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Raising laying hens in a backyard chicken coop is a fun and rewarding hobby. Aside from supplying the family with a supply of fresh eggs, chickens are social and fun to watch. They will interact with their owners and provide hours of enjoyment. The warm climate encourages laying hens in South Africa to produce eggs consistently all year round. There are a few considerations when you decide to being raising laying hens.
Laying hens are more productive when they are comfortable and their basic needs are met. The first need is shelter, which can be supplied by a simple chicken coop. As a rule, you will need a minimum of 60 centimetres of coop space per bird. You will need chicken bedding such as wood shavings or straw as well as chicken feeders and chicken water dispensers, which are specially designed to keep the contents from becoming soiled.
The average laying hen will produce an egg every two to three days, but some lay eggs every day. Hens do not need to be around a rooster to produce eggs, but if the weather is cold they may lay less eggs or stop laying altogether. If hens stop laying, it is usually a sign that something is wrong in their environment. The presence of predators or illness can prevent them from laying. Proper chicken feed is essential for consistent egg production. They can eat table scraps, but commercial feed will make certain that they have sufficient protein and minerals to support egg production.
Eggs should be gathered within one day of being laid, and washed in hot water with baking soda added. They can then be stored in the refrigerator. One should check local bylaws concerning the keeping of chickens and selling eggs, if this is your intention. Some areas will allow small backyard flocks, while others won't. There are many types of laying hens and they can add colour to your garden. Some of the more popular backyard chicken breeds in South Africa are buff orpingtons, golden comets, australops, cochins, brahmas, tophats, and leghorns. They come in standard, miniature, or bantam sizes. Find laying hens in South Africa, as they make excellent companion animals for children and can become tame.