One of my favorite personal projects through the years has been raising chickens. Chickens are raised all over the world for eggs or for food. In most places, they’re raised roaming free around a home lot. They’re relatively easy to raise and don’t require much input.
Chickens can be raised in a simple home-yard system or commercially. They can be raised in rural and urban areas. They can be free-ranged or raised in pens. Simply put, they are one of the most versatile and useful animals in home food and income production.
There are pretty much two types of chickens—layers or broilers. As you might guess, layers are used for egg production, while broilers are raised to be eaten by the family or sold for extra income.
Given that chickens are already a prevalent component of most communities, our goal is to maximize what they already produce. You can supplement their food and pen them for protection and production to increase their productivity.
Broilers are usually raised in pens and fed a high-quality feed. The goal is to take the baby chick and produce a 2 to 3 pound chicken in 45 to 60 days. This takes a good breed of chicken, good feed, and good management. It is typical to see a family in a rural or urban area with a pen of 20 to 30 broilers at their house. They take up a small area and can produce food and income in a relatively short period of time.
Layers are usually raised in pens around the home and also require a high-quality feed. They can be somewhat free-ranging as well such as being penned at night (for safety and centralized egg laying) but turned loose during the day to forage and exercise. High production layer systems shoot for one egg per day per chicken.
While there are some diseases and problems that arise with chicken production, they are fairly hardy and easy to raise. I have seen hundreds of successful home-yard production projects, both layers and broilers, and a few successful small-scale commercial production projects.
If you would like to know more about raising chickens for food and profit, please write and let us know. I’ll be happy to send you our “How to Raise Chickens” booklet!