Chicken Care and Maintenance (2023)

Some peoplethink that caring for pet chickens is complicated. However, even novice chicken keepers will find that caring for your flock can be easy. Your pet chickens will have the same basic needs as any other animal or pet. There are some tasks that will need to be handled on a daily basis to ensure their health, but there are also some tasks that should be performed on a monthly, yearly and seasonal basis to keep your hens and their coop happy and healthy.

Chicken Care and Maintenance (1)

Daily Chicken Care Requirements

One of the most important daily tasks in chicken care will be to ensure they have access to feed and fresh water. In addition to ensuring they have access to water throughout the day, you must also make sure their water is clean. Chickens as pets can be somewhat choosy and will not drink water that is dirty. When your chickens are not drinking enough water they can easily become dehydrated and this can lead to illness or death.

You must also check on your flock daily to ensure they are all active and appear to be healthy. Chickens can become ill quickly and it is always best to stay on top of such matters. If you notice that your chickens do not appear to be bright and healthy, it is important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

(Video) BACKYARD CHICKENS FOR BEGINNERS | How To Take Care Of Egg Laying Hens the EASY WAY | Urban Poultry

Of course, gathering your eggs from chicken nesting boxes is another task that will need to be handled daily. When collecting eggs; keep in mind the importance of refrigerating them promptly and storing them with the pointy side down. This will help to maximize freshness. When collecting eggs you may notice that some of your eggs have feces or dirt on them.

There is no need to scrub your eggs; in fact, this can actually remove a delicate membrane that is meant to protect the egg from bacteria. You can gently rub them under warm water to clean them. When refrigerated, eggs can be easily kept fresh for two to three weeks. You might also find it helpful to mark your eggs lightly with a pencil to remind you of the date they were collected.

Keep in mind that eggs should be collected from the chicken nesting boxes on a daily basis in order to prevent your hens from sitting on them. Collecting your eggs regularly will also help to prevent them from enticing predators.

As a quick note, you should be aware that the first eggs produced by young hens are typically not what you might expect. They will likely be small and the shells may also be weak. Some first eggs may not even have shells that are intact. This is not a sign of illness or that you are not providing a sufficient diet. This is quite normal and before long your hens will be producing fine eggs.

In the event you choose to open the door to your chicken coop to allow your chickens out during the day, make sure you take a few minutes at dusk to ensure your chickens have all returned and then close and secure the door. This will help to protect your chickens from possible predators.

(Video) Daily Chicken Care Documentary

What about times when you need to be away from home? Should you have someone check in on your pet chickens? You can certainly do this if it gives you greater peace of mind; however, provided that your hens have access to enough water, food and space, it is entirely possible to leave them for a few days. They will continue to lay eggs while you are gone; however, they should be fine for just a few days. Fresh eggs can actually be kepton the kitchen counter or in an Egg Skelter for a few days without spoiling ifthe temperaturedoesn't exceed 25 degrees celsius. If you wish to let your chickens free-range during the day whilst you're away, check out the automatic door opener!

Chicken Care and Maintenance (2)

Monthly Chicken Care Tasks

There are some chicken care tasks that you will need to tend to each month. Generally speaking, the bedding in the nesting boxes and chicken coop will need to be changed monthly for sanitary reasons. If the bedding is not changed fairly frequently it can cause ammonia to build up and this can be dangerous to your chickens, resulting in respiratory illness.

You will also need to take care of removing the faeces or droppings from your chicken coop or chicken house. Many people find it much easier to place pans or trays under the roosting poles to help in making cleanup easier. Our range of coops come already fitted with this easy use cleaning accessory! So you can simple lift out hose and place the tray back inside. You can easily use it as fertilizer in your garden!

(Video) DAILY CHICKEN CARE ROUTINE | Raising Backyard Poultry | Hobby Farm Homestead | Egg Laying Hens

Bi-Annual Chicken Care Tasks

Every six months you will need to clean your chicken shed thoroughly. This means you need to remove the bedding as well as all of the nesting materials and containers for the feed and water. Many experienced chicken keepers choose to use a solution of one part bleach, one part dish soap and ten parts water for cleaning. Remember to make sure you rinse all items well and allow them to dry before you replace them or fill with fresh bedding. If you are a bit hesitant about using harsh chemicals on your chickens home try our all natural, homemade chicken cooper cleaner!

