Caring For Chickens
We’ve now had our 3 hens for a fortnight, they have settled in wonderfully and we are for sure seeing their cheeky side. If you missed our introduction be sure to check it out. This next blog post is based around caring for chickens, it doesn’t need to be a difficult job whatsoever and with a little maintenance each day you will have happy healthy hens.
We’ve had chickens before, we enjoyed rescuing chickens previously and having some hens come to see out their final years with us as they’d spent a few years being used for their eggs living in a huge shed. But this time around I wanted some young chickens, have them young so they were happy to live around people and most importantly my kids. We haven’t been left disappointed yet.
Here’s some of our top tips for caring for chickens.
Feed & Drink
Our Hen’s live on a mixture of Layers Pellets and Layers Mash, it’s highly recommended that this type of feed is 90%-95% of hens daily feed. Both these feeds have the correct combination of nutrients and minerals to keep a hen happy, healthy and lay good quality eggs. Alongside this once a day meal they graze, as sometimes it will take them all day to eat their provided meal.
Chickens love nothing more to eat than a handful of corn, bugs of which they will find foraging around a garden and fresh veg scraps. It’s important to never feed a Chicken cooked food or vegetables as the food rots more quickly once cooked and causes fermentation which can cause illness. Just remember, fresh is best and you are good to go.
Oyster Shells are another important intake for a chicken, as it boasts a hens calcium intake to help produce hard egg shells. You can find Oyster Shells mixed in with a poultry grit mixture of which you will most likely be able to find when you purchase your Layers meal.
Another excellent product for chickens is Live Natural Yoghurt as it keeps a hens crop healthy as its full of good bacteria.
When it comes to hens drink, you can give them just plain tap water but it’s recommended to be topped up with a Cider Vinegar at least twice a week. The Cider Vinegar is a great tonic for chickens, maintaining high gut and intestinal health whilst helping boost egg production.
Quite an easy job to do is this, easy but important to prevent chickens from becoming ill. On a monthly basis coat your hens in Mite & Louse powder. This prevents hens from becoming infested. It’s also important to do this during the winter months still, as the hen’s can still be infested with their warmth and the warmer winters also being problematic.
On a different form on cleansing, cleaning the coop and land surrounding the coop is just as important. Personally, I clean the hen’s coop most days, I clear away any mess within the nesting boxes daily and top up with fresh straw if required but then do a big clear out, weekly. During this weekly maintenance, a check for red mite is also carried out, to ensure the coop and surrounding areas are mite clear.
The hen’s coop should have a layer of sawdust on the bottom (we use dust extracted sawdust as to prevent breathing problems with the hens) and straw in the nesting boxes.
Alongside all the nutrients of which your chickens require to help maintain health and boost the healthy production of tasty eggs you also need to ensure your chickens do not become ill.
I’ve already mentioned protection against mites, in the cleansing section. But it’s also important to prevent your chicken from getting worms, for this a monthly dose of Vermex is ideal. Simply replace your chickens daily water (or cider vinegar water) with a mixture of Vermex and Water and your chickens will be treated for a month.
Yep, the chickens have a bedtime, not regulated by me but by the sun. At dusk, the hens will take themselves into their coop and go into their beds for the night. They love nothing more than sleeping on the clean straw at nighttime, so I always ensure I remove any poop from the beds before dusk. With the hens in their coop just close the door to keep them safe and secure for the night.
Its highly important for this reason you choose a pen for your hens that has a sliding/closing door so that it can be closed and the hens locked in for the night. Safe away from any predators that may be roaming around at night. In the night hens are incredibly docile and will not put up a fight if they are to be attacked.
The next morning, again the chickens rise with the sun.
Chickens do need a place to roam, we have provided them with a small pen but in the evening we open their gate and let them roam the garden for the evening. They enjoy nothing more than to be able to have a good walk around the garden, stretch their wings and even have a good run.
All this said, Chickens are an absolute breeze to care for and also so rewarding with their fresh eggs. If you keep on top of the maintenance they stay easy to look after and they stay healthy. That said, about 10 minutes daily maintenance is all chickens require, here is a quick summary.
- Ensure your hens are locked away in the evening and let back out again in the morning.
- Any food left over in the evening put it away or throw it away. Discarded food attracts vermin.
- Top up the food in the morning, hens are always at their hungriest in the morning after being locked in their coop overnight (90-95% of your hen’s diet should be Layers Pellets or Mash).
- Refresh the hens water in the morning. (Use cider vinegar in the water twice a week and Vermex in the water monthly to prevent worms).
- Clear out the nesting boxes of poop or eggs daily. Removing the eggs prevents hens from getting broody and sitting on their eggs but also stops hens from trampling over the eggs too.
- If like me, you let your hens roam the garden of an evening I find it beneficial to clear the garden of any poop to prevent anyone walking in it. Not an important job, but it all depends on how much you care for your garden.
**This is a personal post. There are affiliate links provided to Amazon of which I have provided based on products we use for our Chickens. If you were to make a purchase using these links I would receive a small commission from Amazon.