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Farm & Ranch

Raising Chickens for Beginners

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By Savannah Magoteaux

Raising chickens can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, whether you’re a homesteader looking to become more self-sufficient or a backyard enthusiast seeking fresh eggs for your family. Chickens are relatively low-maintenance animals, making them an excellent choice for beginners in the world of poultry farming. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the essentials of raising chickens, from choosing the right breed to ensuring their health and happiness.

Selecting the Right Breed

Before diving into chicken-raising, it’s crucial to choose the right breed that suits your goals and environment.

Different breeds have various characteristics, including egg-laying capacity, temperament, and adaptability. Here are some popular options for beginners:
Rhode Island Red: Known for their excellent egg production and hardiness.
Plymouth Rock: Friendly birds that lay brown eggs and adapt well to various climates.

To read more, pick up a copy of the December issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Grass Tetany (Hypomagnesemia)

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By Barry Whitworth, DVM

With spring approaching, producers should be aware of a disease associated with rapidly growing forages. Hypomagnesemia is commonly referred to as grass tetany. The disease is a serious and often fatal metabolic disease that occurs in cattle and less commonly in sheep and goats. The disease is characterized by low blood and cerebral spinal fluid levels of magnesium.
Low level of magnesium in animals is associated with tetanic convulsions. The disease is often associated with grazing lush green pastures during cold rainy weather in early spring. Other names for hypomagnesemia are grass staggers, hypomagnesmic tetany, lactation tetany, or wheat pasture poisoning.

Magnesium is an important mineral because it activates many enzymes in chemical reactions in the body. Without this mineral, cells are unable to produce energy, transport genetic information, transport materials across cell membranes, and nerves cease to respond in a normal manner. Magnesium also plays a role in electrolyte balances in the body.

Maintaining magnesium levels requires adequate daily intake to meet the needs of the animal. Factors that increase magnesium requirements are fetal growth during pregnancy, milk production, soft tissue growth, and bone growth. Failure to absorb magnesium may lower blood levels as well.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Montana

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By Lindsey Monk

Hope someone is whispering sweet nothings in your ear this Valentine’s Day!

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Wyoming

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By Tressa Lawrence

May you find yourselves bedded down and cozy this February!

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