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What You Need To Know To Start A Chicken Farm
Succeeding in chicken farming depends on being prepared and informed from the start. Whether you are doing this strictly as a hobby, or you are hoping to run a small business, you can't go wrong seeking information and making a plan first.
Most town and city governments have regulations about keeping animals. You should verify with both your zoning board and the Department of Health to find out what is allowed and what permits, if any, you need to get. There are noise and odor concerns associated with raising chickens. For instance, some local government regulations will allow chickens, but not roosters because of the crowing. Some may have restrictions on the number and placement of coops or disposal of the chicken waste. These are all things you need to know going in.
Be advised that planning extensive egg sales is a complicated business not for beginners. If your life-long dream is to run a large egg ranch, start small, learn by doing, and work your way up to a bigger operation. That will greatly increase your chances of succeeding at your long-term plan.
Once you've decided how many chickens you are going to get it's time to get the coops. You can either buy coops or you can build your own. If you decide to go the DIY route, find plans for coops on chicken supply websites. As far as placement, chicken coops need to be in a spot that is not too warm or too chilly, and is out of any drafts. They need to be reasonably convenient for you and your family to get to in order to care for the chickens, but you don't want them too close to living areas because of clucking and odors.
Plan what supplies you are going to need. You will need to lay in a supply of feed, along with containers for the birds to eat and drink from. You will also need litter for the coops. This might be coffee chafe, peanut hulls, sugar cane mulch, or some other agricultural byproduct. Check with your feed store to see what is commonly available in your area. Make a plan for how you will keep the coops clean. You will have for removing the litter and manure. This is another area where checking with the local authorities is advisable because there may be regulations about where or how you are supposed to dump it. Some people go in thinking they will have a free supply of fertilizer, but fresh chicken manure burns plants and is not recommended for that use.
Chickens do not take vacations and unlike dogs or cats cannot be dropped off at a kennel. Have an arrangement in mind for those times when you cannot be home to feed, water, and check on the birds. There are many different chicken breeds available. They vary not only by size and appearance, but also by egg production and flying ability. You will want to consider your goals when choosing which chicken breeds to buy. Once you have done your research and worked out the details, you will be ready to get started in this time-honored activity, raising chickens.
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