Feeding Vegetables to Backyard Chickens
Best Vegetables for Healthy Chickens
Most backyard chicken farmers provide their chickens with pre-ordered chicken feed which is fast and easy, providing your chickens with the nutrition needed to grow and flourish. However, to keep your chickens in prime condition, maintain healthy egg production, and flourishing plumage, we recommend adding some vegetables to your chicken's diet. Once your chicks reach two months of age, they will develop an appetite for vegetables, and will eat many common vegetables, although a few stand out as favorites which are preferred by most chicken breeds. The list below provides the best vegetables to maintain healthy backyard chickens:
Pumpkin seeds have been shows to increase growth performance for young chickens as an ideal dietary supplement addition, helping them to reach full maturity and weight. This holiday season, consider pumpkin seed supplements for your chicken's diet, which will help to maintain weight and will serve to insulate, especially during the winter months in colder climates.
Adding spinach greens to your backyard chicken's diet will boost their supply of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are antioxidants essential for promoting healthy skin and immune system functions. Additionally, spinach will provide your chickens with essential folic acid, calcium, and iron. Many backyard chickens will eat spinach whole, although you can also chop up spinach to add to your chicken feed.
Cabbage provides antioxidants and selenium to your chickens to boost their immune system. Cabbage is an all-time favorite for most chicken breeds! In fact, studies show that selenium from cabbage is highly bioavailable and may improve chickens immune system.
Broccoli is an excellent antioxidant for your chicken's diet, serving as an favorite vegetable for your chickens, which can be served whole or chopped. Additionally, broccoli extract may effect the antioxidant response element in broiler chickens, which may serve to reduce oxidative stress and improve the health of farm animals.
For backyard farmers looking for extraordinary egg yolk color, red pepper dietary supplement may help to improve egg yolk color quality. This is important for backyard chicken owners that produce eggs for personal consumption, as red pepper supplement for chicken diet may improve the egg yolk colorant quality of your eggs.
How to Raise Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Raise Happy Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions
A chicken egg a day keeps the doctor away! Depending on your breed, your chickens will behave differently. More broody and guarding chicken breeds tend to be more stubborn and reluctant, such as the cochin, orpington, brahma and Sussex. While other breeds are more friendly and docile, such as the rhode island red, easter egger, black australorp, and jersey giant. Depending on your desired egg quality and production, we recommend selecting a chicken breed that meets your interest. Here are a few helpful answers to some frequently asked questions to guide you through chicken breed selection.
Can I Have Chickens if I Have a Dog and Cat?
Yes! Although you will need to keep your chicks separate from family pets until they are adults, many proud backyard chicken owners also have dogs, cats, horses, llamas, cows, and more! Although we do recommend that you keep dogs on a leash when introducing them to your new backyard chickens, a slow process until they recognize each other will help to reduce social anxiety.
Can chickens ship safely?
Yes, day old chicks ordered through californiahatchery.com are shipped via USPS and are shipped with packaging to survive for several days to anywhere in the continental United States. Believe it or not, day old chicks thrive in warmer temperatures, so you don’t need to worry if the summertime temperatures are high, you’re chicks will be just fine during transit. Additionally, we include instructions for your local post office to call you when you’re chicks arrive, so you can pick them up immediately. We advise that you provide them with sugar water upon arrival, as this really helps them rejuvenate after their journey.
Is it hard to raise chickens?
Raising backyard chickens requires a small time commitment, to anything from feeding, watering, and cleaning, although the work is worth the effort. In the end, the health benefits from fresh backyard eggs goes way beyond the work. In the morning, you will need to let your chickens out of their coop, and provide them with fresh water and feed. At night, we recommend that you lock your chickens inside their coop to protect them from predators. We highly recommend cleaning your chick bedding from their coop once a week, and also that your rinse their feed and water dishes as well.
How much does it cost to have chickens?
