You may need to do a little bit of preparation before bringing the chickens home. You will want to make sure that they have the right shelter, as well as the right kind of food, to be comfortable and ready to lay all of those eggs. Make sure to follow some of these suggestions to ensure that your chickens are being taken care of properly and you are getting the most out of all this hard work.
Getting the Coop Set Up
Before you bring home your new chickens, you need to make sure that they have a place to call home. There are many different ideas that you can use to make your own chicken coop, or you can purchase one at the store to ensure it is nice and sturdy, but you need to find the ideas that will fit the best in your own backyard, will hold the amount of chickens that you need, and which will not be too big of a hassle to handle.
Many people choose to just purchase a chicken coop. This allows them to talk to someone who can help them out some more and makes it easier to get the right size and shape for their needs. If you are choosing to build your own coop, which can be a great experience to really get out there and be involved and saves you some money, consider looking at the different floor plans that work in your backyard and for your chickens.
Some of the things that you should keep in mind when it comes to creating your own chicken coop or deciding where you should place it include:
- Find some shade—you do not want to place the chicken coop somewhere that is in direct sunlight all day long. Find some shade so the chickens can get a break. This also gives them a little protection if the winter or fall elements start to get harsh.
- Elevate the nesting floor—if you put this up a few feet, it can help to keep the chicken’s feet dry when the weather gets wet. You can add in a ramp so the chickens are able to get easily up and down.
- Add in some lights—the inside of the chicken coop can get dark, especially at night. Add in some lights to help make it easier to see inside and to even help the chickens to get more sun to lay more eggs.
- Feather the nest—your coop is not going to be done until you add in some roosting perches and nesting boxes. You can add in some wicker baskets with straw or add in a bit of feathers to help make the nest as comfortable as possible.
- Choose hardware carefully—make sure that you find the hardware that is resistant to predators and will keep the chickens safe. Metal latches that are secure and can’t be opened with a paw can keep the chickens safe.
- Don’t forget the outdoor space—your chickens are not going to want to spend all their time inside the chicken coop. Create an outdoor space that allows them to move around a lot and keeps them safe. For your backyard you could use the back fence or create an area of your own.
- Add in the vents—the chickens can start to feel sick if the air isn’t circulating within the coop. Add in some screened gaps between the walls so that the hot air can get out without causing some drafts.
- Think about convenience—not only should the chicken coop be comfortable for the chickens, you need to make it easy for regular cleaning, to walk around, and for gathering the eggs. Think this through when figuring out the right setting for your needs.
- Recycling can be your friend—sometimes, using old things that are around the home can help out with the chicken coop. Your old trash will work great to create a safe and secure place for the chickens.
- Think about how much room the chickens need—the smaller coop may be a bit cheaper, but if you have twenty chickens, it may be time to think about something bigger. Each chicken is going to need at least a few feet each to be comfortable and move around so consider this when building or purchasing the chicken coop.
When you put everything together, you need to have a chicken coop that is convenient for the chickens, allows for enough space for the chickens to move around and be comfortable, and that is easy to clean out and to gather the eggs that you need. There are many different options that you can choose from with this, but you need to find the one that works the best for your needs and in your area.
Picking Out the Right Foods
One question that a lot of people have when they first bring home their chickens is what they should feed the animals. They want to make sure that the chickens are going to stay healthy and happy, but what types of foods are going to help out with this process. You will want to feed your chickens a balanced and complete diet so that they are able to lay better eggs and even to stay healthy. Chickens like to eat a wide variety of foods in order to help them get all their nutrition, so offering up some variety can make the difference.
The first thing that you should offer is a good quality pellet for poultry. There are dispensers that help out a lot in keeping the pellets dry, even if you leave them outside for a bit, so your chickens are willing to eat them up and get the nutrition. You can also try some grains, such as corn and wheat to help add in a bit more nutrition to the meals.
Fresh food can be great for your chickens to add in some more nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables can do really well for the chickens and you can add them into the diet each day and options like spinach, silverbeet, cabbage, and various fruit and vegetable peels can really add in the nutrition.
In some cases you can add in a bit of table food to your chicken’s diet. You can include legumes, bread, beans, cooked pasta, rolled oats, and wholemeal rice. You should always talk to your veterinarian to ensure that you aren’t giving something that is going to cause some harm to the body of your chicken.
For those chickens who are going to be laying quite a few eggs for you, try to add in a high calcium supplement. A good way to do this is to take an egg shell and ground it into a powder before adding it into the regular feed. Many pellets are layered with some calcium as well so that the chickens are able to stay healthy and you will keep getting all those delicious eggs that you are looking for.
And of course, your chickens are going to love eating at some of the pests that you have in your backyard. These are a special treat to the chickens so adding them in on occasion can be fun.