07-11-2013, 09:22 AM
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Chickens are a lot like cats, in that they don't need too much fussing over.
A good, predator safe coop, and a nice big run where they're protected from aerial as well as ground predators are a must. You can free range them, but expect to lose some to predators if you do that. In fact, a fox can wipe out your whole flock in a day.
Make sure you have plenty of roosts and nest boxes for them, give them clean, fresh water daily, and the right food for their particular stage in life. Grit too for their gizzards, if they're not going to be able to get outside and scratch around.
The nest boxes and coop should be cleaned out at least once a week, and fresh straw/hay laid in the nest boxes and new bedding laid on the coop floor.
Some people give crumbled oyster shells to their chickens to help strengthen their egg shells, but I just give mine back their own shells, ground up. I also give mine fruits and vegetables, and they can eat any leftovers you have as long as they're not spoiled.