Chicken Care 101: Everything You Need for Happy Chickens
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on November 20, 2022
Ready for the many benefits of owning your own chickens, but daunted by how to get started? There are many factors involved in keeping poultry, but don’t let that discourage you! In this article, we cover what you need to know before you obtain laying hens. We go over what to know ahead of time, how to grow your flock, gardening with chickens, and how to keep your chickens happy and healthy.
Supplies You May Need Prior
Before you begin raising chickens, prepare their living space and buy all necessary materials. Check your town’s rules and regulations to make sure you can have chickens on your property. Chickens need a safe and secure space, as they are easy prey for predators. Raising chickens requires shelter to protect them from the elements, and allows them to create nests. This is especially important if you are interested in breeding chickens and collecting their eggs. Here are some tips to keep in mind before buying building materials:
- For every chicken, provide 2-3 square feet of space. This gives your flock plenty of room.
- Allow for proper ventilation, as stuffy conditions can lead to mold and illnesses.
- You need to provide space for nesting boxes, as hens need these to lay eggs.
- Chickens also prefer to have an outdoor pen, so they can roam freely but safely.
If you are uncertain as to whether you need to build or purchase a coop or pen, compare and contrast both models here.
You can either build their living space, or buy a chicken coop that is already built. You will also need to purchase food for your chickens. They need layer feed if they are laying hens, as this promotes healthy egg development. Add grit to their feed to help with digestion. Chickens also need access to plenty of water. If you are interested in learning more about the behavior of chickens, check out article What to Know Before Buying and Raising Backyard Chickens for more facts and things to know on backyard chickens.
How to Grow your Flock
You can start out with a bunch of baby chicks and grow your flock from there, or you can try this method from 104 Homestead. Try adding what is called a “started pullet” to your flock! Started pullets are teenage female chickens. Chickens begin laying at six months old, and pullets are already 15-22 weeks old. This helps you get eggs much more quickly than waiting around for baby chicks to grow up. Another positive aspect of this method is the fact that you don’t have to deal with constant chick care. Pullets are much more low maintenance and ready to join your flock.
How to Keep your Chickens Happy and Healthy: Chicken Care 101
If you would like more tips and tricks about how to raise chickens, click here to download our Beginner’s Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens! From garden treats to weatherproofing a chicken coop, we’ve got great ideas to share with you.