So you bought baby chicks?? This easy guide will take you through exactly how easy it is to Take Care of Chickens!
Welcome back to week 3 of our Backyard Chickens Series! Be sure and check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series where we talk about Getting Started with Backyard Chickens and Moving them Outside (to the right coop). Today we will be talking all about How to Take Care of Chickens.
How to Take Care of Chickens
Learning how to take care of chickens is pretty easy in the scope of pets in general. They are far less needy than dogs and cats, just sayin! Don’t get me wrong, I would never trade my goldendoodle, but the chickens are easier! Let’s walk through some basic maintenance items.
Daily Care of Chickens
1 . The daily responsibilities of taking care of your chickens is probably the easiest. You need to make sure and shut their coop door at night (to keep them out of the elements and safe from predators) and let them out first thing in the morning.
2 . Each morning when you let the chickens out, just check on their food and water levels. I rarely have to get new water or food on a daily basis, but sometimes in the heat of the summer they will go through water quickly. If they need food and/or water, obviously you would want to take care of that immediately.
3 . Collect the Eggs. This is an important one. If you do not take the eggs out of their coop, the chickens can become broody. You don’t want this, I promise. A broody chicken is when she thinks she’s supposed to hatch the egg and will sit on it indefinitely (because these aren’t fertilized eggs). Because of her refusal to leave her eggs she can become dehydrated and hungry very quickly! If for some reason your chicken becomes broody, you will need to take care of that immediately!
This egg dispenser is a super cute way to store your eggs to make sure you are using your oldest ones first!
Weekly Care of Chickens
2 . I try to spend some time with the ladies every so often. I’m not one to go out and talk to my chickens on a daily basis. Our yard isn’t huge so they have a side section that they stay in to keep them separated from our dog. But every once in a while I just go pick up their side of the yard and talk to them (like a crazy chicken lady!).
3 . Check their bedding. I don’t usually clean the bedding out weekly, but sometimes they will kick it out of their coop so I just glance in to make sure they have enough bedding in there.
4 . Make sure the nesting boxes are clean. This is where they lay their eggs, so making sure it’s a nice place for them to do so is important!
Monthly Care of Chickens
Most chicken coops used for backyard chickens are on the smaller side and will need to be cleaned out. I use a garden shovel to clean out all their bedding and you guessed it, chicken poop, and completely replenish their bedding. It helps them to stay clean and comfortable.
Seasonal Care of Chickens
Every year just before winter hits, I give the coop a thorough cleaning, pressure wash the coop and get all the residue out of there to give them a fresh start. It’s a lot harder to keep the coop as clean in the winter, cause nobody wants to be out there cleaning in freezing temperatures and snow!
Before winter you will also want to take the opportunity to make sure their coop is ready. If there are any gaps where cold air/snow/moisture can enter the coop you will need to make repairs. If you live in a climate where temperatures get below freezing you will most likely want to purchase a heated water bowl to make sure your chickens have access to water even when it’s freezing outside. Have a place to keep their food out of the elements as well.
Every year just after the snow and when the temperatures start to rise I do the same thing, give their coop a very thorough cleaning! You won’t need to worry as much about repairs at this time, but it’s always best to stay ahead of those things when you can! ; )
Clipping Chickens Wings
This doesn’t really fit into any of the categories above since it’s just a one-time event per chicken, but it can be important so I wanted to share. Chickens don’t technically fly, but they can certainly get some air and end up on the other side of your fence. I won’t be giving a tutorial for this because I honestly get a little squeamish, and I don’t feel I know enough to teach you how to cut chickens wings. BUT you do need to clip your chickens flight feathers to keep them from getting over fences. This is a very easy process and you can find tutorials all over YouTube. Or if you aren’t comfortable, I’m sure a vet could do it for you as well.
If you haven’t read the whole series, you can catch up on my two previous posts so you are fully equipped to take care of chickens: