So, you have bought baby chickens and you are falling head over heels with the creatures. We hope you know that they must be cared for too, and if you overlook that, the chances are that you may either end up having unhealthy chickens or you may lose them after they can no longer cope with their malnourished state.
Just like humans, chickens also deserve to be taken care of. Although some owners of chickens may consider it a daunting task because of the somewhat complicated process, the fact remains that you can effectively take care of chickens if you want to.
How Do I Take Care of My Chickens?
Now that you understand the importance of taking care of your chickens, you may now be wondering about the steps you need to take. Ideally, taking care of chickens isn’t as hard as many tend to paint it. That is because they don’t demand a lot and they can be contented with what you have to offer.
To make things a lot easier and comprehensible for you, we have broken down the procedures into different segments. You will find the ways of taking care of your chickens on a daily, monthly, quarterly/semi-yearly, and yearly basis.
That said, we have outlined and discussed below, some of the steps you can take when taking care of your chickens.
How To Take Care of Your Chickens On A Daily Basis
You need to start from the first steps and work your way down to the next. Daily care of chickens is the first step and the procedures below will help you do that.
1. Collect/Remove the Eggs
You have chickens that lay eggs. You are not supposed to leave the eggs more than the duration they are supposed to be there.
If the eggs the chickens lay are not meant to be hatched, the rule of thumb is that you must remove them as possible.
You don’t want your chickens to become broody. You want them to be healthy and happy at all times, right? That is why you need to collect the eggs and store them safely if they wouldn’t be hatched.
Moreover, the earliest collection of eggs makes it easier to minimize the chances of having more cracked eggs than you bargained for.
2. Don’t Forget the Chicken Feeds
Even though you may leave your birds to move about to source for food, that shouldn’t stop you from performing the primary duty of the birds when due.
Either you choose to feed the chickens with a specific amount of feed or you pour the feed into the large hanging feeder for the chickens to eat as much as they want.
3. Check and Refill Water
Feed and water are two of the most important things you need to have handy when looking to care for your chickens.
Your aim is to ensure that your birds have enough water and that the water is clean. Because of the feeding pattern of chickens, they may leave some droplets of their feed while drinking. Therefore, you need to check the water occasionally, preferably every two to three hours.
Aside from that, you also need to look at the water container. If it is slimy or it has become slippery, it is an indication that germs are lurking under the container. Hence, you have to thoroughly wash the container with dish soap and water. You can also use oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach to sanitize the water container.
Weekly Care of Chickens
Every week, you have to carry out specific tasks to make sure that your birds are in good health. Here are some of the things you need to do on a weekly basis to care for your chickens.
4. Check the Bedding
Sometimes, your birds may be scavenging for food and in the process, they will knock over their feed or water. That, in turn, will soil their bedding.
Therefore, look in every week and see if the bedding is in order. If it isn’t, remove the previous ones and fill with a new bedding to keep the chickens warm.
5. Monitor Your Chickens
Make out time in a week to look at how your chickens are faring. They need more than feed and water to keep surviving.
Sometimes, some of the birds may get into danger and get hurt. Only a closer look will help you discover those bodily harms and other things you may have never thought would have happened to your chickens.
6. Tidy the Nesting Boxes
You have taken away the eggs to preserve them and keep them clean. You are lucky with that but you may not be so lucky the next time.
Why? It is because the nesting boxes may not be clean! Because those boxes are where your chickens lay their eggs, you want to make sure that they are clean at all times. That would in turn, keep giving you fresher eggs because the nesting is not soiled.
7. Thoroughly Clean the Water Dispenser
Indeed, you made out time to clean the water dispenser within the week. However, you also need to dedicate more time once a week to thoroughly clean the water dispenser.
Considering that the water dispenser is in continuous use within the week, the chances are high that it may have chicken poop or slime. In an instance that the dispenser has become slimy, the ideal thing to do is to change the entire water.
You will also use hot, soapy water to wash and remove germs from the water dispenser while two (2) teaspoons of bleach should be used with a gallon of water to sanitize the water dispenser.
Monthly Care for Chickens
We’ve looked at how you can take care of your chickens on a daily and weekly basis. It is now time to look at how you can care for your chickens at the end of every month.
8. Change the Bedding Completely
It is time to entirely remove the bedding used by your chickens. It is important because the birds may have littered the bedding you had put there before.
However, you need to understand that the periods or times you can remove the bedding depends on the type of litter method or system you are using.
On the one hand, if you are using the Deep Litter Method, it is advised that you will replace the bedding with about four inches of bedding. Then as the chicken droppings begin to increase, you will also increase the number of added bedding. Ideally, you are likely to remove and change all the bedding twice every year.
If you don’t envisage that, you may consider the other option of removing and replacing the bedding once a month. This method is ideal if your chickens don’t drop much litter. You can also consider it if you are rearing your chickens in a suburban area or city.
9. Invest In Larger Chicken Coops for Backyard Chickens
You need to invest in and get larger chicken coops if you are rearing backyard chickens. That is because the smaller coops that have been constantly used are smaller and need to be removed.
By getting larger chicken coops (such as garden shovels), you will be able to remove the droplets, as well as the bedding. We have a complete guide to raising backyard chickens if you are wanting something more specific.
How To Care for Your Chickens On A Semi-Yearly Basis
Before the end of the year, you need to take other steps to care for your chicken as a way of keeping the birds healthy.
Below are some of the semi-yearly best practices of caring for your chickens:
10. Prepare Your Birds for the Heat
Winter will definitely come around before the end of the year. You don’t want to be caught unawares and in extension, expose your chickens to harm.
When preparing your birds for winter, some of the things you can do are to:
- Avoid heating up your chicken coops
- Get heaters for your chickens’ water dispensers
- Get a good roosting place for your chickens
11. Consider Repairs
The end of the year signals the start of a new chicken rearing season. You want to be sure that you are not leaving anything to chance.
That is why it is important to look at the housing/roosting place for the chickens to see if there are parts that need to be repaired.
12. Give the Coops A Thorough Cleaning
A thorough cleaning of the coops helps to keep your birds cleaner. In addition, the procedure is effective in get out the entire residue that may have been lurking around.
Helpful Tips On Caring for Your Chickens
In as much as you have now understood and ready to implement the strategies to take care of your chickens, there are other important tips you need to be aware of.
Here they are:
- Decide on the purpose of rearing chickens: Is it for fun or to make money by selling them?
- Build a chicken coop or buy one if you can’t
- Consider the costs of rearing chickens and be sure you can handle that before starting
- Ensure that the chickens’ enclosures are not within the range of predators
- Always use the correct type of feeds for your chickens
Final Thoughts On How To Take Care of Chickens
Rearing and taking care of chickens can be a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, you are happy because of the economic importance. On the other hand, you are bothered about the efforts you need to put in to make sure the birds are in good health.
No matter how you have been feeling about taking care of your chickens, we hope you now have enough insights on the right steps you can take when caring for your chickens.
Do you have other ideas you have successfully used in caring for your chickens? Do share them via the comment section so other chicken owners can get inspiration to help them cater to their chickens.