Chickens are interesting birds to have them around your compound or backyard. These domestic birds are the easiest animals to keep in your home. Besides, they are interesting to watch as well as being nature’s best anti-depressants. But most of the chicken owners seem to be missing out on several issues. These issues are common mistakes that almost all chicken keepers make. So, what are the 5 common mistakes a chicken owner should avoid? Owners are unprepared for predators, not being properly prepared for a batch of baby chicks, and not securing adequate space for their chickens, breaking the law in their area of residence, and lack of access to forage.
Inasmuch as most people think that keeping chickens is an easy task, some problems come with it. But if you become aware of such problems, you will most likely know how to handle your flock of birds in a professional way. We indeed learn from mistakes but we can try our best to avoid some common mistakes when our raising chickens. Read on to find out the five common mistakes you are likely to make when keeping chickens.
Top 5 Common Mistakes Every Chicken Owners Should Avoid
1) UnPrepared for the Newly Hatched Chicks
This is first on the list of 5 common mistakes a chicken owner should avoid? Actually, this is the most common mistake that almost every chicken keeper makes. This mistake comes about due to the lack of the right knowledge you can apply when it comes to taking care of these lovely little birds.
Young chicks are usually delicate and need special care. You could lose them if not well prepared. For instance, these young birds require a good source of warmth, special diet, shelter, bedding and fresh, clean water.
All these are essential items that every chick needs to grow well and become a healthy chicken. Lack of them can mean something else.
Apart from food, water, and other essentials, your chicks will also need their own space away from adult chickens. This will help to keep them safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, most of the chicken keepers overlook this very important point until the last minute.
Keep in mind that chicks are a great addition to your flock of birds and they deserve to be taken care of just like the rest of your flock.
2) Not Being Prepared for Predators
This is second on the list of the 5 common mistakes a chicken owner should avoid? One of the most devastating setbacks that you should expect when venturing into the business of keeping chickens is the threat of predators. Sadly’ quite a number of chicken owners overlook the possibility of encountering predators near their chicken runs. If you are one of them, then you need to brace yourself for more challenges ahead. Predators find chickens to be an easy target, especially where security is poor.
Naturally, predators are very clever and that’s why they manage to survive in the wild. If they don’t become smarter, their chances of surviving will become slim.
Chicken keepers need to be always prepared to protect their birds by all means. If not, they will end up losing them to any available predators. For instance, raccoons are known to attack chickens by breaking through mesh wire or passing through the fence and kill any chicken they can find.
For the weasels, their tactic is somehow different. These little animals slip through small holes to kill or steal chickens. These are just a few examples of the common predators known to attack and eat chickens.
The only way of protecting your birds against predators is by providing enough security for them. You can start by using hardware cloth or any other material that can keep away predators especially during the night.
Also, chickens need enough protection from those predators that dig their way into the coop. In this regard, you should find better means of preventing coyotes or foxes from digging and taking away your birds.
Predators such as raccoons can climb and carry away your chickens from their coop if not well covered. For that reason, ensure that your chicken coop is well covered at the top and sides to keep your flock safe from any intruders.
3) Inadequate Space for Your Chickens
The third of the common mistakes a chicken owner should avoid? Your chickens, weather hens, chicks or roosters need some extra space to move around freely. Their free movement is important not only to them but to you as well. When chickens have enough space to free-range, you will not be worried about removing their droppings from the coop.
On the other hand, more space in your chicken run or coop means that you are ready to accommodate your expanding flock. This needs proper planning in advance given that chickens take a short time to reproduce and increase in number. On the contrary, some chicken owners fail to anticipate these changes at the right time only to find themselves unprepared in the future.
How much space should you spare for your chickens? The answer to this question depends on the number of birds under your care. But the most important thing to do is to ensure that there is enough space in the coop or run for every bird.
Normally, experienced chicken keepers advise you to provide each bird with three square feet of space in the coop and about ten square feet when outdoors. While this a good idea, the space for each bird should be large enough to keep it comfortable and safe. More space means that cases of some birds becoming territorial will be brought down drastically and this will help to avoid this common mistake as a chicken owner.
4) Ignorance of Your Local Ordinances
Ignorance of the law or local ordinances is a common mistake that most chicken owners make. Before you set out to try your hand in raising chickens, it is advisable to find out all the rules and regulations governing the ownership of domestic animals in your area. This will help you to avoid unnecessary penalties or conflicts with your neighbors.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to keep your chickens in the suburban or semi-rural neighborhood as long as you understand and follow all the rules laid down. These laws are put in place to protect everyone within that area.
But some laws are somehow ridiculous especially if you are from an area where keeping chickens is a common thing. For instance, some regions will have laws that prevent you from raising roosters due to their noise.
Other areas will have rules that prohibit residents from keeping chickens or other small livestock in their homes for a number of reasons. Key among them is most probably the size of the property in relation to the number of people living there.
Most importantly, confirm everything with your neighbors to know what is required and what is not. By doing so you will know if you are following ordinances of that particular community. After all, you have all the right to keep peace with those around you.
5) Being Unable to Access Forage
Research has shown that the healthiest eggs are laid by hens that are allowed to have free access to forage. Even though chickens love greens, it does not mean they are herbivores or vegetarians.
With that in mind, you should make sure that your birds access forage by allowing them to free-range during the day. If you do so, you will expose your birds to different kinds of food across the run. All these foods are somehow nutritious and will help keep your chickens healthy and productive.
Chickens that are fed mainly on a diet comprising of soy or corn. This mash from the local feed stores is known to lay poor quality of eggs. Therefore, allow your birds to forage to find different types of food that will improve their productivity.
How do you avoid common mistakes when raising chickens? Making mistakes and correcting them at the right time is the only way of learning. As a chicken owner, you must always find a solution to every problem before things get out of hand.
How long will your chickens remain productive when subjected to the right conditions? Normally, a chicken remains productive for a period not exceeding three years. Beyond that, productivity slows down and this trend goes as the chicken’s age increases. During the productive period of your chickens, make sure that you provide them with all the essential nutrients, healthcare, and security.
Even though mistakes are unavoidable when it comes to raising chickens, every farmer should try to avoid them by all means. Common mistakes in keeping chickens should not be an excuse for not fulfilling your goals. Try to avoid them and reap great benefits that come with raising chickens in your backyard.
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