So you’re a chicken farmer now and want to make sure you’re raising the healthiest, happiest chickens in the whole wide world!
You’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find the top 10 tips for raising healthy chickens.
let’s get started.
Provide Good Feed
Sounds simple but chickens need more than good ol’ chicken scratch in order to produce eggs at their maximum levels. And there’s nothing better than a healthy hen pumping out lots of yummy eggs!
Generally speaking, day-old chicks through eight weeks should be fed chicken starter feed//crumble. Here’s a great starter feed on Amazon to start out with. Or, just head down to your local livestock feed store and pick up a much bigger bag.
Adolescent chickens up to 18 weeks of age should be fed a grower type feed.
Laying hens should be fed layer feed no earlier than 18 weeks of age or once the first egg is laid. This type of feed contains heathy doses of calcium that laying hens need for eggshell production but can be harmful to young chicks.
Provide Clean Water
Kind of a no-brainer here but chickens should have access to fresh water all the time. Try and stay away from waterers as they make it easier to harbor fecal matter and bacteria that can make your chickens sick.
The secret to clean water is building out a poultry nipple waterer. Nipple drinkers have been used successfully on literally billions of chickens across the world. Professional farmers across North America have made these nipple waterers the standard for chickens.
Click here to view one of our favorite chicken nipple waterers on Amazon.
Apple Cider Vinegar in drinking Water
Yea we know, apple cider vinegar is an age old trick dating back to your great great great aunt Isabelle. But it can work miracles in your chicken coop. Just by adding about 1 – 2 teaspoons per 4 liters of drinking water, it will:
- lessen slime buildup in the water
- help chickens battle stress levels on super hot days
- help your chickens digest their food better
- help the growth of good digestive bacteria
- alter the PH of the drinking water making it an unfriendly environment for bad organisms to grow
Here’s a great apple cider vinegar option on Amazon if that’s more convenient than picking some up at your local grocery store.
Clean Living Quarters
This is simple. A clean coop = a healthy coop. Chickens have a somewhat sensitive respiratory system which is easily irritated by mold and ammonia buildup from chicken droppings.
Clean coops are also less likely to pick up mites and poultry lice.
A wet living environment created by accumulated droppings and water spillage, provides a breeding ground for harmful organisms to flourish like coccidia.
The first signs of an unhealthy chicken can be found in a chicken’s droppings. Installing a droppings board underneath the roost can provide an easier opportunity for you to observe their droppings.
Break up Broody Hens
A broody hen is one that always wants to sit on the eggs until she hatches chicks. If you notice a broody hen forming, get her out of the coop and place her in an elevated , wire bottom cage without litter, located away from the coop. A rabbit hutch works great for this.
Provide Dust Bathing Areas
What’s a dust bath? Well, for a chicken it’s equivalent to a daily shower. They typically dig shallow spots in dirt, sand, or whatever they can find to work into their skin and feathers to aid in skin/feather maintenance and parasite control. You could also build a dust bath with a shallow buck filled with sand.
If you’re low on space and don’t want your chickens cutting up your yard, you can purchase one of these containers on Amazon and fill it with sand to achieve the same result.
Treats should be worked in their diet just like ours… as a supplement not a meal replacement. Here are some great ideas for healthy chicken treats:
- pumpkin seeds
- scrambled eggs (yes ironic but great source of protein)
- apple chunks
- mealworms (great dried option on Amazon here)
- corn cobs
- leftovers from dinner
Freedom // Forage
Free range chickens are definitely healthier. They are born with the innate desire to roam and forage around. Research shows that eggs laid by free-ranging chickens are healthier for human diets.
If your situation doesn’t allow for complete free range, setting aside time once a day to let your chickens out for a bit of roaming freedom will definitely help stimulate their curiosity bug.
There you have it! 10 of the best tips for raising healthy chickens! Good luck to you as you venture out on this wonderful journey of raising beautiful chickens!