Basic Guide On Caring For Chickens
Chickens are becoming an increasingly popular addition to many gardens. Not only do they give you a steady supply of fresh eggs, they will keep you amused for hours when watching them as they all tend to have different characters, personalities and traits.
If you’re thinking of getting some hens for your back garden then below you will find some basic tips on how to keep your new chickens in tip top condition.
There can be so much more to caring for chickens than just buying food and collecting their eggs. They also make wonderful pets that are full of character & mischief, to which us humans can become very attached. They are usually very gentle and friendly if you take the time to interact with them on a regular basis.
The more room you can give your chickens the better, the more space they have the better off they seem to be. However, please make sure they can’t escape and fly out of your garden as there are many situations outside that could be dangerous for your chickens.
Chickens are best kept in flocks of at least 3 or 4 hens up to 40 or 50 hens.
Chicken coops will provide shelter and safety from both the adverse weather and predators including the sly foxes and invisible birds of prey. There are many types of chicken coops available these days.
The key features you need to look for in a chicken coop is that it is strong, dry inside, well ventilated, but without draughts and it also should be easy to clean. Chickens like roosts to sleep on at night, nesting boxes to lay eggs in, and generally like to scrape around in shavings on the floor.
Food & Feeding
We don’t recommend that you feed your chicken random scraps, as it can cause both respiratory and digestive problems if the wrong food items are included in the scraps. You can buy all your hens feed requirements from us at Denmead Poultry, we keep Layers Pellets, Layers Mash & Mixed Corn in stock at all times along with many other accessories you may need for your chickens. These foods will give your hens the correct amount of proteins & carbohydrates they need along with their essential nutrients.
Please remember this diet should always be supplemented with fresh greens as well as grit, and the hens should ALWAYS have easy access to clean fresh water.
Worms & Other Parasites
Denmead Poultry recommend that you have a regular worming and mite eradication programme using the correct products for the parasite you are targeting. It is far better for you to prevent the chickens getting problems like worms & mites, rather than wait until you notice an infestation.
General Health Checklist
Regular examinations of your chickens are a good idea. Please look out for the following;
*Breathing patterns and noises.
*Mites and lice at feather base.
*Colour and consistency of droppings.
*General feeding patterns.
*Nails too long (requires clipping).
*Ruffled feathers & lethargic appearance.
*Behavioural problems (fighting or feather loss).
*Discharge from nostrils, eyes, vent. (possible mycoplasma infections).
*Diarrhoea, bright green droppings, vomiting or regurgitation.
*Loss of appetite.
*Any abnormal swellings or lumps.
If your hens show any signs of illness, please seek advice from your chicken friendly vet.