Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Clique
Raising chickens for fun and profit
Eggs are one of the most compact, economical, low-calorie, high quality foods on the planet. Chock full of vitamins and minerals, they are a positive diet item during pregnancy and for muscle strength, weight management and brain function. The protein found in these little oval bundles can help build muscle and prevent muscle loss, and they’ve been credited with maintaining brain cell membranes and reducing age-related blindness.
One study found that more than 90 percent of people who raise or keep chickens do so for fresh eggs. Farm fresh eggs, like most farm fresh edibles, are richer in both nutrients and tastier than store-bought. Additionally, chickens are:
- fairly inexpensive
- easy to keep
- produce wonderful fertilizer
- help control bugs and weeds
- have personality and beauty
- taste delicious
- eggs are large, medium or small
- eggs can be brown, white, blue, speckled and other colors.
It is advisable to raise chicks all together as once a flock is formed, it can be tricky to introduce new hens. While they cluck, cluck, cluck around the clock, the ones who grow up together seem bonded in one tight clique. The can peck at the newcomers, assuring that the recent additions are lowest on that proverbial pecking order.
If you are planning to buy a land or ranch in Texas, you may as well plan to have chickens from the get-go. You can easily retrofit an outbuilding or simply buy or build your own chicken enclosure. Half the fun is letting them out during the day to go bug-hunting and fertilize your lawn and garden areas. The cool thing about chickens is that you don’t have to round them up at dusk. They will naturally find their way back to the coop and fly up to a roosting bar for the night. Most of the time, they will also lay eggs in their nest boxes, as long as they can gain access. If something prevents them from the nest box, then chickens will lay eggs under a shrub or somewhere else, and you may or may not find them. If they have access to hay in a barn on the property, they will often lay eggs there instead of trekking back to the nest box.
Since chickens do not require large blocks of time or big money for care, they are wonderful to teach responsibility to children. Many 4-H groups and farm shows have a chicken category. From getting chicks at a farm store or through the mail to watching them grow up and produce that first egg (around 5 or 6 months old), it’s fun for all ages. Once the chickens are producing, it’s easy to let nature make more by adding a rooster to the flock. The only downside to a rooster is that he could make it more difficult to handle the hens. He’ll be protective, and that’s not especially a bad thing, as he will watch out for their safety.
If you don’t want chicken manure on your porch or in the driveway, they can be perfectly content in a large fenced area adjacent to the coop. It’s wise to either enclose this over the top with chicken wire or latch the door to their coop every night, safe from predators. Seems foxes, coyotes and other critters enjoy chicken as much as humans.
Whether you raise chickens for meat, eggs, profit, show or some combination of objectives on your big or small Texas land or ranch, you’ll find them interesting. Blue Star Ranch, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms, Ranch-coop and Sea Breeze Hens are a few of the Texas chicken breeders who can help with chicks, supplies, advice and materials. Cluck, cluck, cluck.