1/1/11

13 Tips for raising Happy Chickens

13. Feed your girls greens. Weeds. Leftover Salad. The lettuce from the bottom of the fridge (don't throw out your food scraps, give it to your hens)

12. Have a plan for what you are going to do if you end up with roosters. They can be difficult to find homes for them if you can't keep them. Plan ahead.

11. Consider using food grade diatomaceous earth for pest control. Sprinkle it in deep bedding or lightly on the feed. Wear a mask when working with DE.

10. Choose one breed of chicken and get to know that breed. Generally each breed has specific needs and it is easier to start with one breed. I recommend Rhode Island Reds. Or considering helping a heritage breed.

9. Have at least 5 square feet of space for each bird, 10 square feet if they are in a coop all day.

8. Have a place for your hens to perch or roost. Best to use 2" wide poles.

7. Hens need 14-16 hours of light a day to lay eggs. In the winter you may supplement with lights set on a timer.

6. Make sure your coop is predator proof! this includes storing feed in rat proof containers.

5. Coop should be well ventilated but not drafty.

4. To encourage egg laying there should be 1 nesting box per 4 hens.

3. Make sure your birds aren't bored. I make sure they have "scratch" in their coop to give them something to work on.

2. I feed my hens organic layer pellets, cracked corn, black sunflower seeds, mealworms, scratch, fresh greens, worms, grit and of course clean fresh water every day.

1. Talk to your birds, they will talk back, and make sure to give them lots of love.

8 comments:

Karmyn R said...

Thanks for the list. I do most of these things - except for the diatomaceous earth. I'll have to check into that!!!

We give our girls outside time at least 3 times a week. They sure help keep the bugs down in the garden.

Kay said...

OK, I give up -- not being a chicken raiser -- what is "scratch?"

Robert said...

Good tips. Thanks for sharing. The part about daylight is a tad off. We're currently getting slightly less than 12 hours of daylight - and our 12 hens are laying up to 10 eggs per day. Good girls!!! @Karmyn - some of the local folks here ingest diatomaceous earth themselves. They swear by it for joint pains etc. @Kay... scratching is what chickens love to do, using their beaks and feet to scratch around in the ground looking for good things to eat... insects, grains, etc. It's a real pastime for them!

O's Eggs said...

Hey thanks for comments.
I call a combination of grains that I mix together scratch. I throw it on the floor of the coop so that they do exactly what Robert said, scratch around. Bored birds are unhappy birds.

I guess there are lots a viewpoints on light. I have older birds and try to get them about 14+ hours of light. It is also what my bird mentors mention as a good amount, but every flock is different.

Thanks Karmyn, Kay and Robert for taking the time to comment. It's cool to know people are actually reading this little blog!

kghs57 said...

My daughter is 12 and has been raising her own chickens and ducks for awhile now. She sells her eggs and at the moment, has an incubator full in her new school to teach other kids. I'm going to tell her about you. This is great!

Tommy said...

Great ideas, we just purchased 6 rhode reds from the local feed store. They grow so quickly. when they are chicks, do we feed them all those different things? And how much space does a chick need?
T.D

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