The chicken, also a cousin of the large red junglefowl, is an incredibly common and widely spread domesticated animal. Chickens are among the most common and most spread domesticated domestic animals, having a worldwide population of nearly 23.7 billion currently as of 2021. There are probably more chickens in the entire world than any other animal.
Some people think that chickens originated in the desert as early as 4th century B.C., but the exact date is uncertain. Ancient Egyptians built a large palace for the Pharaohs, where they kept chickens as pets, although historians do not know if these chickens were used as food or as a source of meat. Chicken is an excellent protein source, and it is used to make many products, including bread, milk and eggs. Modern farmers raise chickens for both food and meat, and as ornamental creatures for their gardens.
For most people, buying or raising chicken is pretty easy, but the way in which you feed your chickens can make a big difference to the quality of eggs they lay. The most traditional way to feed chickens is to use fresh chicken manure, which is rich in calcium. Chicken manure is usually obtained from the bottom of the roost, although this method can be inconvenient for urban dwellers who need access to a good supply of manure on a regular basis. Another option is to collect the waste from the kitchen or yard of your house, and dump it into a central litter receptacle. After a while, the chicken droppings will fill the litter receptacle and start forming a pea-sized clump of fertilizer.
Chicken manure has several benefits; the best part being that chickens are naturally pest and disease resistant. This is why there are no special diets needed to feed the birds, and they can survive on organic products for several years before having to be re-framed. They are also very good egg layers, able to lay several dozen eggs in each day. However, many breed of chicken have been crossed with other breeds to create the ‘knock out’ breeds that are considered the crossbreeds of chicken and turkeys, producing hybrid chickens that are prized for breeding. Hybrid chickens tend to have better egg production and are much cheaper than the purebreds.
There are several things you need to keep in mind when feeding your chickens. First of all, chickens need plenty of open space to move around and exercise. You’ll find that if you leave them in a small yard, they tend to get really knotted up! A good rule of thumb is to allow about 5 square feet of space for every acre of land your chicken has. Also, chickens like to perch; therefore, give them an area of about four to six inches of space for perching.
It’s also important to provide your chickens with a rooster. If you don’t have a rooster, or the space is too small for one, then buy the hens, which are larger than a rooster. Roosters will protect the chickens from predators during the day and at night, as well as help your chickens produce more eggs. In fact, if you raise chickens, then you probably already own a rooster because roosters require more space and nesting areas than any other type of hen.
No discussion of raising chickens would be complete without mentioning the chicken itself. The chicken has evolved into a much more beautiful and athletic creature through the years. Back in prehistoric times, chickens used to roost together in large groups, but today’s hens are raised in smaller confined spaces with ample runways to allow them to fly free. This means that they are better able to thrive as part of a flock. Most chicken breeds are highly intelligent and can be taught simple tricks such as how to talk, but chickens still need to be socialized. With proper training and a little bit of patience, even a single chicken can quickly develop a community of fellow chickens that will help keep them healthy, happy, and safe.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a flock of domestic fowl for warmth and companionship reasons, then you’re on the right track. It is actually much easier than it looks. All you need is an open space, which can be found in a backyard, or an empty lot, or even a space that is separated by a fence, wall, or tall grass. Once you have chosen which breed of chicken best suits your needs, and you’ve got the basics (chickens need a dark, dry and cold area), then you’re ready to begin raising chickens!