Chickens are relatively easy to look after, but like all animals they still need care and consideration.
A chicken’s basic needs are for a good quality feed, clean drinking water, secure weatherproof coop, with perches for roosting and nest boxes for the hens to lay eggs.
Check the following:
The coop is robust enough to keep out predators large and small.
Good insulation and ventilation are essential.
Moveable coops are a good idea it keeps the ground around it fresh
Be careful of second-hand housing, which may contain parasites such as red mite.
Select a breed
All chickens lay eggs, but productivity varies enormously depending on breed and time of year, So decide whether your aim is eggs, pets, an attractive addition to your garden, or all of these.
Well designed feeder to keep feed dry and prevent waste
A purpose made drinker, providing constant clean water
Vermin proof feed storage container
Provide a dust-bath. A plastic box filled with fine soil or play sand will do the job.
Manufactured feed usually comes as pellets or mash and provides a balanced diet.
Chickens also need little stones to assist digestion, Supply a dish of insoluble grit, or oyster shell so your chicken can help themselves to what they require.
Chickens love to eat grass and should be allowed to roam in the garden so long as it is safe to do so. If grass isn’t available, vegetables make a tasty substitute.
Dust extracted shavings are a popular choice. Avoid hay as this can become compacted in the chicken’s crop and stay away from wood bark, this may harbour harmful moulds and spores.
Caring for your chickens
Let them out each morning and check they are all in good health.
Keep an eye on the drinker in very hot or very cold weather. A laying hen needs about 260mls a day. In the evening, make sure your chickens are shut in their house to keep them safe from predators.
Clean out the coop at least once a week and put down fresh bedding. When cleaning out, check for any evidence of red mite they are nocturnal but can be found during the day in the joins on perches, you will see grey patches which the mite excrete or even the mite themselves, little grey mite are the immature mite that haven’t fed from the birds blood. Red mite can make birds anaemic and can result in mortality if not treated, so act quickly at the first sign of them.
It is important to establish a worming regime and frequently check that every bird is healthy and free from parasites (speak to us if you require any advice on parasite control).
Most importantly enjoy your chickens and the experience of caring for them!