As we look closer at Food Security let’s turn our sight to a backyard favorite, the chicken (and the egg). What better way to wrap up Day 5 than with “Chickens Food Security Series.” Chickens have been labeled the gateway animal to homesteading. But, you don’t have to be a homesteader to enjoy these birds at home. A lot of communities and Home Owner’s Associations will allow a small backyard flock.
Chickens Food Security
Chickens are a low cost investment. The average chick is $2-$5 and lays about four eggs a week. They are multipurpose! In addition to eggs, they give manure fertilizer for your vegetable garden, till the ground, take care of food scraps, and are entertaining to watch.
They are also an excellent protein source, both eggs and meat. After 2 1/2 – 3 years their egg production will slow. At this point you may consider butchering and having chicken soup and bone broth from the carcass.
The above statements were focused on egg layers. Now, turn your thoughts to the meat bird, raised solely for meat. Meat birds are bred to gain weight fast. In as little as 9-12 weeks you can have a few weeks or months worth of whole chickens in your freezer! That’s Food Security right there!!
How to Care for Chickens
Baby chicks will need a brooder. We use a plastic storage tub for the brooder. You can use a cattle water trough or build one from wood. Basic setup includes: wood shavings, heat lamp, waterer, food dispenser , grit (dirt from the yard), and chick starter feed. They will stay in the brooder until they get their feathers.
Waterer/Feeder Chick Starter Heat Lamp
Adding one tablespoon of honey and Apple Cider Vinegar to your chicken’s water will boost their immune system helping them stay healthy.
You want feed that is at least 16% protein. Any less than this amount will negatively affect their egg production. We choose to feed non-medicated organic feed, but there are other cheaper conventional options. You can cut the cost of feed for your egg layers by feeding table and garden scraps. Approximately 10-15% of their diet should be greens.
If you live in an area with predators, like raccoons or opossums, consider using an electric fence. Before electric fencing we lost about 40 chickens to a racoon! Since setting up Kencove Electric Fence we have not lost any to predators. We also use the electric fence for rotation, also known as pastured poultry.
Let us know in the comments if you’ll be getting chickens! Click Here For more Food Security!
Talk to you soon,
Shaun & Alisha