Chicken Care and Maintenance (3)

SeasonalChicken Care Tasks

Regarding Chicken care, there are also a few seasonal matters that need to be taken into consideration. If you live in an area that experiences cold months, it will be even more important to make sure you have selected the right breed, as discussed in a preceding chapter. It should also be noted that chickens will generally adapt to cold weather over a period of time as their metabolism will change with the change of the seasons. This is why it is not necessary or even a good idea to heat your chicken shed or chicken house. If you do so, this will make it impossible for your chickens to adjust to the colder temperatures.

(Video) HOW TO RAISE CHICKS | EASY Baby Chicken Care 101 | Egg Laying Hens For Beginners | Backyard Flock

With this said, there are some precautions that will need to be taken during the colder months. Every few days, it is a good idea to rub petroleum jelly on their wattles and combs to protect them from frostbite.

You will also need to ensure the water supply does not freeze. This is extremely important. Remember that your chickens will not be able to survive long without access to fresh water. One option is to provide electricity to your chicken coop and use a water heater. Another option would be to bring the waterer indoors every night and then return it to the chicken shed the next morning. You should also check the water once or twice throughout the day to ensure it has not frozen.

During the cooler months, you will need to take care to ensure your chickens are provided with protection from cold drafts. Chickens do surprisingly do well in the cold; however, they absolutely cannot tolerate drafts. Drafts can quickly result in the death of even the hardiest of chickens. This is why it is imperative that you protect their living space from possible drafts. One way to do this is to enclose their chicken coop or yard with plastic sheeting.

Just as drafts in the cooler months can be a health risk to your chickens, so can excessive heat during the warmer months. You will need to ensure your chickens have access to water that is fresh and clean at all times. This cannot be stressed strongly enough. You will also need to provide your chickens with shade and ventilation. Keep in mind that it is fairly common for egg production to drop during times of extreme heat. This is certainly an indication that your hens are experiencing some stress, but generally egg production will increase once the heat wave has receded.

To learn more about keeping happy and healthy backyard chickens have a peck at our ultimate guide right here!

(Video) Daily Chicken Chores\Chicken Care You NEED to Know\What is it REALLY like to own backyard chickens??

Sources and further reading

FAQs

What is the maintenance of a chicken? ›

Chickens need a constant supply of fresh water, they drink between 500 ml to 1 L of water per day. So make sure they always have fresh water available to them. Or they will become dehydrated. Your hens will need to be wormed regularly with worming products that can be purchased from a vet or pet produce shop.

What tasks were important for chicken care? ›

These are the tasks every poultry farmer should do daily.
  • Check the water source and refill as needed. ...
  • Feed them regularly. ...
  • Collect and clean their eggs. ...
  • Check their overall health. ...
  • Clean up the chicken coop. ...
  • Change the bedding. ...
  • Sanitize the waterers. ...
  • Make the nesting boxes more comfortable.
6 Apr 2017

Do chickens need a lot of maintenance? ›

Although low-maintenance, chickens do require a small amount of daily care as well as some monthly and semi-annual maintenance. Plan on spending 10 minutes a day on your pet chickens, an hour or so per month, plus a few hours twice a year on semi-annual chores.

Is it easy to take care of chickens? ›

Caring for chickens isn't hard, but it is a commitment. Ask yourself these questions to see whether you're ready. I know you'll find, like me, that having a flock - no matter how small - is a great experience. Chickens are fun, they're great stress relievers and they produce the most fantastic, healthy eggs.

What does a chicken need? ›

Necessities. In addition to a safe coop and space to roam, chickens need feed, water, and a source of calcium. We use Scratch and Peck feed for our chicks, pullets, and hens. Chickens have different nutrient needs depending on their age, so make sure you purchase the appropriate feed.

How do I keep my chickens clean? ›

But believe it or not, getting themselves completely dirty is the best way for chickens to get clean! Dust baths also help chickens stay cool and keep parasites away. Chickens that are allowed to free-range will naturally find a cool, dirty spot to take a dust bath.

How do you take care of chickens in the summer? ›

Check out these heat-busting tips to get you started.
  1. Provide plenty of fresh water. Having water available at all times is always important, but never more so than when the weather gets hot. ...
  2. Allow access to shade. ...
  3. Ventilate the coop. ...
  4. Choose the right snacks. ...
  5. Play in the sprinkler. ...
  6. Give them a bath.

