Keeping chickens is a practice that dates back centuries when people began keeping animals domestically. Chickens bring a sense of enjoyment, make a healthy food choice, and can produce enough eggs for a family. But, before going out and buying a dozen chickens, you need to be armed with some important information.
Roosters and Hens
A rooster is not necessary, for hens to lay eggs. Having a rooster is a matter of choice. They can be noisy and often have strong personalities. If you choose to have a rooster, be prepared to deal with baby chicks. Chickens are social animals and like to stay close to teaching other. This is especially true on when the days get nippy and they huddle together to stay warm. One chicken can be kept as a pet, but it’s better to have at least 2 or 3.
Having hens around means you will have to deal with predators, sooner or later. Building a solid roost will help chickens avoid becoming victims. They like having the freedom to roam but need a safe place to land when there’s danger. If you aren’t skilled enough to build a roost and pen, there are plenty of models available from private designers and retailers.
Living on a farm or in a rural area, chickens can become victims of a variety of animals. In the city, the main predators are cats and rodents. Fancy hen houses are not necessary, but they do look good in the back yard. Well built coops are necessary, to provide necessary shelter and provide protection from animals that want to harm them. Every chicken coop should have some basic features. Chickens need to have access to dirt, so they can dust themselves throughout the day. The also like to dig and scratch.
Bigger is Better
Chickens don’t fight over territory, but the do need space Crowding leads to disturbing behaviors and can affect egg production. Sometimes they can peck each other to death. They may also be noisy if they aren’t given the proper amount of space. The general rule is three square feet for every bird. When chickens can’t go outdoors, due to cold weather, it helps to provide them with grass and vegetables. This helps keep them warm and also helps them fight boredom.
Getting Chickens Settled.
Some people want mature hens. Others want younger pullets, so they can enjoy raising them. Both need to be put in their designated coops right away, so they understand where to expect their food and where to go for warmth and protection. They need to be kept in for several days, so they’re not tempted to roost outdoors, in inconvenient places. It can be a challenge to get roosting hens out of tree branches and back into the hen house.
Raising chickens is easy if you understand the basics. They like eating occasional leftovers from the kitchen, and some will even fight over food scraps. Most of the time, they will eat a quality chicken pellet or feed from a local mill. Chickens, like other animals, need plenty of fresh, clean water daily.