Chickens are known as one of the most common farmyard animals and are often used for their meat and eggs. With the rise of vegetarianism and an increased knowledge around sustainability, however, people are coming round to the idea of keeping chickens as pets. Of course, owners of chickens will need to have plenty of outdoor land to let the chickens roam and should know that they are committing to a very lively animal. Investing time and energy into chickens, however, can pay off for those who are so inclined, as they are surprisingly friendly creatures that may even provide you with a few eggs every so often! The following basics are some need-to-knows for those considering keeping chickens.
Purchasing food for your chickens may actually be one of the easiest aspects of looking after them once you know what to purchase. Specially formulated chicken feed should make up the majority of the diet, with the animals’ age, breed and needs accounted for. Indeed, there is a wide range of chicken feeds available, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines before going ahead. Leafy greens can also make a nice treat to keep your chickens healthy, particularly weeds, cabbages, cauliflower offcuts, and grass cuttings.
Keeping your chickens safe and secure is perhaps the biggest and most important responsibility for chicken owners, as they are very vulnerable to predators. Chicken wire can be one of the best materials to keep your chickens safe and should be high enough to keep other animals out (around six tall should be adequate). Provide a base of sand or wood chips to ensure your animals are comfortable. A chicken coop or house can be another good option for owners, with a huge variety of styles on the market.
Chickens should have regular health checks and be vaccinated from common diseases associated with poultry. Redmites are another big problem for chicken owners, as hoards of these critters can cause health issues such as anaemia. Infestations can be dealt with using a specially formulated wash.
The above is just a short introduction to the kind of things to expect from keeping chickens. There are a number of governmental regulations associated with keeping chickens, so make sure you do your research and ask for some advice before going ahead and filling your land with these wonderful creatures.