How do you take care of a chicken egg? ›

A really dirty egg can be submerged and scrubbed with a vegetable brush. Always use warm water (warmer than the egg); cold water will make the egg shrink inside the shell and will draw in bacteria. If you wash the eggs, be gentle and quick. Let eggs air-dry thoroughly before putting them away.

What kind of food do chickens eat? ›

Chickens are omnivores and enjoy a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and even table scraps. Chickens are omnivores and enjoy a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and even table scraps.

What foods can chickens have? ›

Examples of raw fruits and vegetables that can be fed include: vegetable peels, bananas, apple, berries, carrot, bok choy, silver beet, spinach, cabbage or broccoli. As a treat your hens can also have some cooked food such as rice, pasta, beans, or bread in small amounts [1].

Are chickens good pets? ›

Chickens can make for fairly low-maintenance and quiet pets. Plus, they'll typically provide you with an abundance of eggs, and you'll have the benefit of knowing the eggs are coming from a well-treated animal. However, chickens do need a specialized housing setup and some space to roam.

How do you take care of poultry animals? ›

Tips to raising healthy poultry
  1. Maintain the coop. This may seem like a no brainer, but you'll want to keep the water source clean, fresh, and change the water daily. ...
  2. Protect the flock against disease. ...
  3. Invest in quality feed. ...
  4. The golden ratio. ...
  5. Not taking inventory of your flock.
13 Mar 2020

How do you get ready for chickens? ›

7 Ways To Prepare For Chickens Before Bringing Them Home
  1. Do Your Research. You hear this all the time, but it's so important. ...
  2. Build Shelter. ...
  3. Stock Up On Feed. ...
  4. Have A Fresh Water Source. ...
  5. Provide Warmth. ...
  6. Go Easy On The Love. ...
  7. Remember: Chicks Are Animals, Not Toys.
7 Sept 2016

How often do you feed chickens? ›

How Often to Feed Chickens. Ideally, you should split your chicken's feed into two servings daily. If you're home during the day, you can even make this 3-4 small feedings. Chickens enjoy small, frequent meals as opposed to large meals once a day.

How do you keep chickens healthy naturally? ›

The keys to keeping chickens healthy are to provide them a clean place to live, quality nutritious food, clean water and isolation from pathogens.
  1. Maintain a Healthy Flock.
  2. Give them space. Backyard flock owners typically have tiny coops. ...
  3. Keep them dry. ...
  4. Feed them well. ...
  5. Protect them. ...
  6. Keeping Diseases Away.
28 May 2019

Why is poultry farming important? ›

Poultry farming is providing employment for 65,000 and the rate of employment will increase in subsequent years. Clean poultry farm will reduce foul smelling to neighbours and disease spread. Poultry manure is good for agricultural product.

Why do we need proper management practices and modern health products in poultry facilities? ›

Diseases and infections have always been a major concern to the poultry industry. Fortunately, microbial contamination can be prevented and controlled using proper management practices and modern health products.

How do you keep chicken food and water clean? ›

CHICKEN WATER PROBLEM SOLVED! Saves time, mess and ...

How do you give chickens water? ›

Like all animals, chickens require clean drinking water. While this seems easy enough—fill up a container, place it in the coop, provide them with 24-hour access—you need to consider environmental factors and the best mode of delivery. Is a galvanized waterer the best, or will a heavy-duty plastic one work fine?

How much water does a chicken need? ›

Under normal conditions, the average chicken drinks between one and two cups of water each day. A laying hen drinks twice as much water as a non-layer. Some disease conditions cause chickens to drink more, as do rations that are high in protein or salt.

How do I keep chickens from getting diseases? ›

13 ways to prevent poultry disease
  1. Keep it clean. Clean, scrub, and disinfect your poultry house on a regular basis. ...
  2. Change the litter. ...
  3. Be careful adding birds. ...
  4. Monitor visitors. ...
  5. Keep wild birds wild. ...
  6. Use quality feed. ...
  7. Learn about vaccinations. ...
  8. Keep a cozy coop.
19 Mar 2013

How do you control chicken poop? ›

4 Ways To Battle Chicken Poop And Reclaim Your Yard
  1. Rake It & Pick It Up. If conditions aren't too damp, pick up as much chicken poop as you can from the yard by raking it or picking it up with gloved hands. ...
  2. Dilute It. Rachel Hurd Anger. ...
  3. Scoop It & Scrape It. ...
  4. Compost What You Can.
9 Mar 2016

How do chickens survive the heat? ›

Shade, water, and ventilation are the three most basic needs to keep chickens comfortable during the summer. Additional cooling such as ice blocks and misters can offer further cooling benefits and help birds survive during times of extreme heat.

