HATCHING A PLAN FOR A HEALTHIER, MORE SUSTAINABLE LIVING

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With the popularity of raising backyard poultry continuing to take hold in homes across America, especially in urban areas, backyard chicken expert and TODAY Show contributor P. Allen Smith will be available to talk about the benefits of chicken ownership, and provide listeners with some tips on how to get started.

According to a study conducted by USDA, more than 60% of those surveyed believe eggs from home-raised chickens are better for you than grocery store eggs. The percentage skews even higher when surveying people between 25 and 44 years of age. That same study found that 4.6% of households that did not have chickens said they plan to get chickens within the next five years.

Whether you’re a home chef, a gardener or a parent who believes in providing enriching experiences for your children, this spring might be the perfect time to consider jumping on the backyard chicken bandwagon. If you’re thinking of adding a coop to your backyard living space this year, here are some tips to consider:

Choose your chickens: Chickens come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and temperaments. When making your choice, research the breed’s history and characteristics, making sure to find out how much space they’ll require.
Establish a (legal) living area: As chicken ownership continues to grow, more cities and suburbs are permitting coops in urban and suburban residences. But before you buy chicks, check with your city’s zoning regulations to be sure your coop complies with local ordinances.
Chicken feed: While space is vital to a chicken’s health, nutrition is vital to successful egg production. Using packaged feed with a mix of natural ingredients is a convenient way for owners to provide chicks the nutrition they need for future laying. Feeds such as Purina Start & Grow SunFresh Recipe are backed by years of research, proven to help chicks grow into healthy hens.

P. Allen Smith, who is working closely with Purina, advises both novice and experienced poultry owners hungry for more information to visit Purina’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PurinaPoultry, which provides resources, a free printable e-guide, tips, feedback from experts and offers a community to talk with other poultry owners.

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