Some might say that chickens are the new cats – keeping backyard poultry as pets is on the rise for a variety reasons.
“Whether it’s fresh eggs, or whether it’s to raise a flock of meat for the freezer, it’s just been going up and up and up and up.”
Scott DeMoranville and his family run 4Ds farm in Bradford.
They hatch about 4,000 chicks to sell every year.
He fields questions from other folks trying their hand at raising poultry – like what do chickens need in the winter?
“Chickens don’t require heat, they require some planning and good keeping on the owners part.”
That means a house to protect birds from the wind – and one with good ventilation.
DeMoranville advises against heat lamps – because they can start fires…and also against insulation, because that creates moisture, which in turn, will give the birds frostbite.
“I’ve done my share of reading and studying and I’ve learned from experience through the years and I’m happy to share what has worked for us.”
A big tip from DeMoranville is bio-security – he says it’s important humans keep clean when tending to the flock.
“We have shoes or boots and clothes that we wear on the farm for doing our chores when we’re going to be in the pen and that’s where they stay, they stay on our farm.”
He also says something as simple as washing your hands will help the chickens stay healthy.
“Anything short of putting our chickens in a glass dome is not going to guarantee they’re health but anything that we do. It’s really simple and it really makes a big difference in minimizing disease and things like that getting into the backyard poultry flocks.”