Caring for Chickens

Incubator Maker

Caring for pet chickens is quite simple! They have the same basic needs as most other pets. For a detailed guide on caring for chickens and building them a quality chicken coop, check out:

Building A Chicken Coop

Here are the essential items you will need to provide for your chickens:

Waterer and Feeder

The best kind of waterer you can purchase is one that automatically refills itself so you do not have to concern yourself about your chicks every day once they have been transferred to their coop. Make certain that the coop is designed in such a way that they cannot poop in the drinking trough and they cannot overturn it. The same applies to the feeder, make certain they cannot overturn it as well.

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Food

Chicken feed is readily available at pet stores and farm supplies and provides the complete blend of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fat baby chicks require. You have a choice of organic as well as traditional varieties and, when your hens begin laying eggs, there is also a layer feed available for them.

Scratch

Scratch, a combination of corn, wheat, oats and rye, is regarded as a treat for chickens. You normally just toss scratch on the floor for them to peck at. However scratch should not be a regular part of their diet because it does not include all of the nutrients they require.

Grit

As chickens do not have teeth, they need to have something else such as sand or gravel which they store in their crop to help them digest their food. You can mix grit with their feed or place it in a special container for easy access.

Bedding

Bedding keeps your hens content and healthy. It gives your chickens a soft surface area to walk on as well as to soak up droppings and odor. The nest should also have bedding to prevent the eggs from breaking when they land on the nest floor. The best recommended bedding is pine wood shavings which should be at least one inch deep.

Dust Baths

If you plan to let your chickens out from their coop, you do not have to set up a dust bath for them. However, if they will be kept in the coop, then you will need a container approximately 10 to 12 inches high filled with 6 inches of equal parts ashes, road dust, sand and loose earth. Hens love to have dust baths since this is their method of stopping parasites such as mites and lice from setting up home in their legs and feathers.

Next we will cover the daily, monthly, semi-annual and annual chores associated with keeping chickens.

Daily Tasks

  • Always keep the feeders filled and the waterers full.
  • Make certain the waterer is clean. Chickens do not like to drink filthy water and dehydration can make them sick extremely quickly or even worse can be a cause of death! Check your birds frequently to make sure they are lively and healthy. If in doubt, contact your vet.
  • Collect eggs and store them in the fridge pointy side down.
  • Each time you let your hens out of the coop into the run, double check the door when you lock them in to be certain it is secure and that predators cannot get in.
  • TIP: Chicken eggs usually have minor traces of dirt or chicken waste on them. Do not scrub them clean! The exterior of the egg has a delicate membrane known as the bloom which holds off bacteria and other foreign matters. Scrubbing will damage this membrane.

Monthly Tasks

  • Change the coop’s and nest bedding once a month to maintain hygiene and prevent the build up of ammonia. Ammonia accumulation is dangerous as it can result in respiratory disease.
  • Remove the chicken droppings. You can place them in a compost bin or make use of it as eco-friendly fertilizer for your plants.

Twice a Year Tasks

You need to thoroughly clean the chicken coops every six months from top to bottom!

  • Remove all bedding and nest materials, feed and drinking water containers. Hose down and scrub the coop from top to bottom using a combination of 10 parts water mixed with 1 part bleach and 1 part dish soap.
  • Perform the same cleansing procedure with the feed and water containers, making certain they are completely cleaned and rinsed properly before replenishing the feed and water supply.
  • After scrubbing, rinse properly and allow to dry before replacing the bedding and nest materials. This should only take about 2-½ hours at the most.

This is covered in much greater detail in the top selling guide, Building A Chicken Coop.

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the Building A Chicken Coop Website

 


While you're here, make sure you sign up for our free mini-course:  

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In our highly informative course, you'll discover:

How to Choose the Type of Coop You Require
How to Keep Your Costs Down
How To Build A Coop That Will Last
How to Protect Your Chickens
7 Deadly Mistakes When Keeping Chickens at Home
And much more...

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