Free Ranged Chickens Vs. Housed Chickens
Date: June 15th, 2011
On some farms, the flock is not penned up, but rather, permitted the run of the place. Free-range chickens, as they're commonly called, wander around and peck the dirt. They are moving almost all the time, eating bugs and bits of plant material.
One shortcoming to this style of raising poultry is that they leave their dung all over the yard. It makes great fertilizer, but isn't nice to walk in. To boot, free range chickens will lay their eggs any place they find convenient. While that may work for the chicken, it is awkward and inefficient for the farmer needing to gather the eggs.
Another possible issue with the free-range technique is the threat of predators. Being exposed, large birds such as hawks are a substantial threat to these birds. Unlike their housed counterparts, they've got no real protection from the elements either. At night, they roost on low branches or simply squat down on the ground. This can expose them to the threat of nocturnal marauders such as cats.
One would think that free-range chickens would be fitter and indeed, happier than housed chickens. Their diet will be more natural and diverged, even if supplemented with chicken food. In addition, the threat of sickness may be reduced since the poultry are not confined to one area.
It is most common that poultry raisers keep their flock detained in a poultry house. This can be a concrete, wood or metal structure of almost any size. Regardless of what the poultry house is made of, they will all incorporate certain comforts.
Much like our own dwellings, chicken coops have resting areas, feeding areas and most even have a yard. Like most fowl, chickens choose to roost at night. Inside the chicken house, wooden roosts are set up in both high and low positions for this purpose. Like people, poultry are individuals and will frequently show a penchant for one or another.
One of the rationalities for breeding poultry is for the eggs. Because of this, nests are also used in the ordinary poultry house. When strewn with straw or other bedding, chickens will utilize them for egg laying making them easy to find. They'll also use them for sleeping, both during the day and at night.
In addition to perches and nests, the hen house also incorporates feeding and watering stations. Typically, they're particularly designed feeders and waterers that are partially covered. Open water containers are peculiarly dangerous for chickens. Not only is there a possibility for dangerous water pollution, but there is also a chance of the poultry drowning.
In most poultry house systems, there is an outside, penned yard adjacent to the house. A chicken run, as it is called, is fenced in and frequently covered. The sizing of the run depends solely upon how many chickens will be employing it. Most cover the same square footage as the actual house itself, in essence doubling the living area of the flock. During the day hours, chickens freely move between the coop and the run, at night they're confined to the house for safety.
A poultry house will need constant and exhaustive cleaning to keep the flock in good health. Over time, fecal matter, feathers and other debris will build up on interior surfaces. This can promote the development of illnesses and parasites that can impair the chickens. Monthly cleanup and care of the chicken coop, consequently, is highly advocated. Also, a product such as Poultry Nutri-Drench will help in resistance to disease while also promoting growth and reproduction.
Whether you raise chickens in a free-range style or a traditional poultry house, chickens require fresh water and food daily. In hot weather, they should be given fresh water several times a day. In cold weather, keeping the water from freezing is the main concern.
Overall, raising poultry is pretty easy. From the eggs that can be collected daily to fresh chicken meals and even fertilizer for your garden patch, they are beneficial too.
by Vin DeWolfe