With the increase in everyone requiring Chickens lately, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have done your homework. There are a few basics things you need to know and do to ensure that your chickens are happy and healthy. We have 7 of the best tips on keeping chickens in your backyard.
Secure home for your girls is a must, somewhere they can sleep and lay in peace without the fear of predators.
Cats and foxes will come around if they know there is an easy meal to have.
Allow your chickens to be free in the back yard is fine, but they need somewhere safe to be locked away at nigh in particular. So, make sure that you have a secure and safe place they can go when the feel threaten during the day and safe at night.
If your chickens are fearful then you will not be getting any eggs, chickens with anxiety don’t lay.
Don’t forget they will need a place to lay their eggs, like a tub or wooden box. Otherwise it will be a hunting game each morning to try and locate the eggs. They will also need soft bedding, like hay or straw which make a great bed and soft place for eggs.
Em purchased this chicken hatch from Ebay like this one.
If you allow your chickens to roam the yard, this is total fine but keep in mind that they love to dig and turn over and will eat just about all plants they can reach.
So, if you don’t mind a little garden renovations then let then run free, but if you do, think about fencing off the areas you don’t want them to access or an easier option give them a run to run around and have access to some greener is always good.
Again, keep an eye on them they will wander if your yard is not secure and can become interest to those neighbouring cats too.
Feeding your Chickens
Feeding your chickens, the right feed is very important to their health and egg production. They need good quality laying pellet and shell grit to help with keeping the shells hard. You don’t want soft shells.
You can certainly feed them kitchen scrapes; they do love these but are not enough for a complete diet. Also make sure that you don’t feed them every thing from the kitchen.
They cannot have potato skins or green potatoes and onions. So, make sure you watch what your feeding them from the kitchen.
Collecting and cleaning your eggs is really important to remember. Good Hygiene when ever you are handling the chickens and eggs. It is not only for the health of your chickens but also your family. Egg shells are very porous. So, after handling your chickens or the eggs, make sure you wash your hands really well.
Eggs that are only slightly dirty can be cleaned or rubbed with an egg brush or paper towel, with a gentle rubbing action.
A lot of care needs to be taken when washing eggs because egg shells are very porous and washing can allow germs to enter through the shell. Minimise the chance of this happening then a great way is to ensure that the water is at room temperature.
Don’t stand or soak your eggs in the water. Dry the eggs after washing with paper towel. You can store them on the bench or in the fridge. I like to keep mine in the fridge as this also helps the eggs to last a little longer.
When purchasing your chickens for the first time, remember that they will not lay straight away. There are a few reasons for this:
- They are normally (if you purchase from a fooder business) to be a few months off from laying normally takes around 2 – 3 months before they will start to lay.
- Chickens also need time to get use to their new surroundings and feel safe and happy before they will lay. Any issues that upset your chickens they will not lay or stop laying.
- The breed of the chicken will also depend on laying times and frequencies.
Isa brown or Leghorn are certainly great layers and will lay every day for around 3-4 years before they stop.
Other breeds may not lay every day but some will live longer then the Isa Browns. Certainly, something to keep in mind when purchasing chickens.
Chickens that are unhealthy and not well will not lay eggs, really important that you take the time to do your homework and look after your chickens if you want to keep them and have your own fresh eggs every day.
To keep your girls happy and healthy and laying regular, you need to look after their health. They will need a dusting bath; this helps them to keep clean and keep those nasty mites and fleas away.
If you have a fire place, then the ash (cool) is great for dusting. If you don’t have one there is options for a dusting powder from your local fooder or pet store that you can purchase to help with mites and fleas.
Cleaning of the hatch and bedding area does need to be down at least weekly and this will depend on the amount of chickens. The more you have the more regular you will need to clean. A Clean bed and hatch will mean that the nasty pest (lice, mites and fleas) stay at bay.
Change the bedding and give the nesting boxes a good clean with warm soaping water. You will also need to be clean the floor of the hatch regular too. If you have pavers or cement then a quick hose out and soaping water will keep it clean and fresh for your girls. If you have dirt like myself then you will need to rake the poo and straw regular and remove and replace the straw or hay. It’s great though as this is great fertiliser for the garden.
We have another in depth post that covers this in more detail so check it out here.
Don’t forget just like all your other pets, dogs and cats chicken’s also need to be wormed, so don’t forget to do this. You want happy healthy chickens to keep laying for you.
Water Requirements for Chickens
Your chickens will need fresh water daily and you will need to feed daily if you don’t have a feeder. Also keep in mind the containers you use. If you chickens are able to stand in the feeder then they will throw the feed everywhere. This will also bring in the rats and mice. So, keep this in mind when looking at containers for you chickens.
I use just a plastic kitty litter tray, but I only give the chickens the amount of feed they eat in one day to keep wastage to a minimum and to keep the mice and rats at bay. I have recently gone for a proper chicken feeder, this is great for keep feed wastage down.
Well that covers the most important aspects to keeping chickens, just remember they are not a pet that you get and can forget. They do need care and some thought before purchasing, just like any other pet.
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