Chickens, or more appropriately called G. g. domesticus are a type of domesticated fowl used
commonly as one of the main staples of diet. They were kept for meat and eggs. Chickens are a type of fowl that descended from the junglefowl. Chickens are thought to come from South East Asia. Though simple, almost flightless, flying only when they’re in danger, they have been one of the most abundant animals. These birds are also used for cockfighting; the sport in which, male roosters fight each other. Strangely enough, these animals are omnivores, eating both plant and animal. There diets consist of fruits, seeds, insects, small animals such as mice and lizards, and chicken eggs. Yes. They eat eggs. Chickens eat their eggs when they get bored. A bored chicken, tends to be pecky. But even though they’re cannibalistic, smelly and noisy, they make great pets. They’re fun to be around with and you can even teach them a few tricks. And they can be very loyal.
I had a wild experience with chickens. It was a chaotic one. Yet, it’s funny how it worked out; I went from chasing chickens to raising them. From my experience it was hard to catch chickens, let alone raise them. It started out after the chase, when our neighbor asked if I wanted to keep chickens. This thought occurred to me even before the chase. So I decided to keep chickens. So we built ourselves a cage and purchased a young pair of native Darag chickens. I was quite contented with a rooster and a hen. I visited them every morning to bring their food (fairly coarse corn grits mixed with chicken feeds), change the water, and maybe a little chat. But I guess I wanted more, because a week later Fawkes and Hedwig (later renamed Mr. and Mrs.) arrival, our neighbor gave us 6 chicks (the mother is needed for the chick’s survival). Our cage wasn’t big enough to accommodate an entire family. So we made a larger one. After a week or so the cage was built (with difficulty), making changes and upgrades along the way. It was glorious. The next day we moved the hen and chicks inside with the small cage beside. After making a barrier on one corner, we moved Mr. and Mrs. (later renamed Manong and Manang) inside. And now they continue to live happily (but not peacefully) with each other.
Chicken raising is hard and a bit complicated. Here are steps I did to keep them alive and healthy:
Step 1: Having a clear goal
It is important to set a clear goal on why you’re keeping chickens. You can’t just raise fowls with no reason.
Step 2: Consider Pros and Cons
Considering pros and cons can help you decide if you can keep chickens or not. You need to be prepared of the consequences of keeping chickens here are a few pros and cons:
- They provide meat and eggs
- You might gain extra profit
- They’re good company
- They’re amusing to watch
- Chickens make a good deal of noise
- Chickens are smelly creatures
- They have a habit of ruining crops
You should also ask your neighbors (if you have any) if it’s okay with them.
Step 3: Build a cage
Build a cage before purchasing chickens. The cage needs to be stable and big enough to house all the chickens. Be sure to build the resting place above the ground to shelter them from being bitten by various insects, especially ants. And enclose the cage in nets to avoid them from escaping and predators from entering. Also add a roof, so that the chickens won’t fly away and protect them from the rain. My aunt also advised to build the cage (as much as possible) under a shade and avoid direct sunlight. After building your coop, stand back and admire your work.
Step 4: Purchase chickens
After building your cage or coop, you’re ready to buy chickens. You can buy chickens either from the internet or a chicken breeder. Choose a breed fit for your standards. Most agreeably the Rhode island red or the Buff Orpington. Chickens are highly sociable
animals, so your bevy needs to have at least 4-6 birds in it. After purchasing, transfer to the coop. Feed them daily and change their water.
Tips and Warnings
- Make sure to play with your chickens and caress them always. This way they will be close to you.
- After a month or two, let them roam free. Don’t worry about loosing them, they will be dependent to you by that time.
- Separate the roosters and mothers because they tend to fight with each other.
- Add ladders and roosting spots for your chickens
- Clean the coop and the surroundings every month.
- DO NOT chase them around or scare them. They might run away and lose their loyalty.
- DO NOT feed them uncooked rice. It’s hard for them to digest it, instead, feed them corn grits (small corn grits for chicks and coarser for bigger chickens)
- DO NOT let your dog or cat (if you have any) near your chicken and chicks. There is a possibility that they might eat them.
Chicken raising teaches me several things: dedication, responsibility, patience, compassion, and obedience to advice. Just like anyone that has a pet, raising animals is a hard job, you need to dedicate time for them, patience when they get annoying, and they tend to be a bit destructive. But just like any job it is an honor to raise chickens. God is entrusting me these poor creatures lives. The way you treat animals, reflects the way you treat people. It also teaches you to have obedience to advice. Following the experts, and seeking their guidance.