Keeping backyard chickens for profit or for personal consumption is not as easy as you might think. You must be responsible enough to provide care and attention to your chooks especially the young. Careful planning should be made regarding your intended use for your chicken whether for personal use or mainly for organic chicken meat production or organic egg production for profit.
This will be the basis of what kind of holding places that you will construct for your chicken. If you want an organic, free-range chicken for example, you should set up a secured chicken run or holding pen. Keeping backyard chickens for egg production would require a different approach altogether. You could make a closed and carefully constructed chicken coop for laying hens, the size of which depends on the number of chicken it will accommodate.
Whether you live in a city or town, keeping backyard chickens could be a troublesome affair if you fail to recognize laws and ordinances that govern you particular locality. Here are some legal obligations that you should be aware of regarding raising chickens:
The Animal Welfare Act of 2002
Proper food, water, and protection should be duly provided for all animals. Proper treatment should be provided for sick animals or should be humanely killed and properly disposed when the need arises.
Marketing of Eggs Act of 1945
A licensing system governs the commercial egg production industry. If you have 50 or more hens for laying eggs, you need to secure a license. If you have less than 50, you should register with the Golden Egg Farms. Also, all eggs sold should be duly stamped.
Keeping backyard chickens safe from predators should be a primary concern if you want a successful and productive poultry enterprise right in your own back gardens. If you live in areas where there is a constant threat from roaming predators such as foxes, wild cats, you should make your holding pen secure enough o prevent intrusion by these predators and high enough (at least 1.8 m.) to prevent the chickens from flying over and expose themselves to danger. Chicken coops should be made fox-proof.
The chickens should be locked up at night and if you do not have any provisions for solid flooring, the sides should be planted at least 50 cm. deep into the soil with an outward screen mesh underneath to prevent foxes from digging them up. You should consider totally enclosing your holding pen with a screen or net if there are aerial threats from hawks or eagles.
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