What are the basics of the care and feeding of chickens?


Quick Answer

Some of the basics of caring for chickens include completing necessary daily chores, such as keeping water available at all times; providing chickens with quality feed that is specifically tailored to their needs; keeping chickens dry; and protecting chickens from extreme weather. It is also important to ensure that chickens have sufficient space, with each chicken having at least 2 square feet of shelter and 3 square feet of outdoor run space.

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Full Answer

Make sure that the chickens' living quarters are well-ventilated in order to prevent lung problems. A chicken needs different types of feed with varying percentages of protein, depending on its age and whether it is a laying hen or a meat bird. Chickens fed odd grains and scraps may experience nutrient deficiencies.

To take care of baby chicks, keep them in a brooder with solid sides that are approximately 18 inches high. Keep the brooder near a heat source, ideally a heat lamp. Each chick should have 6 square inches of floor space, and the brooder should be kept in a dry, safe location. Cover the brooder floor with pine shavings or another type of absorbent bedding. Cedar shavings and kitty litter should not be used. Cover the bedding with paper towels or an old cloth for the first two days to prevent the chicks from eating the bedding.

Chicks must be kept at 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. During each subsequent week, lower the temperature by 5 degrees F until the temperature reaches 60 degrees F or the temperature outside of the brooder. Place the chicks' water in a shallow, narrow container to prevent drowning.

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