production rate drops sharply. To protect against the cold, it is recommended to place the nests in the chicken coop at a certain height from the floor and not to attach directly to the walls. Using the entrance vestibule and infrared heaters will also help to keep warm in the winter.

To feed the hens you can use:

  • Homemade feed,
  • Factory feed,
  • Hard food.

Grain feed is suitable mainly for open content, chickens, in which layers can receive the missing vitamins and trace elements due to the natural natural food. Compound feed is a mixture of crushed grain with the addition of vitamins, minerals and fiber. In the nesting method of keeping the feed is the best solution.

It is important to maintain the presence of sufficient calcium-rich minerals in the forage for laying eggs, which is necessary for the formation of eggshell in the chicken's body, and the lack of calcium in the diet can lead to chickens spitting eggs.

Great for feeding chickens mash - It is a compound feed, filled with warm water or milk cream. To make it you need to mix the following ingredients:

  • Crushed barley - 500 g,
  • Sunflower cake - 200 g,
  • Meat bone or fish meal - 80 g,
  • Cut greens - 50 g,
  • Boiled carrots chopped 120 g,
  • Shell shells crushed - 50 g.

After mixing, pour water (200-300 ml) until a thick crumbly gruel is formed.

Remains of uneaten mash can not be stored for more than an hour, so it is important to calculate the amount of ingredients in advance, based on the number of birds. An adult requires 70-80 grams of finished feed twice a day.

An adult chicken drinks a day to half a liter of liquid, so drinkers with fresh drinking water should be installed in the hen house. Drinkers of vacuum or nipple type provide a metered flow of water and do not require maintenance during the day.

The presence of a full day (12-14 hours) supports the well-being and high egg production of the bird, therefore, when laying hens in the nests, it is necessary to have artificial lighting at the rate of 100 W per 4 square meters. meters of space. Installation of photosensitive machines and timers will help maintain the light mode in the winter.

When placing the enclosure is important to ensure the safety of chickens. Pieces of metal mesh should not have sharp edges, on which birds may be injured. The presence of a strip or pile foundation will help prevent rodents eating eggs from entering the aviary and hen house.

The correct location of the chicken coop and the aviary directly affects the egg production of chickens. The basic requirements for a place to house chickens are as follows:

  • Quiet place,
  • Elevation,
  • Good light.

The location of the chicken coop near the roads is unacceptable, since the presence of extraneous noise will reduce the productivity of chickens, and representatives of the leggorn egg-bearing breed tend to fall into noise hysteria.

The location of the chicken coop on a hill will help to avoid moisture due to the accumulation of rain or melt water in the aviary or wetting of the chicken coop bedding.

It is important to remember that the exit door of the chicken coop and the aviary should be located on the south side, and the construction of the chicken coop in the shade of large buildings should also be avoided.

Disease prevention

In order to avoid contamination of the hens with pathogens and parasites, it is important to maintain a low level of moisture in the hen house and a good level of ventilation. Ventilation is achieved due to the location of special windows 0.5 by 0.5 meters on opposite walls of the chicken coop.

To get rid of chickens from skin parasites and feathers, it is necessary to install containers with ashes and fine river sand in an open-air cage. In such tanks, chickens bathe and clean insect feathers.

It is useful to add edible salt to the feed as an anthelmintic once a week. Salt is taken at the rate of 5 grams of salt per kilogram of feed.

Features of the content of broilers

Broilers are chickens raised by a method of rapid intensive fattening within a period not exceeding forty-five days until they reach a weight of 2 kilograms.

Usually for broiler breeding take chickens obtained from crossing the meat breed Cornish and meat breed Plymouth. Broiler chickens, resulting from such a cross, gain weight faster than each meat breed separately, but these abilities are not inherited.

Cross-breeding chickens of different breeds is beyond the power of novice poultry farmers, so it is better to buy day-old broiler chickens from special breeders.

Advantages and disadvantages of home keeping chickens

The main advantages of domestic breeding of hens and broilers include:

  • Getting natural meat and eggs
  • Personal control over the process of growing chickens,
  • The ability to receive additional products.

The meat of chickens grown in a private farmstead significantly differs in taste from the purchased one at the expense of better housing conditions than in large poultry farms. At home, birds do not overfeed with antibiotics and growth hormones, with the result that the meat of such birds is more suitable for dietary nutrition.

The owners of farms may receive additional income by selling chicken feathers for pillow stuffing and chicken manure as valuable organic fertilizer.

It should be understood that the maintenance of chickens at home requires constant monitoring by the poultry farmer, even when using modern automatic equipment, the installation of which is not cheap. Therefore, it makes sense to raise chickens at home if done with the expectation of a year-round content in the long term.

Thus, the home method of breeding chickens is suitable for those who permanently live in their home with a land plot and is not economically feasible for summer residents who spend only summer in their home.