Believe it or not, chickens are less expensive than most typical household pets. A 50 lbs. bag of chick layer developed feed costs $65 (including shipping) through californiahatchery.com, which provide enough feed for six chickens for one month. Chicken maintenance is fairly easy, as long as you provide your chickens with shelter, food, and water, you can enjoy fresh chicken eggs every morning. By far, the biggest investment will be your chicken coop, which is more affordable when you build on your own, or you can purchase a chicken coop for as low as $200. On rare occasions, you may need to provide veterinary care to your chickens (a listing of avian vets can be found on tillysnest.com).
Do I need a rooster?
No, you do not need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Generally, you will only need a rooster if you want your eggs to hatch. However, if you’re looking for the morning ‘cock a doodle doooooo’ at sunrise, then you may want a rooster to have a traditional farm experience. Fortunately, we offer a guarantee when you select the sex of your breed, so you can be assured that 99% of chicks shipped are sexed accurately.
How Many Days do Backyard Chicken Eggs Stay Fresh?
We recommend that you collect your backyard hens eggs daily, although the eggs should be considered fresh even after several days. After you wash chicken eggs, we recommend that you refrigerate them immediately.
Henhouse Tips- Keeping Backyard Chickens
Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs
Backyard Chicken Terms- What is a Broody Chicken?
Best Summertime Chicken Breeds
How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?
The answer: Chicks purchased from Californiahatchery.com will ship through the US postal system using either express or priority delivery, depending on the quantity of chicks in your order. All chicks will ship the day they hatch. Typically, your chicks will arrive within 2-3 days after they ship. We include instructions for the post office to call the customer as soon as their order arrives at their local post office. We advise our customers to contact their local post office and let them know they are expecting a delivery of live poultry, which will help to facilitate our safe arrival guarantee.
Favorite Chicken Breeds
Barred Rock Chicken
The Barred Rock Chicken originated in Holland and lays large dark brown eggs about three (3) times per week. The barred rock chicken has a friendly and calm personality and a greyish "rock like" coloring making them a popular backyard chicken breed in the United States. The barred rock chicken has a friendly personality and can be housed with any other breed of chicken.
(Pictured Above: Barred Rock Chicken Breed)
Buff Orpington Chicken
The Buff Orpington Chicken originates from England and lays large brown colored eggs about three (3) times per week. The buff orpington is a favorite breed for many backyard chicken owners due to their appearance, as they have been bred as a show bird rather than for utility purposes. Their docile and friendly personalities make them easily adaptable to live with other chicken breeds!
Chickens for Eggs- Best Egg Laying Chickens
1) Delaware chicken- This breed will usually lay four (4) large brown eggs per week depending on conditions. The breed originates from the United States and will provide a calm and friendly demeanor as one of your backyard chickens.
2) Rhode Island Red Chicken- The Rhode Island Red chicken breed typically lays five (5)extra-large brown eggs per week. This is by far one of our most popular egg laying breeds. This breed is calm and easily handled as part of your backyard chicken flock.
3) White Leghorn chicken- This breed will lay about four (4) large white eggs per week of excellent quality. They are an active and energetic breed that will add some personality to your backyard flock! We highly recommend the white leghorn chicken as one of your primary white egg laying chicken breeds.
Guidelines for Raising Baby Chicks
1) A heating lamp and brooder area- The heating lamp temperature should change according as your chicks grow. Follow the heating lamp temperature guidelines below to provide optimal temperature for your chicks:
Week 1: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 2: 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 3: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 4: 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 5,6,7: 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 8: 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit
Week 9: 65 degrees Fahrenheit
The heating lamp should be placed 12-18 inches above the floor of the heating area. Some signs that your heat is too low- Your chicks will huddle together in the brooder. If the temperature is too high, your chicks may be dispersed throughout the heating area, and they may look tired. If the temperature is set correctly, your chicks will be evenly dispersed throughout the heating area, and they will look lively while making lots of peeping sounds!