A chicken coop is a building where chickens are kept. Inside there are often nest boxes for egg laying and perches on which the birds can sleep, although coops for meat birds seldom have either of these features.
A coop may have an outdoor run. Both the inside and outdoor floors of a chicken coop are often strewn with a loose material such as straw or wood chips to deal with chicken droppings and to allow for easier cleanup. Most chicken coops have some means of ventilation to help air out any smells.
Modern varieties of chicken
such as the Cornish Cross, are bred specifically for meat production,
with an emphasis placed on the ratio of feed to meat produced by the
animal. The most common breeds of chicken consumed in the US are Cornish and White Rock.
Chickens raised specifically for food are called broilers.
In the United States, broilers are typically butchered at a young age.
Modern Cornish Cross hybrids, for example, are butchered as early as 8
weeks for fryers and 12 weeks for roasting birds.
Capons (castrated cocks) produce more and fattier meat. For this reason, they are considered a delicacy and were particularly popular in the Middle Ages.
- Breast: These are white meat and are relatively dry.
- Leg: Comprises two segments: 1) The "drumstick"; this is dark meat
and is the lower part of the leg, 2) the "thigh"; also dark meat, this
is the upper part of the leg.
- Wing: Comprises three segments: 1) the "drumette", shaped like a
small drumstick, 2) the middle "flat" segment, containing two bones, and
3) the tip, sometimes discarded. Wings are often served as a light meal
or bar food. Buffalo wings are a typical example.
- Chicken feet:
These contain relatively little meat, and are eaten mainly for the skin
and cartilage. Although considered exotic in Western cuisine, the feet
are common fare in other cuisines, especially in the Caribbean and China.
- Giblets: organs such as the heart, gizzards, and liver may be included inside a butchered chicken or sold separately.
- Head: Considered a delicacy in China, the head is split down the middle, and the brains and other tissue is eaten.
- Kidneys: Normally left in when a broiler carcass is processed, they
are found in deep pockets on each side of the vertebral column.
- Neck: This is served in various Asian dishes.
- Oysters: Located on the back, near the thigh, these small, round pieces of dark meat are often considered to be a delicacy.
- Pygostyle (chicken's buttocks) and testicles: These are commonly eaten in East Asia and some parts of South East Asia.
How To Raise Baby Chicks
baby chicks from the start is a rewarding experience. The only problem,
though, is that not very many people know how to care for them. Well,
read on to learn how to care for baby chicks!
- Blood: Immediately after slaughter, blood may be drained into a
receptacle, which is then used in various products. In many Asian
countries, the blood is poured into low, cylindrical forms, and left to
congeal in to into disc-like cakes for sale. These are commonly cut into
cubes, and used in soup dishes.
- Carcase: After the removal of the flesh, this is used for soup stock.
- Chicken eggs
- Heart and gizzard
- Liver: This is the largest organ of the chicken, and is used in such dishes as Pâté and chopped liver.
- Schmaltz: This is produced by rendering the fat, and is used in various dishes
- Get ready in advance. Although you won't need it immediately,
get a nice chicken coop for your babies to to live in when they grow up.
They will need at least 10 square feet per bird. Get a gallon
chicken waterer and a particularity medium/large feeder. There may be a
medicinal powder or pro-biotic to add to their water. Get the chicken
feed (food), and anything else your feedstore recommends highly, but
don't change your chicken coop to a junk yard! If this is your first
time raising chicks, you may think it's nonsense to get all that. If
you're getting a number of chicks, though, you'll see why later! It is
also important to find an avian vet right now. Panicking in the middle
of the night, looking for an emergency vet that will care for your birds
is not what you want to do!
- Find a place to keep your chicks. Be sure it's indoors unless
you have experience with them. A good example to keep your chicks in is
a brooder box in a garage. A garage is good, because they have more
heat. If you can't keep them there, think of something else. Do you have
a shed, or bathroom to keep them in for about 4 weeks?
- As soon as you get them, give them immediate access to food
and water, especially if they are from a postal service. They will be
very hungry and thirsty when they arrive. Teach them by dipping their
beaks in the food and water.
- Check on your chicks a lot. Make sure they have clean food
and clean water at all times. Chicks won't drink water or eat food that
is dirty or contaminated with feces, and a chick that does not eat food
and/or drink water can get sick and/or die really fast. Give your chicks
as much food as they will eat voluntarily; you don't know how hungry
they really are! If you are worried your chicks will eat themselves
sick, don't. Chicks aren't like dogs: they will eat as much as they
need. Make sure they are not too hot or too cold. You can tell this by
watching them. If they press against the edge of the box, they are too
hot. Raise the heat bulb or get a bigger box. If they all gather around
the heat source, they are too cold. Lower the heat bulb or get a smaller
- Bond with your chicks. Right now is the best time to bond
with your chicks because they are young, and will have been around you
for a while. Gently handle your chicks, talk to them, and pretty soon,
your chicks will begin to trust you!
- As they get older, let them run around in their chicken coop.
Have a shelter and some roosting poles for them, and as usual, check on
them frequently. Clean their food and water daily. Clean your chicken
coop once every 4 months, and change their shavings every week and a
- If one of their wings are not "clipped" sufficiently, the
young chickens can fly as a flock up into trees and wander off -- or
else, you will need a chick wire top over the chicken-yard or a roof
like an extension of the smaller "chicken house" (or coop). Larger
chickens don't fly as well as the young ones.
- Feed your chicks a variety of things. Crushed corn is one of the
first thing that comes to mind, but don't just give them that! Some
chicks might like applesauce, some like yogurt, and some like cornbread
- If you want to see your chicks at play, build a playground for them.
- Do not listen to step 4 if the chickens are for food. You will get attached to them.
- Despite what everyone might say, don't just use any 60 watt heat lamp for your chicks! It is too cold; you actually need a 250 watt bulb.
- Watch how your chicks react to the heat lamp. If they are
crowded under the heat lamp, they are too cold! If you haven't checked
the wattage of the bulb, check to be sure it is at least 250 watts. If
it is, lower the lamp a little bit and/or add another one. If they are
trying to get away from it, they are too hot! Check the wattage to be
sure it is not over 260 watts. Raise the heat lamp and remove any other
- Baby chicks should NEVER be allowed around an established flock
until they are at an appropriate age, such as when they start clucking
instead of peeping, or when they have combs. Otherwise, you will lose your chicks when the other girls when they try to establish the pecking order.
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