Chickens can be man’s best friend, too: Raising Chickens 101

A. Myers, Staff Cartoonist, Staff Writer

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As many ROMS Hawks know, the science department has been raising (and training) chickens as therapy animals for students. This is year two of the project, and the chickens are stronger than ever. Some students have considered raising chickens of their own…for various reasons. But this is not something that should be taken lightly. Caring for an animal is serious business.

The first step to raising chickens is to be prepared with a brooder ( a heated and protected home for chickens.) When chickens are babies and still in a brooder, you have six weeks to build your chicken coop, or depending on how old your chicks are. This is because they can leave the brooder at six weeks old.

 

When you get your chickens, the brooder has to be set up with a feeder, a waterer, heat lamp, thermometer, starter feed, and bedding. Make sure the bedding is no more than two inches because you don’t want the chickens to sink and get caught under the shavings.They start laying eggs at six months old. Bantam is a word meaning “miniature,” so if you ever get a bantam they will be the smallest, and they will also lay miniature eggs.

As they grow up, they lose their soft feathers and start to grow adult feathers. When they are about four to five weeks old, their wings will be getting bigger and they will start trying to fly. You see, people think that chickens can’t fly because that is what they’ve been told all their life, but the truth is, chickens can fly short distances like onto trees and fences. That is why most people get their chicken’s wings clipped like any other bird that can fly away. You can tell if a chicken is a boy or girl by  the wing test, you hold out their wing and if all the feathers are even it is a girl, and if the outer feathers are longer its a boy. What’s the big deal?Well, most people want girls for the eggs and boys for protection.

If you are eating the eggs, you want to make sure that it is not fertile so there is no chick inside.

Some people want just boys but the truth is that you can’t have two boys because they can and will kill each other. They need a companion or they will die of loneliness. You see, chickens are a dependent on companionship. They have to have a group of chickens around them. Chickens are like goats (and humans, too) — they need friends. 

 

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