Can chickens live in hot weather? ›

Although chickens are very adaptable to weather changes, they usually perform at their best around 75° Fahrenheitand below. Consistently high summer temperatures can cause your chickens to suffer from heat stress and overheating, or even halt their egg-laying process.

What do you feed chickens when it's hot? ›

Chickens love cooling treats like watermelon, ice blocks with frozen herbs, chilled chopped vegetables, and even frozen fruit popsicles. Mint is also a cooling plant and one that grows easily in most locations. The chickens can safely eat mint and mint also repels rodents and flies.

What are the 3 types of chicken? ›

Chickens. Many different breeds of chickens have been developed for different purposes. For simplicity, you can place them into three general categories: Laying, meat-producing and dual-purpose breeds.

How old do chickens live? ›

How many chickens do I need? ›

How Many Chickens Should I Keep? Chickens are sociable creatures, so plan to keep three to six birds. With this amount, you'll always have a steady supply of eggs, since an adult hen lays about two eggs every three days, on average.

What do you feed chickens daily? ›

Chickens love fruit and vegetables, and you can give them this daily. Our girls love vegetable peels, bananas, apple cores, carrots, and broccoli. You are safe to feed chickens pretty much any vegetable or fruit except any raw green peels (such as green potato peel) and any citric fruits such as oranges and lemons.

Do chickens need water at night? ›

Chickens do not generally need food and water at night. During the night, chickens will sleep on their roost until morning, and are unlikely to get up to eat and drink. In fact, their poor night-time vision makes it increasingly unlikely for a chicken to leave the safety of the roost to do so.

Can chickens eat banana? ›

Can chickens eat bananas? Absolutely! Bananas are an eggcellent source of nutrition for your girls! Extremely high in vitamins A, C and B6, they also contain magnesium, iron, niacin, as well as other essential trace elements.

What poison kills chickens? ›

Bromethalin: This is a very potent neurotoxin that kills within twenty-four hours. This type of poison has no antidote, so you should not use it around livestock, pets, or small children.

Can chickens eat rice? ›

Chickens can also have other foods from the kitchen such as cooked white and brown rice, plain pasta, bread, oatmeal, and quinoa. Chickens love to eat seeds and dried morsels.

What vegetables can chickens not eat? ›

Tomatoes, peppers and potatoes are members of the nightshade family, so their leaves are toxic to many animals. Raw, green potatoes can carry this toxin in their skins, so while the flesh is safe, chickens shouldn't be fed peelings.

How smart is a chicken? ›

They're super smart

A recent study has shown that chickens are intelligent and emotional animals, and are able to “demonstrate thinking skills on par with mammals and primates“. If you hide an object from a chicken, they will still know it's there — this is something even young human kids aren't able to do.

Do chickens bite? ›

Backyard poultry and waterfowl do not have teeth, but their bills and beaks can still cause a lot of damage if they bite you. Germs can spread from poultry bites, pecks, and scratches, even when the wound does not seem deep or serious. Avoid bites and scratches from your backyard poultry or waterfowl.

Do chickens learn their names? ›

So, do chickens know their names? Yes, if they are handled and told their name over and over from a young age, they have the ability to learn their name. They won't always come when called like a dog, but they will turn around and acknowledge when called by name.

What do chickens do all day? ›

Being very social creatures, hens tend to stay in groups even as they roam. Mostly hens love to forage. This means keeping moving, looking under trees for bugs and grubs. They do interrupt their search from time to time, taking time out to dustbathe or to get into the sandpits and have a bit of fun.

What are those things that are most important in feeds for feeding chickens? ›

ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
  • WATER: Birds can live longer without food than without water. ...
  • PROTEIN: This is usually the most expensive feed material, but the one most likely to bring profitable results if properly used. ...
  • CARBOHYDRATES: These are the starchy materials in grains and grain products.

How much food does a chicken need? ›

A Starting Point for How Much to Feed Chickens Each Day

However, there is a simple figure to provide you with a solid starting point: 1/4 of a pound per fully grown chicken per day. This means each chicken will eat approximately 1.5 pounds of feed in a week.

