As a backyard chicken owner, your first goal is keeping your girls happy and healthy. There are lots of ways to work towards that goal, and Nutrena offers you one more option: our unique FlockShield healthy flock shield system, found in our NatureWise poultry feeds. Learn about it here from Nutrena poultry expert Twain Lockhart.
FlockShield is an additive that boosts the chickens’ overall immune systems helping them to live longer and lay more eggs
If you are new to chickens, or are looking at upgrading your current coop, there’s a few key things to consider when building a home for your flock. Learn from Nutrena poultry expert Twain Lockhart how to keep your girls happy, healthy, and safe from predators in their coop.
Use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire to keep chickens safe from predators
Chickens need about 16 hours a day of daylight to get eggs
It’s very important for chickens to be positioned so they are exposed to natural sunset
Four chickens per nest box is a good rule of thumb
Make sure the coop is well ventilated, but not drafty
If you’ve been at the chicken thing for a while, you might be interested in adding some birds of a different feather to your flock. Check out Nutrena poultry expert Twain Lockhart’s advice on mixing breeds in your backyard flock.
Some breeds that make good producers, layers and are friendly include Naked Necks, Wyandottes and Sex Links
Bantams are miniature chickens and exist in every breed, but they do not mix well with the big ones
Cornish cross meat chickens do not mix well with other chickens
Interested in starting a backyard chicken flock? Wondering what you need to know before you bring home those cute, fluffy, little chicks? Listen in as Nutrena poultry expert Twain Lockhart gives a quick overview of what you need to consider!
Make sure you can legally have chickens on your property.
Start with laying hens.
It is best to start small, with four to six chickens at most.
The days are getting shorter, the girls are finishing up their molts, and you are getting less eggs as winter approaches. You might be wondering, “is this normal?” The answer is, yes, it’s perfectly normal.
Chickens need about 16 hours of light per day to produce eggs, with the exception of some over-eager first year hens who may lay throughout winter. But with the shortened daylight hours, and the cold weather requiring more of their energy resources be directed to keeping their body temperatures where the need to be, egg production will go down.
Just because your ladies have slowed down on their egg production, or even stopped, however, doesn’t mean they need less nutrition. Continuing to feed a quality, nutritious, energy-providing diet, just like you would through the warmer months, will help your girls continue some egg production and provide them the energy reserves they require to stay warm and fit. It will also help them show up next spring in prime condition to start laying regularly again.
You may hear some chicken owners say they feed a cheap layer feed, or even nothing but scratch in winter, because it is cheaper and “they aren’t laying anyway”. If you pay attention, these are often the same folks that lose birds in the winter, or their birds look pretty rough come spring time. Scratch grains should never make up more than 10% of any birds diet – or what they can clean up in about 5 minutes.
Don’t forget to provide grit throughout the winter as well, as they may not be able to find it on their own due to snow and mud.