Tuesday, January 21, 2020

You Got Chickens - Now What? Caring for Your Chickens

So, you got chickens, now what? Caring for chickens doesn't have to be hard. It will take hard work, but it's really not that hard to care for chickens. The main things to remember are food and water and housing. Their housing doesn't have to be fancy either. It can be some pallets that you put together to make a pen or even just a shelter for your chickens. You will need food and water dishes but that is really all that they need. There are also some wants as far as your chickens are concerned. You may want to get them some treats, or some toys. These are fine, but not necessary. I guess it all depends on how spoiled you want your birds to be. Caring for chickens In my post, chickens 101, I talk about  caring for chickens, but I will go over this again. The main things to remember are this: you will need a good food for them and you will need water dishes for them. A good consists of layer pellet and scratch in the winter months. Scratch is just a filler, but it helps the birds to maintain heat. This is why, here at least, they only get scratch in the winter months. The summers here get into the 100 degree range and higher so we cut out the scratch in the summer. We also however, add a little sweet feed into the layer feed. We do this year round so it also acts as a filler so during the summer they still don't feel like they are hungry all the time because of the added sweet feed. Chickens Water is going to be the hardest thing. The birds do not keep their water clean. Now I have tried the automatic waterers and the covered water dishes that are supposed to stay clean and I have still had to clean them out at least twice a day. So I went back old school and just use basic bowls for the birds water. Since I change the water in the morning and at night, it is just as easy as any other type of dish we have tried. In the summer, they will also need something big enough to stand in. I have been told that they won't actually stand in the water, and that you need to put a brick in a dish of water, but again this is not my experience. We have a small plastic pool that we use and the birds seem to have no issue with just climbing in and wading around. So, I don't know if my birds are different from everyone else's or what, but they don't mind standing in the water. Actually when I tried to put something in the water, they wouldn't go near it so we took it out and now they seem to be happy. But that's just my experience, maybe some don't like to stand in water. I don't know. Caring for chickens Of course there are other things you can give to your bird, but a good food and clean water are the basics that must be done. If you want to give your birds some treats you can give them kitchen scraps, black oil sunflower seeds, or bugs. Bugs can consist of things you find in your garden, bagged bugs from a pet or feed store, or bugs and worms that you dig up in your own yard. Mine love all of these options. And believe it or not, they do need meat too. However, meat is not something they need every day. It does help though, with their protein needs. So, caring for chickens doesn't have to be hard but it does take some hard work. I will say though that I do love my birds and enjoy watching them. Have a great day! Renee

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