Chickens are straightforward creatures as both pets and producers. Although many people keep them for pets or in a home farming situation for eggs, others breed and sell them as meat birds. To start a home poultry farm and sell chickens as meat, follow some care guidelines for raising the chickens themselves.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Fenced areas
- Nesting boxes
- Chicken feed
Set up the space for your poultry farm. You may need several barns or coops, depending on the ultimate size of your farm. Start small with one coop until you get your business up and running. Chickens should also have a fenced area for wandering and fresh air. Measure your space; figure that each chicken will take up two to three square feet of floor space inside the coop, and plan to buy enough chickens to fill the space.
Set up the interior structures. Put nesting boxes into the shed so that the hens can build nests and lay eggs to maintain a consistent population in your poultry farm. Plan on one box for each hen. Line the boxes and the floor with shavings, hay or straw for nesting.
Provide your coop with a heater and fan, and check for working doors and windows. Chickens need temperatures of 26.6 to 32.2 degrees C, but should also get circulation. You will need the fan in the summer and the heater in winter.
Purchase chickens for your new poultry farm. Purchase Cornish, Plymouth Rock or New Hampshire chickens, as these are the best meat chickens on the market. Purchase only as many as your coop will hold and purchase stock that is disease free and bright eyed. Purchase one rooster for every 10 to 12 hens so that breeding occurs.
Release the chickens into their yard. Provide water dishes with fresh water and feed them daily using a quality chicken feed spread over the ground of the yard. Maintain cleanliness in the coop and yard by cleaning out waste and used shavings or hay once a week.
Tips and warnings
- Know the market ages of your chickens. Broilers and fryers should go to market at seven to nine weeks, or three to five pounds. Roasters should go to market at 12 weeks.
- Contact businesses, restaurants and manufacturers in the area while your chickens are growing and breeding to set up contacts and possible sales.
- Unprotected chickens can fall prey to coyotes, foxes and hawks.
- Chickens that are crowded or unhappy may turn to cannibalism.
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