Raising chickens is so easy and like having an outdoor cat. Chickens pretty much take care of themselves. I had chickens as a kid, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to have them myself. Here are a few things you should consider and know BEFORE getting chickens.
Fence 360% The Coop & Chicken Run
The fenced-in area around the coop is called the chicken run. That’s where they run around. It’s best to have the chicken run covered because you will probably have hawk attacks or predators that can climb such as raccoons, possums, skunks. You’ll also want your chicken run to have the wire that goes deep. This way if a predator tries to dig under the coop, they’ll actually be digging at that wire and it’ll prevent them from digging a hole directly under the coop.
Pecking Order is Real
Pecking order is a real thing. You want to let your chickens establish theirs. It’s okay, they’re going to be picking on each other. Unless they’re picking on each other too much to the point where they’re getting bald, you might have too many chickens or not enough space, think about thinning your flock.
Molting is Scary But Normal
If you’re wondering why your chicken is losing her feathers, it’s called molting. They lose their summer or winter feathers and grow new feathers for the new season. Different chickens do this at different times. My brother-in-law almost killed his molting chicken because he thought it was sick and it was going to get the others sick.
Chickens Share Nesting Boxes
How many chicken nesting boxes do I need? You only need a couple. Chickens like to use the same box. Where somebody else has laid their eggs, they also want to lay their eggs. It’s okay, don’t let it bother you. I happened to build 16 nesting boxes. I have a flock of about 25 chickens and they all want to go in the same nesting box. It’s just too many.
Chickens Need Dirt & Love to Dig
Let’s talk about the chicken run. The chicken run should have dirt and hay, stuff for them to dig and scratch up.
Chickens Love Dust Baths
Also, chickens like to take dust baths. If you’re wondering why your chicken is burying itself, it’s just taking a dust bath. They do this to get rid of lice and mites and bugs that are on them.
Rats and Mice Are Going To Be Problem
This brings me to my next point; create it and they will come. When you have chickens, you will start seeing more mice and rats, and chickens will eat these things, so you’re going to have to find another way other than poison to get rid of them.
Chickens Love To Eat Variety of Stuff
So what do chickens eat? Well, weed and grass clippings are great to feed your chickens. They’ll eat just about anything, but try not to feed them chicken. They will eat it.
Keep Your Chickens Hydrated
You want to have a water source nearby in or near your coop. Chickens get over-heated easily so you want to have lots of water dishes in the shade. Keep them elevated because they’ll dig dirt into them. Or you can use water nipples and attach this to any bucket. This didn’t work for me, but it works for a lot of people.
Mixing Chickens and Ducks Is Possible
If you’re wondering if you can mix chickens and ducks, yes, but ducks love to muddy up the water and they need to swim to stay healthy. So if you mix your chickens and your ducks, your chickens are never going to have clean water unless you’re using those water nipples. That’s a way to keep the water clean.
Chickens Love to Perch
You want to have elevated spaces. Use your vertical spaces. This way you can fit so many more chickens in a smaller area. You want to have vertical spaces, especially inside the chicken coop because chickens sleep standing up. It’s called roosting. They typically only use their nesting boxes to lay their eggs in.
These closet L-brackets are great for inside the chicken coop. They give you a shelf for the chickens to stand on and a place to put a stick so they can roost. Low covered spaces are great for really hot days for extra shade and for rainy days. But sometimes you might find an egg there.
Chickens and Rabit Mix
If you’re wondering if you can mix chickens and rabbits, yes. If you have enough space they’ll get along just great.
Common Chicken Issues Is Eye
What problems might you see with chickens? Well, one of the most common problems are eye problems. Although it’s the most common problem, it’s not really a problem. So they have something wrong with their eyes, if you want to get rid of it, use some diatomaceous earth, or you can put antibiotics in their water, but that means that you can’t eat their eggs for a couple of weeks.
Blood in Eggs?
If you see a little bit of blood in the chicken’s eggs. They’re fine to eat. They just ruptured a vessel when pushing out the egg.
You Don’t Need a Rooster
You don’t need a rooster to get eggs. Chickens will lay eggs with, or without a rooster. And different breeds of chickens will lay different colored eggs. The only thing a rooster is good for is making your eggs fertile. He’ll also make your hands look pretty beat up.
Don’t try to Boil Fresh Eggs
Don’t try to hard boil fresh eggs. They’re almost impossible to peel. You want to wait at least a week before hard-boiling your eggs. The older the egg, the easier it’s going to be to peel.
Chickens lay less eggs as they age.
You’ll get about one egg a day their first year or two, then less and less each year after. Chickens will start laying eggs when they’re about six months old.
Chickens Love Free-Range, But WATCH for Predators
You can let your chickens free-range. They put themselves away at night. It’s so easy. If you want to put them away, it’s going to be a cat and mouse chase. You also want to watch out for predators.
Next, you want to train your chickens. Just kidding. Now you’re prepared to raise chickens.
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