How long can chickens go without food? ›

Still, like any captive animal, they need regular feeding to both survive and thrive. In general, a chicken can go for no more than 4–5 days without their regular food, as they'll be quite malnourished after this point.

Can chickens drink rain water? ›

They claim that rainwater is not only easy to collect, but it's also good for your chickens! Rainwater is perfectly safe for your chickens to consume, but ONLY if it has been collected and maintained correctly. It is safer than tap water, as some tap water still contains trace contaminants even after it is filtered.

How much does it cost to maintain a chicken? ›

Feed and Other Materials Needed

Plan on a minimum budget of about $15 per month per chicken for feed. Free-range chickens may need slightly less, and organic and or medicated feed will cost more.

What do chickens do all day? ›

Being very social creatures, hens tend to stay in groups even as they roam. Mostly hens love to forage. This means keeping moving, looking under trees for bugs and grubs. They do interrupt their search from time to time, taking time out to dustbathe or to get into the sandpits and have a bit of fun.

How do I keep my chickens clean? ›

But believe it or not, getting themselves completely dirty is the best way for chickens to get clean! Dust baths also help chickens stay cool and keep parasites away. Chickens that are allowed to free-range will naturally find a cool, dirty spot to take a dust bath.

What are common health problems for chickens? ›

These diseases may include infectious bronchitis, Marek's disease, avian flu, fowl pox, and Newcastle disease.

What do you feed chickens? ›

Good choices include leafy greens, cooked beans, corn, non-sugary cereals and grains, berries, apples and most other fruits and vegetables. Despite often voracious appetites and a willingness to eat just about anything you might give them, there are some foods to be avoided.

What kind of food do chickens eat? ›

In addition to a good quality poultry feed, a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables can also be given daily. Examples of raw fruits and vegetables that can be fed include: vegetable peels, bananas, apple, berries, carrot, bok choy, silver beet, spinach, cabbage or broccoli.

How much does a chicken eat? ›

A Starting Point for How Much to Feed Chickens Each Day

However, there is a simple figure to provide you with a solid starting point: 1/4 of a pound per fully grown chicken per day. This means each chicken will eat approximately 1.5 pounds of feed in a week.

How do you take care of a chicken for beginners? ›

How To Take Care Of Egg Laying Hens the EASY WAY | Urban Poultry

What Are chickens afraid of? ›

What is this? Chickens are afraid of large predators like owls and hawks. By placing realistic decoys near your garden, you can scare the chickens away. You do want to keep your chickens on their toes, so to speak.

What is the best method of raising chicken? ›

Tips to raising healthy poultry
  • Maintain the coop. This may seem like a no brainer, but you'll want to keep the water source clean, fresh, and change the water daily. ...
  • Protect the flock against disease. ...
  • Invest in quality feed. ...
  • The golden ratio. ...
  • Not taking inventory of your flock.
13 Mar 2020

How do I keep my chickens happy and healthy? ›

Five ways to keep hens happy
  1. If you've ever spent any time with chickens, you'll know that they are social, curious creatures. And like all animals, they're at their happiest when they can express their natural behaviours. ...
  2. Let them mingle. ...
  3. Encourage play. ...
  4. Give them plenty of space. ...
  5. Provide shelter. ...
  6. Go cage-free.
13 Sept 2017

How do I keep chickens from getting diseases? ›

13 ways to prevent poultry disease
  1. Keep it clean. Clean, scrub, and disinfect your poultry house on a regular basis. ...
  2. Change the litter. ...
  3. Be careful adding birds. ...
  4. Monitor visitors. ...
  5. Keep wild birds wild. ...
  6. Use quality feed. ...
  7. Learn about vaccinations. ...
  8. Keep a cozy coop.
19 Mar 2013

How do you treat chicken disease? ›

How To Treat Common Chicken Illnesses
  1. Feed Chickens A Healthy Diet.
  2. Add Supplements to Their Feed.
  3. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to their Water.
  4. Fresh Herbs and Snacks.
  5. Make Sure Their Forage Area and Coop is Safe.
10 Jun 2021

Which medicine is best for chicken diseases? ›

Monensin, Lasalocid and Salinomycin are the Ionophores which are used commercially and monensin is choice of product for broiler chickens mainly because of its broad spectrum activity against majority of pathogenic species of coccidian and lack of development of drug resistance.

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