I truly adore my hens, and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to my sweethearts! But I always acknowledge their significant care as animals. Chicken are an entirely different genre of pet and should be treated as such. A chick should not be handled too much as it can traumatize them. But too little human interaction will cause them to distrust you. DO NOT GET CHICKENS IF…
- you can’t handle bird excrement
- you don’t have the money to buy a coop or the capability to build your own.
- You don’t meet the city laws, especially roosters
- Roosters are loud and often times aggressive, so don’t get them if you can’t handle that, either.
- if you don’t have the time, food, or yard space.
Keep an eye on the little ones
Chicks are very, very delicate creatures! The space you provide them depends on the number you have. 1 to 4 chickens can fit in your everyday standard brown cardboard box. The everyday standard box should be at least one cubic foot. The box should have bedding; newspaper does fine. Water; in a small shallow dish, or dripping bottle. Feed — this is REALLY IMPORTANT. If your chicks do not have chick feed, they will not receive the antibiotics they need to keep themselves safe from diseases. My chicks ate “start and grow” medicated chick feed and none of them have ever gotten sick! You can get it at ACE hardware store. And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: chicks need heat! A heating lamp is good, but even the space heating dish I got at Costco was okay. But always be certain the your chicks, if a month old or less, are kept at approximately 100 degrees. Until Chickens are three and a half months old or OLDER, keep them in doors.
Check on them periodically during the day, because chicks eat A LOT! and change the water often, or they could get sick. Every now and then, change the newspapers.
Some things you didn’t know about chickens…
- When chicks develop their flying feathers, they WILL fly. By that time, they will still be kept indoors, so you’ll have to chicken-proof the room, or get them a larger space; they’ll want to start moving around, too! My first two hens started flying when they were little! We used to put them in an old doll house and scatter food all over, they’d explore it like a play structure!
- Once your chickens are full grown, they’re like natural compost machines! You can feed them a huge variety of things, and they’ll fertilize the land; corn, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cheese, potato, give them fruits and veggies!
- THE PECKING ORDER! Almost as soon as your chicks are settled into their new environment, they’ll start pecking at each other! Chickens of the same age usually won’t hurt each other by doing so, but avoid placing small chickens with big chickens for awhile! This is the way chickens establish dominance. You can tell which hen is the one in charge by their sleeping positions, the top hen is usually at the highest nesting place, and the other hens stay below.
- Chickens can fly so well, in fact, that you may have to pinion them so they don’t get away. I’m a little hazy on whether those feather grow back through molting, but I bet they do! All you need to do is clip the tips of the longest feathers. Even just clipping only should do the trick.
- Chickens molt annually. During the fall, chickens will start dropping large amounts of their feathers. The transformation isn’t so pretty for a week or two, but then they grow brand new feathers. And the new ones are clean and gorgeous!
- Make sure to read up the different breeds of chicken, too!