Chickens have long been kept by humans for various reasons. These reasons range from simple domestication for the purpose of egg production and a constant meat source, to the stranger ones such as for companionship. If the idea of rearing a chicken has crossed your mind, it might be good to know some extra pointers about caring for chickens before you start.
First of all, you would have to decide between picking either a hen or a rooster. Of course, for those of you who would like to have more than 1 chicken, you can always opt for both. However, hens offer much more benefits in terms of value since they also provide a constant supply of eggs. One thing you should also note is that hens do not require roosters to lay eggs. Additionally, roosters are very noisy and tend to be far more aggressive and rowdy as compared to hens, which are usually more docile and well-mannered. Also, though you might only need 1 chicken as a pet, chickens are rather social animals and prefer to have the company of some other members of their species around. Going by that, it is advisable to keep at least 2 or more chickens in order to keep them happy. Of course, before you decide how many chicken you want to keep, ensure you check the regulation with your local council. In some urban areas, roosters are not allowed. In both rural and urban areas, there are land requirements that must be met before you can have your chickens.
Next up, you would have to plan for a place for your chickens to sleep. The common choice would be the standard chicken house. The chicken house should not only offer a relaxed and safe haven for your chickens to roost and play, it should also serve as a solid line of defence against many would-be predators. Despite a chicken’s natural sturdiness and survival instincts, it is found sorely wanting in self-defence. Chickens are easy prey for many common predators such as foxes, badgers, dogs, cats and even large rats. Ensure that your chicken house is well set up to protect them from threats like this. In addition, do try to provide an elevated spot for your chickens to perch. A nest box for laying eggs should be another mandatory part of your chicken house setup. Chickens also love performing dust baths, so assigning a particular spot for that is strongly recommended.
Chickens might not be entirely territorial creatures, but they do enjoy the freedom of space to run around. In fact, chickens spend much of their time running around aimlessly and they start to feel stressed up and irritable if there is insufficient space for them to roam. Sadly, behaviours such as plucking their feathers and picking at each other are so commonly seen in chicken farms where the poor chickens are piled up with nowhere to turn or roam. A general guideline to follow is to have at least 3 square feet of space for every chicken you own.
Finally, regardless of whether you are going to start by keeping a chick or a matured hen, try to keep as much attention on it for at least the first month. Get them to familiarize themselves with the chicken house you have set up and know the correct spots to perform activities like dust baths and roosting. Failing to do so might result in your chicken running all over the place and perching on places like branches, roofs and awnings. This tends to cause quite a bit of inconvenience and we will want to avoid it as far as possible.