Poultry growers should give trade some forethought

This list goes with a full feature on backyard poultry, accessible here.

There are many reasons to raise your own backyard poultry, but before you fill your lawn with birds or any other livestock, here are some very basic considerations:

1. Are you allowed to keep poultry at your residence? You may need to check with city or town hall, or your landlord. You need to understand any ordinances that are in place.

2. Where will you keep your poultry? Chickens, like mammals, need to be comfortably cool in the summer, and kept warm during the winter.

3. What will you keep your poultry in? The birds need to be protected from all predators and kept clean, in order to remain healthy and productive.
Many types of pre-built structures are available.
Or, if you’re up to the challenge, you can build your own coop or shed from basic supplies found at most hardware stores.

4. What will you do with what you collect? The frequency the hens will lay eggs depends on a lot of factors, including age, but you need to determine whether you will eat the eggs yourself, share with friends or sell at a market.

5. Where will your feed and supplies come from, and how much will it cost? You may find yourself spending more for backyard poultry than you would at the local grocery, but some producers say the benefits of producing their own eggs and meat are worthwhile. Feed mills and feed companies generally have poultry feed available, as well as feeders and other basic supplies.

6. Mortality. Your birds won’t live forever. There is a wide range of how producers handle their aging and ailing birds. Some medications are available, but may cost more than they’re worth. If a hen is past her prime, chicken soup becomes a popular choice. Parting with a bird can be difficult, because for some producers, their birds become pets.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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