Reasons for Keeping Chicken
One does not need to have acres of land to be able to keep chickens at home. As a matter of fact, keeping chickens is one easy way of producing meat and eggs. One major reason you may decide to keep chickens at home is because they are able to produce something that is edible, which is not the case with other household pets like dogs, cats and hamsters. It pays off to raise chickens in the end.
One is able to get fresh eggs and poultry meat, which is unlike what is sold in supermarkets. Since many people are considering healthy living and organic foods, raising chicken saves up on the money that would otherwise have been used to buy organic poultry meat. Compared to keeping a dog or a cat, keeping chickens is very cheap. They do not require grooming, bathing or being taken for walks. Maintaining chickens is also cheap. And to top it all off, they provide compost that will in turn be used in the garden since it is rich in nitrogen.
Shelter for the Chickens
All that is required to keep chickens healthy and safe is a coop for the chicken to stay in. The coop should be built in such a manner as to shield the chicken from cold or hot weather and to protect them from predators like cats, raccoons, hawks, snakes and dogs.
It is important to buy the appropriate food for the chicken breed. For chicken laying eggs, there is layer feeds while starter feed is for those chicken that are young. The feeder that is bought needs to be one that stands or hangs off the ground in such a way that the chickens are not able to contaminate the food. Food must be changed on a daily basis to prevent it from being contaminated and causing the chickens to become unhealthy.
Food and Water
Chickens get dehydrated fast and it is therefore important to ensure that the waterer always has water every day and that it stands or hangs in the same way as the feeder. One needs to throw scratch as a treat for the chickens. Scratch is composed of grains such as rye, wheat and corn, which the chickens will readily peck on. Digestion can be aided using grit. Since chicken do not have teeth that they can chew food with, one should provide them with poultry grit placed in containers or alternatively added to what they feed on. These small rocks aid in breaking down food just before it gets into the stomach.
The Bed Covering
The bed should be as comfortable as possible for the chickens. One of the best bed covering is shavings from the pinewood, which are known to have a maximum absorbency for the chicken droppings. One can find other chicken bedding options but no matter the choice made, the bedding should be soft enough to harbor eggs.
The chickens should be allowed to get as dirty as they want. Dust baths are very important in the life of a chicken since they prevent mites and lice from nesting in the chicken feathers. Having a dirt patch that is dry is important for the chicken house, but if you do not have one, you need to make dusting powder and place it in a six-inch deep box.
Chickens are robust creatures. If they are taken care of properly they will grow up healthy and fruitful (in case of hens). You should therefore ensure that the house is kept clean, the chickens are given the freedom to roam and are provided with a consistent healthy diet. Be sure as well to look out for any signs of illness in your chickens. Follow these simple steps and your chickens will require very little medical attention.