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By Lawrence John Connor

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For example, if you keep chickens for showing and you house them in individual cages, feeding and watering them takes at least five to ten minutes per cage. 2 square feet) at the very minimum as outside run space, if the chicken isn’t going to be running loose much. 3 metres (2 by 11 feet) (which covers an area of about 2 metres/22 feet square – these dimensions don’t have to be exact). For more chickens you need to provide more space, and you need a little additional space to store feed and maybe a place to store or compost the used litter and manure.

Although traditional meat breeds can end up all right as pets, you really shouldn’t leave the broiler-strain birds beyond the ideal dispatching time because their health suffers as a result. We like our birds and we don’t like to kill things, but we love eating our own organically and humanely raised meat. To get around the emotional issues we use a small-scale poultry slaughterhouse (called an abattoir). Abattoirs come in a few different categories based mostly on their size and throughput – that is, the number of birds being killed there each year.

The good news for keepers of home flocks is that new strains of meat birds can be obtained that grow more slowly and are suitable for free-ranging. Research thoroughly when you’re ordering to be sure that you buy the right breed of meat chicks for you. ). Chickens, being easy to handle and care for, can also be a good hobby for mentally handicapped adults. A few chickens can provide hours of entertainment, and collecting eggs is a pleasing reward. If you want pet birds, you can buy chicken breeds that tame easily and come in unusual feather styles and colours.

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