A Simple Guide to Keeping Chickens at Home


When handled with diligence and caution, raising chickens at home can be a highly rewarding project. Still, it is important to recognize the broad array of health hazards that such an endeavor may entail. Not only are chickens prone to unhygienic behaviors, they are also vulnerable to disease, bouts of malnutrition, and frequent encounters with pests, insects, and parasites. However, averting the majority of these dangers does not require a complex understanding of poultry. Instead, following a handful of simple tips and practicing general common sense is often the best approach to maintaining the health of your chickens.

To begin with, establishing a consistent nutritional plan is vital to the well-being of your flock. Although chickens are apt to forage throughout the yard for sources of sustenance, the greatest proportion of their food should come from a regular supply of chicken feed. There are a number of such feeds manufactured by reputable brands, and these products are often tailored to the specific needs and age of your chicken. While it may be tempting to supplement this diet with scraps of food from inside the home, this is not advisable. The ingredients in certain types of food are unhealthy—and potentially dangerous—inside the system of a chicken, and simply offering whatever scraps you may discover around the house could have severe consequences. Finally, it is best to regulate the feeding schedule of adult chickens; without this routine, the daily eating habits of your chickens may become imbalanced.

In addition to chicken feed, the water source of chickens should warrant special attention. The eggs produced by chickens are composed primarily of water, and so a clean water supply is paramount to your chickens’ health and productivity. However, the water dispensers of chickens are notoriously challenging to maintain. The chickens show very little regard for the cleanliness of their water, and it is likely to become dirty on a daily basis. This contamination is largely due to the chickens’ tendency to defecate in their water supply. For this reason, it is necessary to empty, thoroughly wash, and dry your chickens’ water containers several times a week. As an alternative, it may also prove beneficial to raise these containers slightly above the ground, thereby limiting the chickens’ ability to spoil the supply.

Lastly, it is also essential to ensure the safety and cleanliness of your chickens’ living quarters. Most evidently, this maintenance is necessary in order to prevent your chickens from being exposed to parasites, insects, and airborne diseases. Simply scrubbing these coops on an irregular, as-needed basis is not sufficient; one should establish a specific, consistent pattern of maintenance. The bedding inside the chicken coops should be frequently removed and replaced. Before replacing the bedding, make certain that the area has been fully cleaned, from corner to corner. Moreover, the space where your chickens roost should merit particular concern. Here, insects and parasites are especially likely to be present.

The second element of living quarters maintenance involves the structure of the coop itself. Even if your chickens roam freely during the day, it is important to provide them with an area protected from predators overnight. With this in mind, make certain that the dwelling is solid enough to prevent nighttime creatures from accessing your chickens. Additionally, you should also ensure that your chicken coops contain openings that will allow fresh air to enter and exit. Although chickens do not like drafts inside their quarters, small openings in the coops can still provide an adequate supply of fresh air.

It is clear, then, that a number of steps are necessary in order to guarantee the health and safety of your chickens. However, after establishing a daily maintenance routine, you are likely to find that these steps are not especially time-consuming. With secure living quarters, carefully selected food sources, and a clean water supply, your chickens will remain happy and productive for years to come.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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