There are many theories on how best to handle your chicken flock on a daily basis. It is generally quite easy to raise chickens, but you still have a number of responsibilities – poultry require regular maintenance and their environment must be tended to carefully so that it is clean and safe. When you do this, both you and your chickens will have an easier life. The work involved in maintaining poultry can be grueling and unpleasant, and some owners don’t like to do it. But when you do the work properly and in a timely way, you are giving your chickens the living arrangement that they need.
This section will discuss what chicken owners should and shouldn’t do for their chickens on a daily basis.
One of the most important chores is to make sure their feed and water containers are always full. These two items are vital for the welfare of your chickens. In order to survive, they must have sufficient amounts of food and water. If you are planning to go away for more than a few days, you must leave extra water and food for your chickens so that they won’t begin to starve and start fighting with each other.
It’s also very important that you keep their water containers clean. Chickens are particular creatures. If their water is cloudy or dirty, they won’t drink it. And after a prolonged period of refusing water they can become dehydrated, which can lead to serious illness and even death.
You should closely observe your chickens every day, to check for signs of illness. Check to see that they are physically healthy. A healthy chicken will be animated and very active. If your chickens aren’t lively and behaving the way they normally do, contact your veterinarian and explain the situation, and ask for suggestions about what to do next.
If you enjoy having eggs for yourself and your family, or if you sell your eggs, it’s okay to collect the eggs from the nests as soon as they are laid. These newly collected eggs should be refrigerated to preserve freshness.
You should visit the chicken coop periodically, to make sure your chickens are safe and healthy. Don’t leave the coop without double-checking that everything is in order, both inside and outside the pen. If there are signs of intruders, such as rat holes, plug them up immediately. But if your chickens look fit and happy, and there aren’t any unwanted visitors in the coop, you can leave – just remember to close the door. Chickens will all return to their nests once the sun goes down. By dusk, there won’t be any chickens roaming around the pen. So you must create a safe environment for them that will make it difficult for intruders to come inside.
Chickens aren’t like most pets, who want constant attention. It’s perfectly safe to leave your chickens alone for for short periods of time. Just be sure they have plenty of water and food to last them for the duration of your absence. When you get back you’re likely to find a number of eggs, which are still safe to collect. They will also be fresh enough to eat.
Here’s a rule of thumb about testing the freshness of an egg: Within 12 days after an egg is laid it will mature, and an embryo will begin to grow inside.
Another essential egg fact is that when you are collecting them from the coop, it’s likely that there will be dirt or feces or other smudges on the shells. You’ll naturally want to clean them off, but resist the urge, no matter how tempting. Keep in mind that eggs come into the world with shells, which are excellent barriers that protect the contents.
On the surface of a newly collected egg there is a membrane which is known as the bloom. The bloom is a natural source of protection that keeps bacteria and microorganisms which may try to work through the shell away from the inside of the egg. Wiping the bloom off the egg removes the protective covering that nature gave it.
However, if you just can’t stand to see this grimy stuff on your eggs and you want to eggs that are shiny and clean, then go ahead and wipe them off. If you do this, it’s important that you use warm water, and that you handle the eggs with care.
For more information on how to properly build a chicken coop, go to http://www.easilybuildachickencoop.com.
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