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.