Keeping chickens healthy and happy requires attention to their care and environment. Here are some tips to ensure the well-being of your chickens:

1. Provide a suitable coop and outdoor space: Your chickens need to have a spacious, well-ventilated coop that offers protection from predators, extreme weather, and drafts. Provide enough outdoor space for them to roam, scratch, and dust bathe. Ideally, they’ll have access to fresh grass, bugs, and other natural elements. For suggestions of necessary and optional supplies, see our Chicken Supply List.

2. Offer a balanced diet: Provide your chickens with a balanced diet consisting of 16-20% protein chicken feed supplemented with grains, fruits, vegetables, and occasional treats. Access to clean, fresh water at all times is essential.

3. Maintain cleanliness: Keep the coop clean and dry. Regular remove droppings, replace bedding, and clean feeders and waterers. Rotate outdoor grazing areas to prevent the buildup of parasites and pathogens.

4. Monitor for signs of illness: Watch your flock for common signs of illness in chickens: lethargy, decreased appetite, abnormal droppings, respiratory symptoms, or changes in behavior. Quickly address any health concerns by consulting with a veterinarian experienced in chicken care.

5. Preventative healthcare: Take preventative measures to protect your chickens from common poultry diseases and parasites. This may include vaccination, deworming, and regular health checks.

6. Provide enrichment: Stimulate your chickens’ natural behaviors and instincts by offering environmental enrichment. Provide options such as perches, roosts, nesting boxes, and opportunities for foraging. Keep them mentally stimulated and engaged by rotating toys, hanging treats, and other interactive items.

7. Monitor flock dynamics: Observe your chickens’ social interactions. Intervene if bullying or aggression occurs. Development of a pecking order among chickens is normal and okay; aggression is not. Provide multiple feeding and watering stations to minimize competition and ensure all birds have access to resources.

8. Handle with care: If you handle your chickens, do so gently and calmly to minimize stress and prevent injury. Avoid chasing or grabbing them forcefully. Teach children proper handling techniques to promote positive interactions.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your chickens remain healthy, happy, and productive members of your backyard flock.