Caring for Chickens

A guide for new chicken tenders

little stinker
"Photo Bombing Chicken" by MTSOfan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

About Chickens

Despite their stereotypical reputation of being dumb and cowardly, chickens are actully quite curious and even smart. Most chickens can learn to recognize faces, sounds, colors (for instance, the color red might mean food/water), and even their name as well as their flock mates' names. It's also interesting to see the different personalities chickens have. One chicken might be brave and loud and outright cocky, while another might be very quiet and only approachable you if you have an offering of food. Some chickens like to run around like The Flash, pecking at bugs and plants. Others might prefer to loll in the dirt. As you can see, there is much more to chickens than many think.

Big :0
Coop, Chicken, and Goat House by Terrie Schweitzer is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A Good Home Equals A Happy Chicken

Many people think you can just order a cute little coop online, set it up, and get some chickens. Well...It's not that simple. Many pre-made coops you find, especially the cute ones that look like little houses, are terrible for your chickens and have very bad reviews. "It leaks", "it's not as big as they say", "Broke during shipping!", and "The instructions are terrible" are common complaints you will see. So read reviews from other people carefully! Although this takes more effort, you can also build your own coop. Think about how many chickens you're getting, and check to see how much space that particular breed needs. Make sure you have enough space! You should also build a large run for your chickens if they're not going to be free-range outside all the time. Insulation is also a good idea for your coop, as it keeps your chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer, however you should NEVER use heat lamps in the winter. It's a major fire hazard.

He protec. He atac. But most of all...he need a snac.
"Rooster and Hens" by Svadilfari is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Should I Get A Rooster?

Here's another challenge new chickens owners face. Getting roosters. Roosters can be good for protecting a flock and fertilizing eggs, however many roosters are aggresive and very noisy. If you live in a neighborhood you may want to check to make sure having roosters is all right, as many neighborhoods don't allow them. Even if where you live does allow roosters, it's still a good idea to think about your neighbors, if you have any. So, should you get a rooster? Well let's think, are you ok with fertilized eggs? Can you handle the noise? Do you want extra protection for your flock, even if the guard is a bit aggressive? If yes, then a rooster is right for you!

Snac? :0
"Two Chickens" by Ian Britton is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0