Are you looking for a way you can supplement your monthly income, or at the very least make sure that your family never goes hungry? Then poultry farming may interest you. For years, people have been raising chickens in their backyards either for their eggs or their meat, maybe even both. Chickens are quite low maintenance animals; you only need to keep them sheltered and well-fed, and they will pay you back with fresh eggs every day, and meat if you can breed them. This makes chicken farming, even on a small scale, a viable way to earn a modest living.
Here are other reasons why you should seriously consider raising a couple of chickens of your own:
- They are cheap – You can buy live chickens for just a couple of dollars each, cheaper if you buy them as chicks or hatchlings. You will only have to wait a couple of weeks and the chicks you bought to become full-grown chickens that are able to lay eggs.
- They are easy to maintain – Chicken feed is quite affordable. You can buy a good-sized bag of chicken for a reasonable price and it will last for a long time.
- Their manure makes great fertilizer – If you have a garden you will definitely benefit from raising chickens as their manure makes potent fertilizer.
- They multiply fast – If you start with only a couple of chickens at the start of the year, with careful care and planning, their number can triple even before the year is done. You can then sell the new additions or trade them to other chicken farmers for new stock; this will prevent inbreeding within the brood.
- They do not take up a lot of space – You can house chickens in a relatively small space. In fact you can put in a couple of birds in an enclosure that is no bigger than five square feet.
Chicken Fencing Considerations
The only thing that you really need to carefully think about when raising your own chickens is where you will be keeping them. Fencing them in a small patch of land in the backyard is the most popular method that people use when keeping chickens, but you do not just drive in some posts and run chicken wire around them. There are certain considerations that you need to think about carefully before you can even start on your chicken fencing project.
Chicken Fencing Height – You would not want your chickens roaming about your yard or wandering about in your neighbors' gardens, which is why you need to keep them caged in. Chickens can still fly short distances, so you need to install poultry fencing that is high enough that they cannot get over it. Chickens can fly to a height of almost 6 feet, so you need your fencing to at least be 7 feet high, or covered over.
Fencing Materials to Use – Ordinarily, chicken wire is enough to house your chickens, but you may need a couple of layers if there are other critters roaming about in your area like raccoons and possums that would love to make a meal out of your prized chickens. You may also want to consider using stronger chicken wire fencing if you live in an area where larger predators like coyotes are a bit of a problem.
Accessibility – You need to easily access the chicken enclosure, so you can get to the eggs, feed the chickens, and clean the area, while still making sure that the chickens cannot get out.
Chicken Fencing Ideas
If do not have any ideas on how to go about making an enclosure for your chickens then maybe these tips can help you get started.
- Bury the poultry fencing about a foot underground. This will prevent the chickens from burrowing under the wire and escaping. This will also keep foxes and raccoons from doing the same from outside the fence.
- If you plan on keeping only a few hens around, consider placing chicken wire above the chicken pen as well. This not only keeps the chickens in, they can also keep aerial predators like hawks and ravens from stealing them.
- Use electric chicken fencing if you are having a lot of problems with foxes and other large predators. Electric fencing can also deter the chickens from roosting on top of the wires and also discourage them from flying over the fence.
- Make sure that the place where you are putting your chicken fencing in stays reasonably dry throughout the whole year, but still catches enough rainfall that grass can still grow. This will enable the chickens to go out of their coop and forage.
- Regularly check your chicken fencing for any tears in the mesh. You should repair these tears while they are still small because they will tend to get larger as time goes by, and a larger tear means more work to fix. If you find a tear, use a similar gauge galvanized wire to sew up the hole.
Where can you get chicken fencing supplies? And what do you need?
It is quite easy getting your hands on the materials you will need to construct your own chicken enclosure. You can actually buy all of them in any hardware supply stores. All you will need are posts (either wooden, iron, or concrete), some wire, nails, and of course the all-important chicken wire. And if you are not really confident about your carpentry skills, you may want to buy a light yet sturdy gate for your enclosure.
Raising chickens in your own backyard is not only simple, it is also very rewarding. A lot of people would love to have their own little poultry farm in their yards, but they don't, just because they do not know how to properly fence them in and keep them inside their property. But if you just take into consideration the tips and other tidbits of information provided, you are well on your way to making your own little self-sufficient poultry farm.
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