Backyard chickens are popping up everywhere, providing their humans with fresh eggs, pest control, and hours of entertainment. Keeping poultry isn’t particularly time consuming, but it is important to understand your feathered buddies’ needs, so you can take proper care of them. A Greater Cincinnati vet offers some advice on this below.
One thing you’ll have to decide is whether to keep your birds in a certain space or let them free range. There are pros and cons to both. Keeping your birds contained may keep them safer, assuming you’ve got them in a predator-proof spot. It will also keep them out of your garden. However, chickens that free range tend to be happier and healthier. You won’t have to buy grit, as they’ll ingest sand and pebbles. On the downside? They may make a bit of a mess, and might start hiding their eggs. You’ll also be more likely to have runaway birds. If you can’t decide, opt for a mobile coop. This offers the best of both worlds: you can move your birds around while still keeping them secure.
Use The Right Food
While chickens will forage for some of their food, that usually won’t be sufficient in and of itself. Your birds’ diet will affect nearly every aspect of their overall health. Birds that are getting proper nutrition will be healthier and happier, and will also produce better eggs. Your winged pals’ diet should include various nutrients, such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, and protein. However, their needs will change over time. For instance, chicks’ diets should be about 18 to 20 percent protein. Birds over 6 weeks can have commercial feed that is about 16 to 18 percent protein, while those over 18 weeks should get about 16 percent protein. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Train Them Young
Training your birds to go into the coop at night will make life much easier for you, and much safer for them. This isn’t difficult. You basically want to keep them ‘cooped’ up for a few weeks. When you let them venture out, lure them back with treats at night. It’s also important to spend time with your birds. This will help them get used to being handled, and help you get to know them.
Do you have questions about your birds’ care? Contact us, your Greater Cincinnati animal clinic, today!