A Simple Poultry Plan Can Save You Money When Building a Chicken Coop
When mentioning the words "poultry plan" they can either mean blueprints or designs for hen houses or a successful plan for raising chickens successfully. This article will cover the latter. Good quality hen houses aren't the only thing you need to keep your flocks healthy and productive. Keeping chickens healthy and laying eggs for many years requires you to have a good poultry plan and the ability to follow it. One of the most important items is a good poultry plan is feeding your birds nothing less than high quality feed. With all of the options for feeding your flock, it can be a daunting task to select the best method for you.
One solution is to let your chickens roam around the yard, hunting for their own bugs and wild plants. However, this approach will cause their egg production to decrease because they will be filling their stomachs with loads of nutrient-depleted grasses instead of protein-rich grains, fish meal and calcium-rich oyster shells. Other alternatives to choose from include a premixed vegetarian diet, a premixed diet that contains animal protein or the option of mixing your own feed.
Before we get into our lengthy discussion on chicken feed, it would first be a good idea to mention another important element, which is an integral part of feeding your chickens; hen houses. That is right; hen houses can also play a vital role in keeping your feed costs down, while keeping your flocks healthy. Whether you call them poultry houses, chicken coops, chicken hutches, chicken pens, chicken runs, chicken houses or any other name, they all mean the same thing. But the bottom line is that if your hen houses are portable, they can provide a free form of protein that will help keep your chickens healthy and your costs down.
Most mass chicken producers use vegetarian diets in these modern times. They have switched from diets that included animal protein, which can sometimes carry latent animal diseases. These diseases can be transmitted to the birds, causing the destruction of entire flocks consisting of many thousands of birds. So the mass chicken producers began using the strict vegetarian diet to eliminate the risk of giving these diseases to their flocks. On the negative side, you must be very careful if you use this type of feed, because protein deficiencies can occur when you eliminate animal protein from the diet.
The biggest downside to strictly vegetarian-fed chickens is that they are potentially undernourished. Chickens need a certain amount of animal protein, and getting that protein can be a bit tricky with a 100% strict vegetarian diet. Fortunately, small backyard chicken farmers do not need to worry as much about these latent animal diseases. Chances of them having a problem with their small flocks are slim. Plus, they can let their birds rustle up a portion of their own protein by letting them scratch around the chicken coop for bugs and insects, which is usually a very healthy thing to do.
Another alternative is to buy feed that is already premixed for you, where the grains, calcium, proteins and other nutrients are ready to go. This is a time-saving approach, but it will also cost you more money to do it this way. You can save money and get the same end product by simply mixing your own. All you have to do is buy the individual elements and then mix them on your own. It is a fairly easy and straightforward task.
You can also let your birds do some free ranging around their poultry housing, meaning they will be allowed to scratch and peck around the chicken coop to find their own bugs and grasses. In fact, you can eliminate your feed bill entirely if you let them roam outside of their hen houses for all of their own food. It sounds good, but unfortunately, there is a downside here too. If chickens are allowed to eat too much in the way of nutrient-depleted grasses, it will cause their egg production to suffer tremendously since they will not be getting enough protein and calcium to keep them laying productively.
Your best bet is to let your flock free range for a portion of their food while giving them either prepackaged or self-mixed supplements for the remainder. This will keep them healthy and laying for many years, while saving you money on feed. One thing that is especially good for chickens is fish meal, so be sure to add that to your homemade mixes.
Portable poultry housing is built with two parts, a house and an attached outdoor section. Being inside a protective chicken coop will keep your chickens safe from predators, while also limiting the amount of free range food they have access to. Every so often, once the chickens have overgrazed a spot of land, all you have to do is drag the portable chicken coop to a new area. Because you are moving your hen houses to new areas, the older areas will be given time to recover by developing new plant growth. Using hen houses of this sort can give your pullets what they need to continue laying productively for many years. Develop a total and intelligent poultry plan and you'll be successful.
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