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Urban egg farmer: top ten list of chores

With a growing interest in buying local, there has also been an increased interest by urban residents in growing their own foods and, in some cases, raising their own chickens for eggs. Here’s a fact sheet prepared by Egg Farmers of Ontario that gives you some tips to think about before you get a backyard flock of your own. - OFAC

Urban Egg Farmer: Top Ten List of Chores

There has been a growing interest in raising egg-laying hens in urban environments.

Properly taking care of chickens requires some physical adaptations to a typical backyard, a daily time
commitment to caring for your flock, a lot of preparation, and a great deal of expertise.

If you are considering having a backyard flock of your own, here is an example of a chore list you should expect.

1 Chicken feed must be purchased from a specialized supplier. Pet food stores are not known to carry the feed hens need.

2 To be comfortable, hens need shade for hot days, and a heat source for cold days.

3 Be sure to lock up the chickens at night to keep them safe from skunks, rats, raccoons and neighbourhood pets who
will try to eat the hens and their feed.

4 Failing to provide clean water every day can lead to hen infections and illness.

5 Eggs are porous and can absorb invisible harmful bacteria if not handled properly.

6 Educate yourself on the different warning signs that indicate a hen is ill. Hens require vaccinations and health
care from a qualified veterinarian.

7 It is not appropriate to compost chicken manure due to the high level of minerals (especially phosphorus) in the
manure, which can stop the composting process in typical backyard composters. Develop a plan for how to dispose
of your chicken manure.

8 All livestock including chickens can be carriers of diseases which can be transmitted to humans who are in close contact with them including children. It is important to learn how to handle and care for hens without accidentally exposing yourself to an animal disease such as Avian Influenza.

9 Hens can live to be 7-10 years old. An older hen needs to take a break from egg production periodically. Going out of production is termed molting, and occurs naturally, and is necessary for old hens to remain healthy.

10 Any area where animals live will become increasingly contaminated the longer animals are housed there. Plan to
have “down time” when no poultry live in the yard, which will give you a chance to decontaminate the area, and
break the life cycle of the bacteria and viruses.

Being an Urban Egg Farmer can be a rewarding experience and a great source of pride. However, failing to do these daily chores can severely affect hen health, hen welfare, egg quality, and consequently, human health.

Did you Know:

• A hen excretes approximately 2 lbs of manure per week.
• A hen may appear healthy, but can be laying eggs to the detriment of their own health if not properly cared for.
• Laying hens need feed that is especially high in protein and calcium. The high calcium level that a hen needs in her diet would be toxic to nonproducing animals such as a cat or dog.

This information fact sheet was prepared by Dr. Mike Petrik, DVM,
on behalf of Egg Farmers of Ontario.


Posted by FFC on December 24th, 2009 :: Filed under Animal health,backyard flocks,eggs
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3 Responses to “Urban egg farmer: top ten list of chores”

  1. Backyard chicken checklist
    January 13th, 2010

    [...] there’s more to responsible chicken raising than meets the eye. I came across a neat “urban egg farmer top ten chore list” that I think should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking about keeping a few hens for [...]

  2. Clucker
    October 9th, 2010

    Great article and great advice!

  3. Akkubohrhammer
    February 5th, 2012


    [...]Urban egg farmer: top ten list of chores - Let’s Talk Farm Animals[...]…

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