Chickens are fun, educational, and practical pets. Every day, more people are considering having chickens at home. Keeping chickens is a rewarding experience. Whether you consider yourself a hobbyist or a serious poultry farmer, we’ve come up with a few tips on maintaining a happy and healthy flock.
Like with other animals, nutrition is the corner stone to a happy flock. On average a chicken will drink a half-pint of water per day and more in warmer weather. You will want to make sure your hens have access to clean, fresh water 24/7. We’ve got several different poultry waterers available to keep your flock well hydrated. Poultry nutrition science has come a long way from the cracked corn and scratch of by gone days. You’ll want to limit the scratch in your chicken’s diet to 10% or less while providing a well-balanced diet. Mary’s has many different complete poultry feeds to meet your particular flock’s need. Chicks 1 to 8 weeks old can be put on a starter feed while laying adults may need feed that contains supplemental calcium or omega-3. Sometimes you may want to give your chicken a special treat Meal Worms are an excellent choice as they are high in protein.
Chickens are active and gregarious birds that can provide hours of entertainment. The added benefit of watching and enjoying your flock is you’ll get to know them through your daily observations. You will soon learn everyone’s normal behavior and personality quirks. They thrive on interaction so be sure to notice any changes to their personalities. Pay attention if a chicken begins to isolate herself from the group, or if one hen or another starts to become a bully. Noticing these changes early on can help stop a problem before it starts.
Backyard birds are quite susceptible to respiratory illness caused by dust. Chickens scratch, they molt, bedding ages and breaks down and feed is bound to spill and be trampled. By developing a regular cleaning routine such as replacing bedding monthly), cleaning waterers and feeders weekly and scrubbing your coop bi-annually you will keep bacteria, viruses, and external parasites at bay.
Of course, if your birds fall ill and succumb to sickness, please call your veterinarian and the USDA.
Many of us at Mary’s are Chicken Enthusiasts and are happy to answer any questions you may have about raising chickens at home. We have a wide range of chicken products and feeds including Organic/Non-GMO and can provide feed and supply suggestions to keep your flock happily clucking along!