How to Raise Chicks

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adminsatu

Move your chicks to an outdoor coop.,
Protect them from predators.,
Change their food and give them treats.,
Interact with them.,
Know when to expect eggs.

Once the chicks are about two months old you can move them to an outdoor coop, provided its not the middle of winter. Coops can be purchased from a farm supply store, or you can build your own. The coop provides shelter for chickens, protecting them from drafts and predators. It keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer. There are several important considerations when buying or building a coop:

Run space: All coops should have enough space for chickens to forage and get some fresh air. In terms of size, a chicken coop with a footprint of 4×8 feet should comfortably house 3 to 5 chickens.

Elevated roost: Though open-air roosting coops are an option, you should really provide your chickens with an elevated and enclosed roosting space, if possible. As with most birds, chickens have a natural roosting instinct and are partial to roosting in high areas. The roosting area should also include a roosting perch where the chickens can sleep.

Nesting boxes: All coops should have nesting boxes in their roosting area. These are just little 12”x12”x12” spaces for hens to lay their eggs. One box will do for every two chickens, as they don’t mind sharing. You can line the nesting boxes with straw or wood shavings.

Cleanliness: You should clean your chicken coop once every 4 months, and change the straw and floor shavings every week and a half.

, A good chicken coop should protect your chickens from predators. In fact, security should be the number one priority when choosing a chicken coop, as chickens are helpless at the hands (or claws and paws) of predators such as weasels, minks, cats, raccoons, dogs, and even hawks. Make sure your chicken coop is wrapped in 360 degrees of wire cage, with holes no larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm). Regularly check to make sure there are no cracks or loose boards where predators could slip inside.

, Once your chickens reach the two month mark, you can swap their feed from “crumbles” to “laying mash”, which is also available at the farm supply store. Along with the mash, your older chickens will also appreciate any tasty leftovers from the kitchen and garden weeds (as long as they’re free of pesticides).

You should also place a bowl of gritty sand in the chicken coop. The chickens need this sand to grind up and digest their food, as they have no teeth.You can also give them a crushed oyster shell supplement from your local farm supply store to provide extra calcium for strong eggshells.Leave the chicken feed in a durable chicken feeder and make sure to clean it regularly. You should also check the feed itself every other day to may sure it isn’t mouldy or wet.
Remember to give the chickens access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Large waterers can be purchased which don’t need to be filled as often and heated waterers can be used in winter to prevent the water from freezing.

, Chickens appreciate human interaction, so make sure to talk to them and call them by their names. Tame chickens can also be picked up and rubbed, and if they’re shy you can encourage them with a handful of grain. Some chickens will greet you at your door or will answer or come running when you call. The friendliness of your chickens will depend somewhat on the breed, but also on the level of attention you give them.

, Young hens (known as pullets) will begin to lay eggs between 20 and 24 weeks of age and they will lay approximately 5-6 eggs a week.

Hens will lay through the spring and summer months and into the fall, as long as they have 12 to 14 hours of daylight. In the fall, their egg production will dwindle, before increasing again the following spring. You can expect to collect eggs daily, or even twice a day. The larger the chicken, the larger your eggs will be.
Although hens can lay as long as they live (8 to 10 years isn’t uncommon), they start producing fewer eggs after 3 to 5 years.

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