Rules Everyone Should Know When Owning Backyard Chickens
Keeping your chickens happy and healthy is our goal here at Lens Feed Shed. So we have created a list of rules to help our chicken customers accomplished exactly that.
1. Chickens generally don't like eating the fine components in their feed but the fine components are the most important. It contains all the vitamins and minerals crucial for their health and well-being. We suggest letting them eat the feed till it completely runs out at least once a week so they are consuming what they need.
2. Change their bedding weekly. Whether you use wood shavings or Hay, old bedding full of droppings can go mouldy and attract unwanted pests. It can also cause your chickens to get very sick. We suggest taking all bedding out weekly, (popping it on the gardens is a great way to mulch!) hosing out all the muck and letting it dry before putting new bedding in. Bedding can be found here.
3. We know you all like to spoil your chickens with scraps but we need to make sure we aren't over doing it. By feeding scraps constantly, all that is happening is your diluting their diet. This could mean future deficiencies in protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy for laying. We suggest making scrap feeding a once a week thing as a treat. There are also other alternatives like Meal Worms that are high in protein but a great treat for them to munch down on. They can be found here.
4. Chickens are a pack animal, so flocks of two or more are generally needed as they do have a tendency to get lonely.
5. They enjoy perching up high at night so having somewhere up off the ground for them to sleep is a great idea. Avoid letting them sleep in their nesting boxes as they do a 3rd of their droppings at night while asleep.
6. Hens do stop laying for multiple reasons! - to cold, to hot, to old, sick, mites, lice, worms, not enough food, not enough water, no space, moulting, broodiness and stress all can effect them.
7. Feeding your chickens the correct food is also vital. If you want your Hens to Lay then they need to be on a complete Laying Mash or Layer Pellets. Mash comes in 2 forms, Course or Fine, and contained high amounts of protein and calcium they need to produce eggs. For optimal results, Layer Pellets are recommended as they don't allow the hens to be picky with what they eat. The only time laying chickens should be on a Mixed Grain feed is when they are old and not laying anymore. Our recommend coarse and fine mashes and layer pellets are the Advanced Rural Coarse Mash, Home Hill 17% Fine Layer Mash and Barastoc Golden Yolk Layer Pellets.
8. Mites and Lice can become a huge problem if not treated quickly enough. To treat them we recommend cleaning the cage out thoroughly and binning any bedding matter that may have been affected. Once everything is clean and new bedding has been put into their coop, it is a good idea to treat all Hens and the new bedding with a mite and lice treatment. Recommended treatments are the Pestene Powder or Diatomaceous Earth.
9. Fully grown hens are known to attack and even kill younger flock members that aren't fully grown yet. We do not recommend using Day Old's for Broody Hens for this reason. We do recommend waiting till the new hens are fully grown and then introducing them into the old flock in groups of 2 or more to avoid bullying.
10. With chickens comes predators and scavengers, so be prepared to have rats, snakes, wild animals such as dogs, dingoes, feral cats, mice and critters a like coming into your yard. Be sure your coop is fully predator proof to avoid loss of flock and prevent stress. Keep chook food in concealed bins or drums to avoid temptation of scavengers and keep up to date with pest control around the home.