To raise chickens at home is probably one of the best decision you have ever made. Not only is it enjoying; it is also rewarding and profitable. And now that you have finally set your foot onto the path of poultry farming, you might be asking what things you need to secure before you welcome the chooks home. You’re lucky because you are in the right place.
Here is a list of things to get to make your birds feel welcomed and comfortable.
1. A Reliable Housing
To ensure the safety of your brood, you’ll have to provide them with a chicken coop. However, if you can’t afford to buy a ready-made one at the moment, a simple box will suffice, as long as it keeps them protected against potential threats like predators and the weather.
Well, if a pre-made chicken coop is your choice, there are still things to keep in mind. Always pay attention to its parts because there are those designs that don’t abide the standards. For instance, if you’re raising hens, the nesting boxes shouldn’t be positioned under the perches, unless you want to harvest dirt-filled eggs every morning.
2. An Absorbent Bedding
Of course, all those droppings are part of poultry farming. So to make your experience smooth and easy, why not find ways to get rid of those dirt? How? Use the right bedding.
For most chicken owners, pine shavings are considered the best. Not only are they cheap; they also do well at soaking up all those droppings and excess water. Never use newspaper, especially if you have chicks. They might be at risk to a condition called ‘spraddle legs’.
3. A Wide Run
As an owner, it is your responsibility to keep your flock protected against predators. That said, you can’t always allow them to free-range. Hence, a wide run would be the best solution.
While it is ideal that the run must be completely enclosed to keep out predators like stray dogs and hawks, it has to be wide as well to allow the birds to exercise and flap their wings.
4. Heat Lamp
If you are planning to get some chicks, take note that their mothers won’t be there to give them warmth. Therefore, you need to secure a heat lamp.
This lamp has to be positioned above the chicks or anything that easily catches flame. Yes, you don’t want them to get cold, but you also don’t want them to get cooked.
5. Food Dish and Waterer
Find an appropriate food dish and waterer that will allow your flock to share the same amount of water and food. This could be a plastic poultry feeder or waterer, which you can purchase from the pet supply store, or something you can make out of the resources you have at home. Whatever you decide to use, just make sure it is clean to prevent diseases from spreading.
In the case of waterers, be mindful that they are among the most difficult things to keep in a chicken coop. While those hanging designs are ideal, they could not accommodate heavier liquids. It is best to use a simple saucer that is heavy. By opting something like that, you will have the assurance of stability. Even if your chooks stand on the edge to drink, they won’t tip.
How could your flock survive without food? On ordinary days, you won’t have much of a problem when it comes to feeding, because you can always let them free range. But in cold days, wintertime in particular, there’ll won’t be enough to forage from.
Don’t worry though. You can always buy chicken feed from the store. Just make sure you get something that is complete with all the essential nutrients needed by birds for growth.
7. Nesting Boxes
By the time your chickens become fully matured, they’ll begin laying eggs. Thus, you will have to prepare a place for them to lay.
It is always great to have a special place designed for such purpose. The reason for that is to actually prevent them from stepping onto the eggs. But that does not mean you have to spend your hard-earned cash for this. Again, be creative with what you have at home.
Bonus. To get your chicks to lay the best eggs, regardless of the season, download a copy of the eBook below. It should give you a better idea on what to feed and how to care for your birds to keep them laying the best quality eggs.
Apparently, there’s a lot to learn before you can actually raise your own flock. Though you can always make do with what you have at home to ensure you provide what’s best for them, sometimes, a ready-made chicken coop will make things easier. Remember though; nothing good comes easy.