Do chickens require more than the basic chicken maintenance of food, water, and shelter to be a happy flock?
If you’ve had chickens for very long, you no doubt have recognized their one track mind. They live to eat! For the most part, chickens do not require a lot of attention.
Tips for Keeping a Healthy Flock
Of coarse chickens need water, but there’s a little something special I like to add. To keep my birds healthy I add a splash (maybe a tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar with the “Mother” in it. The “Mother” is good bacteria that hasn’t been strained. What’s so special about the “Mother?” It will boost their immune system, keeping them healthy and happy. Each time the water is replenished add apple cider vinegar.
It’s a good idea to sanitize the water container at least once a week as well. Using a brush and dish soap give it a quick once over in about 3 minutes. You can also add oregano to the chicken water to fight parasites. Oregano is anti-parasitic.
To keep those eggs coming make sure to feed them at least 16% protein. The feed bag will usually advertise the protein percent on the front of the bag. We buy a feed that has diatomaceous earth. This is a product made from sediment of fossilized algae, which will take care of deworming your flock. If you can’t find a feed that already has this ingredient, you can add it later.
To cut food cost, you can soak their feed. Soak their feed in a 5 gallon bucket, half full of feed, and cover with water several inches above the feed. It not only stretches the feed, but also makes it easier to digest. Give it a stir with a long stick to incorporate the feed on the bottom into the water to avoid mold. Keep the lid on the feed. When you open the bucket it may have a fermented smell…this is a good thing. Once I checked on our feed and it was bubbling, a sign of fermenting feed.
Unless your chicken area is covered, you’ll want to clip one wing on each bird. Clipping wings is similar to clipping your toenails, it doesn’t hurt them and ensures they can’t fly the coop! Stretch out their wing and you’ll see a pattern change from short feathers to really long. The long are what give them the airborne ability.
Using scissors, clip a little below the pattern change across the long feathers. Clipping just one side should prevent flying. You’ll need to clip about every two months.
Cleaning the Coop
You’ve no doubt heard, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Keeping a clean coop is no joke! If there’s a bad part to having chickens…this is it! Chicken poop can literally be dangerous to your health in a confined space with the ammonia aroma. Make sure to gear up with a face mask before tackling this job.
You can use it later on plants as fertilizer. Since chicken manure is considered a “hot” manure it will burn plants if used right away. Toss the manure in a compost pile and use on future gardening or flower beds in 6 months. No sense letting the poop go to waste! 🙂
Summertime introduces the big bad bugs. If you want to keep your coop fly free (as much as possible anyway) try hanging herbs in the coop. A few that’ll do the trick are basil, lavender, and mint.
I hope some of these chicken maintenance tips help ya out. For more chicken content check out Predator Proof Your Chickens!
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Talk to you soon,