Chicken (and Duck) Keeping

Keeping Ducks and Chickens-
Health, Happiness and Haven are the top three concerns for any flock.

Ducks and chickens are fun to watch and really earn their keep on the farm. They catch all kinds of bugs and garden pests-from beetles to mice-and their manure increases the fertility of the soil. Our chickens and ducks are pastured, which means they are allowed to roam free around the farm.

Conditions matter-
The Green Lab flock is well loved and cared for! We let our girls out every morning to scratch and peck and take a sunny dust bath. But the sad fact that 97% of egg producing chickens live in cages of 7 square inches.  Cage free hens live in houses, but still have no room to scratch or run around with a floor space of only 11 square inches per bird.  Less than 1% of egg producing hens are pastured, like our flock.  Our chickens and ducks also have lots of room in their coop – over 6 square feet per chicken – they sleep inside safely protected from urban predators like raccoons, possums, dogs and coyotes.

A chicken’s body temperature is about 104˚, so they can easily live in cold climates.  In our warm arid environment- we have to be very careful that they don’t over heat.  Always make sure they have plenty of water and shade.  On very hot days we turn the coop in to a “cooling zone” by misting the area.  Because water requires energy to evaporate, as we spray water, the mist evaporates and the exchange of energy results in the lowering of the ambient temperature in the coop.

No Crowing fowl-
Roosters are not allowed in Long Beach, but you don’t need one to get eggs from your hens.  It takes a chicken about 24-26 hours to produce an egg.  There are over 150 breeds of domestic chickens and they lay eggs in a variety of colors from white, brown, green to pink and even blue!

A hen usually lives 5-7 years, but can live up to 20. She’ll lay eggs her entire life, but fewer every year. Ducks live 2-12 years, depending on the species. Ducks are typically hardier than chickens, and some lay as many eggs as the best chicken layers.

Ducks-
Ducks keep clean by preening themselves often with their beaks. They line their nests with feathers plucked from their chest. Duck feathers are waterproof. Beneath this waterproof layer are feathers that are fluffy and sofy which keep the duck warm. Ducks feet have no nerves or blood vessels so they never feel the cold, even if they swim in icy cold water.

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