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Raising Chickens for Eggs: What You Need to Know

Raising Chickens for Eggs: What You Need to Know

Posted by Grange Co-op on 4th Apr 2023

Eggs won't always be as expensive as during the past few months — hopefully! But there are always benefits to growing your own eggs. Here's everything you need to know about getting started, collecting and keeping eggs, and caring for your chickens. Keeping chickens for eggs isn’t hard – but once you get started, you need to be committed to caring for your birds.

1. Check Your Local Laws

Keeping backyard chickens is a growing trend in both rural and urban areas. It’s possible your town or city hasn’t updated its laws to embrace the benefits of keeping chickens. Contact your local government officials, including the county clerk, your local planning board, or animal control, to find out if you can keep chickens in your backyard. If it isn’t legally permitted, look for ways to change the laws and make the practice acceptable in your neighborhood.

2. Setting Up a Chicken Coop

Picking out a chicken coop is one of the most fun parts of keeping chickens. Each design tells you how many chickens it will accommodate and the number of nesting boxes included. Think about how many birds you want in your flock before you buy a coop. Check local ordinances to see if there are any limits you must follow.

Even if you buy a large coop, start with 4 to 6 chicks. This will give you time to learn how much time you need to put into working with your chickens and how to collect and manage your eggs. You can always expand your flock later on.

3. Select a Breed

Certain chicken breeds make the best egg-laying chickens. If you haven’t been around chickens before, it’s a good idea to choose a breed that is also easy to handle. Many people consider Plymouth Rock as one of the best all-around chickens available. They are both heat and cold-tolerant, docile, and one of the best egg-laying chickens.

4. Prepare Your Brooder

A brooder keeps baby chicks warm and out of drafts. Each chick will require 2 to 3 square feet of floor space for the first six weeks. Start by setting the temperature to 90°F during the first week. Reduce the heat by 5 degrees every week until the temperature is set at no less than 55°F. Make fresh water available while chicks are in the brooder, and after they no longer need the heat source, move them into the coop.

5. Sanitize the Chicks’ Environment

Chickens are prone to some types of illnesses and diseases. Thoroughly sanitize their coop and environment before you bring them home. Maintain a cleaning and sanitization plan throughout the growing process. Use a disinfectant that is safe to use around poultry. A mixture of 10% bleach to 90% water works well. Make sure to rinse the solution thoroughly after cleaning.

6. Feed a Healthy Diet

Start chicks with a strong, nutritionally-complete feed. Feed the complete starter until they reach laying age. Switch to a complete diet for laying hens for healthy chickens and eggs. The Rogue range of feeds comes in a variety of formulas and is available in both organic and conventional.

7. Get Your Chicks

You will usually get your chicks in early spring. The best place to get them is from a hatchery – especially when you want a certain breed. Most give you the option to purchase males, females, or both. A hatchery that’s been in business for years has a wealth of information. The hatchery will ship your baby chicks to you via the postal service. If they are close by, they may have them delivered to their location, where you can pick them up.

You can get chicks at your local Grange Co-op every spring and fall! Choose from a variety of breeds that best fit the kind of flock you are wanting.

Selling Chicken Eggs

Maybe you ended up with more eggs than you needed, or selling farm-fresh eggs was your plan all along. In either case, there is more to selling eggs than washing them off and placing them in a carton.

Every state has its own laws about selling fresh eggs. Depending on the state, you might be required to “grade” eggs if you sell them at certain locations. Laws also vary on whether you must wash eggs or leave the protective coating intact. Research the laws in your state to determine your responsibilities for making your egg business legal.

Shop Grange Co-op for All Your Poultry Supplies

Grange Co-op carries a wide range of chicken coops and nesting boxes, poultry accessories, and high-quality feeds. Keeping your chicks healthy will help you raise healthy, productive hens. Contact us to learn more about any of our poultry products. A GrangeExpert is always here to help make keeping chickens for eggs a fun and productive new experience for you.