As the cold winter months drag on, many of us start to think about spring and all the things we will be able to do. One of the most popular warm weather activities is gardening and raising food. For some of us, raising chickens can be part of the ultimate backyard homestead experience.
If you are thinking about raising chickens for eggs, or if you have heard about the many grown hens in need of adoption, there are things you should know before you commit. Chickens can be wonderful animals to have around, but they require special care and attention.
Be Ready for a Commitment
Chickens require work. They reward that work with fun behavior, companionship, and often with eggs. To make the most of having poultry in your yard, be ready to commit time each day. You’ll need to feed them every day, make sure their home is secure, they have enough water, and they get some attention each day.
Give Them a Sturdy Home
Chickens have a number of predators, and you need to do your part to keep them safe. Make sure they have a house with four walls and a sturdy roof. Chickens need an area outside to explore, so make sure it is well fenced. If you opt for a fence directly around the coop, it’s advisable to bury part of the fence to prevent predators from easily digging under it.
Nutrition is Important
Chickens typically can’t get all their food from scratching at the ground. You’ll need to provide them with quality feed that is designed for chicken health. If your chickens lay eggs, make sure they get plenty of calcium.
Visit the Vet
Chickens have special health requirements. Your veterinarian can give you tips for caring for your chickens. Your vet can also check your chickens during regular wellness checks and make sure they are up to date on vaccinations.
Give Them Plenty of Attention
Chickens are fun to have around. They have unique personalities, they’re quirky, and they like attention. If you want to have chickens around, make sure you are ready to give them all the attention you would more traditional pets. They need it.