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Gossip 07-11-2013 09:05 AM

Caring for Chickens?
 
Can someone please tell me how to care for chickens? My mom and I want chickens when we move to a farm, which is as soon as my dad gets a job. I want to know what basic care do they need and what is your every day routine. This is for keeping chickens in Florida, if that helps.

texasgal 07-11-2013 09:19 AM

you will probably get some good advice here, but if you go to backyardchickens.com ... you will learn everything you need to know about chickens..

they are fun

Speed Racer 07-11-2013 09:22 AM

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.

Gossip 07-11-2013 09:28 AM

Thanks for the help! How could I clean a chicken coop, and how often? That's my main concern.

texasgal 07-11-2013 09:32 AM

Depends on how the coop is designed. My coop is BIG with a raised wood floor, so I just get in there with a big shovel and scoop in right into the bucket of the tractor.

I don't, however, clean mine once a week. My chickens are only in there at night and periodically through the day to lay eggs. As long as the litter is dry and relatively odor free, mine goes longer than that.

Speed Racer 07-11-2013 09:39 AM

True, Texas. If they're only in to lay eggs and roost at night, the coop doesn't need to be cleaned nearly as often.

QtrBel 07-19-2013 07:41 PM

Ours are in two large dog pens with a roof and a dog carrier that was taken apart. Both halves are upside down so that it looks like a hut. We line those with straw for them to lay on. They are allowed to free range from 3 to roosting time. We have lost a few here and there but we know the foxes habits and don't let out earlier for that reason. If we do lose one we adjust out time. I'll also say someone is usually home by this point to let them out so the dogs are free. They don't mess with the chickens and deter most predators. The Aussie feels it's her flock. She gave up on herding them along time ago though so just keeps a watchful eye. As to cleaning they are stripped every three months and resanded. The cleanings go in my "hot" pile for composting.


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