In general, raising chickens may look easy. Even if you don’t have enough experience taking good care of these animals, I am sure it’ll be easy for you to learn basic chicken care. However, that does not exempt you from committing mistakes.
Just like me and other poultry farmers, we’ve done a lot of mistakes. From there, we became better at this craft. Hopefully, from our experiences, you too can avoid committing any of these:
1. Building a hen’s house directly on the ground.
Long ago, I ordered my first timber chicken coop online and assembled it directly on the ground. That way, I thought my flock could easily find some hidden treats in the ground and that I don’t need to clean their droppings very often.
However, predators eventually tried to dig under the side of the coop. I tried looking for ways to keep them out, but I ran out of ideas and they successfully find a way in. As a result, my flock suffered.
With some research, I figured out that a simple elevated floor would help spare the life of my birds. Now, I always make it a point to raise my coop to at least 4 inches off the ground.
2. Poor access to nesting boxes.
Referring again to my first roosting box, it was tall and spacious. I can even walk inside it. Because it was so wide, I decided to build a row nesting boxes in one corner, so that my girls will have enough space to lay their eggs.
At first, that setup worked fine for me. But later on, kids discovered their way in and decided to collect the eggs with their boots on, causing the nesting boxes to be all covered with chicken poop. Because the boxes were all dirty, my hens would wait for a laying box to be cleaned.
It took me years to figure out why they did not lay good-quality eggs. If only I knew about the tips about how to help hens lay great eggs all year-round, which can be downloaded below, and that nesting boxes should have access from the outside, collecting eggs would not have been a problem.
3. Inappropriate water bottles.
I thought a plastic bucket would work as a water bottle. Thankfully, a friend of mine caught my attention and told me my flock would have a hard time reaching for it, especially if it’s half-full. Also, there are chances that it’ll be easily filled with chicken poop because it is open.
Glad that I knew about this earlier. I even knew the importance of water for chickens. Without it, they will suffer from dehydration. Now, I use a waterer because it effectively provides a clean and stable water supply for my chickens.
4. Incorrect ratio of rooster to hen.
When I was starting, I only had 4 hens. After several months, I decided to add a rooster to the flock.
It was late when I realized that the rooster was very active when it comes to mating. I did not know how to handle him. I do not want to let him go, but his presence was affecting my girls. Soon, they had featherless patches on their body. They even became very stressed and egg production was affected. It seemed like they want to run away from the rooster.
After several research works, I found out that the ideal ratio of rooster to hen is 1:12, which means ours don’t coincide. That explained why my rooster became so aggressive. Since I could not afford to triple the number of my hens, I made a heart-breaking decision to give him away.
5. Taking note of the number of birds.
One day, when I went out to set free my birds from the chicken coop, I saw they were already outside. I immediately panicked. I asked myself, ‘What happened?”
I ran to the coop to see if the latches were broken, but they’re all good. And then, I also checked if there were any holes, but there weren’t any. When I couldn’t find anything wrong with the chicken enclosure, I went to my flock and count them.
While I was out of my mind counting off the chicks, the hens, and the roosters, my brother came out of the house and said he freed the chickens. Instantly, I felt relieved. From then on, I make it a practice to count my birds every night before closing the coop.
Honestly, these mistakes were painful to learn. So I am hoping that this writing will teach you a lesson. Poultry farming is definitely very rewarding, but to be able to rake in more perks, learn the basics and pay attention to these mistakes.