Chicken Care 101
Keeping chickens can be a lot of work just like any pet, chickens need daily care, somewhere to sleep, something to do and most importantly love. There are 3 questions I want you to answer these are How? Where? And Why?.
read on to learn more about chicken care
- Chickens can differentiate between more than 100 faces.
- They can see all colours.
- Chickens experience REM sleep which means they dream just like us.
- Chickens like to sunbathe.
- Hens defend their chicks from predators.
- There was a headless chicken which survived for 18 months.
- Chickens can swim.
- Hens can eject sperm if they don’t want to have offspring with a particular rooster.
- They take dust baths.
- Chickens will shed their feathers when stressed.
- The longest recorded flight of a chicken lasted for 13 seconds.
- There are more chickens than humans.
- Chickens do feel pain and stress.
- The phobia of chickens is called Alektrophobia.
- Chickens have taste buds
- They cant taste sweetness
- The highest number of eggs laid by a hen in a day was 7
- And the record for eggs laid in a year is 371
- Hens will lay larger but fewer eggs as they get older
- Chickens navigate by using the sun
- Hens will talk to their unborn chicks to reaffirm their bond
One of the most essential things to learn about is what you should feed you chickens. While chickens are natural foragers who will forage for insects, worms and more you will still need to feed them to keep them healthy and happy. Learn More Here
Chicks – From when they hatched till they are 5 weeks old chicks are fed a food called chick crums they are about 19% protein.
Pullet – From 6 – 18 Weeks, pullets should be fed a feed called growers pellets or growers mash. This feed is usually 15 – 16% protein.
Laying Hens – When chickens start laying eggs, they should be fed layers pellets or layers mash. This is typically 15 – 17% protein, and it will help them lay eggs regularly.
Benefits Of Keeping Chickens
Benefits Of Keeping Chickens
You might have been wondering if there are any benefits of keeping chickens. They also make great companions for you and your family.
- They Keep Garden Pests At Bay. Chickens stop bugs from getting to your plants, and they also eat weeds and can which means you don’t have to pull them out yourself.
- Chickens Help The Soil. Chickens help the soil by churning up ground, and you can also use them to churn up your flower beds before planting and for mixing you compost pile.
- Their Waste Can Be Used As Fertilizer. Chicken poo as horrible as it sounds can be used as compost for your plants. Their waste can be used as fertilizer because it contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
- They Are Great Cleaners. If you have fruit trees or a veggie patch that need to be cleaned up you can just release your chickens, and they will eat everything in sight, but you may want to pick up all the fruit you wish to keep before you let them out.
Uk Laws And Regulations
Uk Laws And Regulations
There are a few rules of what you cant do with your chickens in Britain here I will cover 5 of these rules. These may not be up to date since they were from 2017. Learn more here
- Burying poultry or any other kind of livestock.
- Feeding your chickens garden scraps.
- Letting your chickens out onto your compost heap.
- Feeding your chickens dried mealworms.
- Keeping 50 or more birds on your property
A chicken coop should be a warm, safe home for your chickens away from predators and drafts. A good coop should have enough nesting boxes for each hen, roosting areas, a roof and walls, proper ventilation, a run with fencing and heating and light. Inside the chicken coop, there should be nesting boxes which are filled with straw and enough room for each hen to perch of the floor. There should be about 2-4 square in the coop and 4 – 5 square feet per hen in the outside run. The ground should be covered with pine shavings; this will help prevent the spread of mites and lice.
There are over 100 breeds of chicken which makes it hard to pick. Still, each chicken has its own unique physical and behavioural characteristics which makes them suitable in a different environment. Many breeds can be separated into two categories, these are Standard and Bantam. Standard chickens are large, and Bantam chickens are a quarter of their size, Bantams have smaller eggs than standards. Both types of chickens do perfectly fine in gardens if properly card for.
You can get fertilized eggs in from your local farm, feed store or breeder to hatch the eggs and keep them warm you will need to get an incubator. The incubator should be kept at 99.5 – 103 degrees it should also contain a proper level of moisture inside you will want to have 45 – 50% of moisture for the first 18 days and 65% for the last few days. A few paper cups or a pan filled with water will work a treat for keeping it moist. You will have to turn the eggs for the first 14 days of incubations this should be continued until 3 days before hatching, it is best if you turn them three times a day or more.
How To Care For The Chicks
A brooder is a warm heated house that your chicks will live in for the first weeks of life. To make your own brooder, you can get a plastic box, and a heat lamp put bedding the box food and water and your good to go. The brooders temperature should be between 90-95 degrees for the first week and should be reduced by 5 degrees each week. If you have kids tell them to be very careful since chicks can get broken quite easily. You should only handle them for a while and then carefully put them back in the box to be with their siblings and warm up. After a few weeks, you can put your chicks in a dog exercise pen, or you can keep them in their box whatever is more comfortable for you. Learn More Here
Reasons Why Your Hens Aren't Laying Eggs
There are several reasons why your hen/hens aren’t laying eggs; we will be looking at seven of these reasons and why. Read on to learn more about why your hen isn’t laying eggs.
- Your Hens Diet One of the most common reasons why your hens aren’t laying is because they have the wrong diet. Chickens are omnivores which means they feed on both meat and plants; this is why chickens can be seen digging around in the dirt for worms, so what should you feed your hens? For pellets, the best option is layers pellets. Layers pellets contain minerals, vitamins, salt and other ingredients (Learn More) this helps your hens lay eggs. One food you do not want to feed your hens is maize. Maize is just dried up corn it doesn’t have enough protein and chickens need 20 grams of protein, so I recommend staying away from these. If your chickens are being fed layers pellets and they still struggle to lay eggs, you may want to consider giving them high protein snacks such as mealworms, seeds, oats and pumpkin. One other thing that is frequently overlooked is water. If your hens don’t get access to fresh water whenever they are thirsty, they will not lay eggs.
- Not Getting Enough Sun For hens to lay eggs they will need loads of natural daylight. Hens should be out in the sun for at least 14 – 16 hours a day. If you live somewhere where in the winter you don’t get much sun you can put an artificial light in their coop set it on an automated timer. This will definitely keep up your hen’s egg production, but I don’t recommend this.
- Broody Hens Another reason why your hen isn’t laying is that they might be broody. Firstly what is a broody hen? When a hen is broody, it means that your hen thinks she has fertilized eggs and is waiting till they hatch which of course isn’t going to happen. A broody hen doesn’t have to be put down there are ways of stopping a broody hen (Learn More Here)
- New Chickens Or Moving Your hens may not be laying because you’ve decided to move their coop or you have moved house. Chickens love to have a routine, and the tiniest change of their routine means that they could stop laying. There are ways to get them to lay again these include.
- Giving them a few days to calm down and start laying.
- Letting them figure out the hierarchy.
This will hopefully make your hens start laying.
Thank you for reading this post, and I hope that you decide to get chickens and i know you will love them just like any other pet you just have to give them time and patience to warm up to you. Once I incubated some eggs, we knew we couldn’t keep any, but we did it anyway a little black came out I named her Jet she was running around with the top of her egg on her head. Jet was blind in one eye, and she was so funny. We gave them to our friend and when she moved she gave them to some of her friends. Where ever you are jet and your siblings I love you :). I do recommend getting some chicks they fill your life with joy and eggs