How to Care for and Keep Chickens

Taking care of chickens or any animal requires time, patience and commitment! While raising chickens in your backyard can be a super rewarding experience, it’s important that you prepare yourself ahead of time by gathering the right supplies, and doing enough research to inform yourself of what’s to come. 

One major thing to consider before buying chickens is whether or not they’re allowed in your neighborhood. Be sure you contact your HOA (Home-Owners Association) to get details on the regulations. Chickens are allowed within Indianapolis but a rooster isn’t actually needed for hens to lay eggs. The main issue some people might have with roosters is the fact that they do make a lot of noise! 

If you’re ready to commit to raising chickens, read on for some helpful information to get you started!

Where to buy chicken coops

The first thing you need to consider when buying chickens to raise is the place that they’re going to live. Depending on the number of chickens you’re looking to raise, you need to buy a coop that will fit them all comfortably. A good place to start looking would be your local hardware stores. Home Depot would be an excellent place to start looking for those chicken coop essentials. 

How to build your own chicken coop

If you’re more hands-on and would like to build your own coop, ensure it is built in order for your chickens to have enough free space to run and get some exercise. Ideally, you want to draw up a blueprint first to get an idea of what you want it to look like! This is a great opportunity to get creative and build a nice home for your chickens to lay their eggs and be happy. Functionality is also important when building your coop. You need to ensure that you will be able to easily access chicken eggs and that the coop is also sturdy enough to withstand bad weather! If you are unsure about where to start, check out these DIY chicken coops to get you inspired Has a ton of ideas to get you inspired to build your own! 

Food and supplements

A chickens diet is an integral part of the experience of having chickens, especially if you want to eat the eggs they lay. Keeping your chickens’ healthy starts with purchasing pre-made feed that has been derived by a poultry science nutritionist to ensure your chickens have the perfect balance of calcium, calories and protein to ensure your chickens lay eggs with a nice thick shell. If you’re looking for a local store for your chicken feed needs, check out Wannamaker Feed and Seed as they have an excellent variety of poultry feed and supplies!  Freshwater must also be readily available in order to ensure each egg is laid with a nice hard shell. To prevent bacteria from brewing, you can also add a splash of apple cider vinegar to their water a couple of times a week. 

Care for and Keep Chickens

Schedule

Having a chicken coop does come with the responsibility of maintaining and caring for your chickens on a regular basis. In the mornings, start off by letting your chickens out of their coop so they can exercise in an enclosed space. Take a moment to check on each one to ensure their eyes are bright, their feathers are shiny, and that their combs are red. This is a good chance for you to supply them with fresh water, fluff their bedding and check for freshly laid eggs. In the afternoon, you can check again for any eggs, and even give them a nice treat! At sundown, it’s time to lock your chickens back in their nesting coop to keep them safe from predators. At the end of the week, it’s cleaning time! Take a few minutes to rake out the bedding and replace it with brand new bedding. Also, clean out their feeding and water dishes.

Health and Safety

Some people worry about how their chickens will fare if they have children or other pets in the household. On one hand, having young children help tend to your chicken farm can spark a love for animals, and can teach them some responsibility from a very early age! Chickens do carry dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli so it’s important to make sure that you are washing your hands or sanitizing them whenever you come into contact with them and their eggs. 

If you have a family pet, such as a cat or a dog you can try introducing them to your hens as long as they are supervised and on a leash. You should repeat the exposure for the first few weeks so they can get used to each other. If your pet displays any type of aggression towards your chickens, it’s likely that your pet will continue to display that behavior. For everyone’s safety, keep them apart! There’s nothing wrong with loving from afar! 

Need help caring for your chicken coop? Visit https://petsittingindianapolis.com/ to consult Sara for more information!

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