Caring For Your Hens

Raising chickens is a lot more difficult than some may think and caring for your hens is an important thing to know before you start. It all begins with determining the needed amount of space inside the coop. Make sure that your coop is small so the chickens would be comfortable, but at the same time, have an extra space for future expansions if you are planning on having more chickens. Be sure that every part of the coop is connected tightly to the other parts and that there are no loose parts or holes that predators can use to get inside. Provide your hens with nesting boxes and perches as well as 14 to 16 hours of light with a 100 watt bulb for every 400 square feet of floor space. Nesting boxes should have a good amount of wood shavings as bedding inside. You should also provide wood shavings on the ground of the coop as well. This bedding should be changed periodically in order to make sure that the hens are enjoying dry and clean bedding all the time. Remember that in the construction of your coop, you need to cover the floor with a soft bedding made of wood shavings or straw. After the bedding is in the coop, the coop will be ready to receive your chickens. Be sure that you allow the chickens time to check out the coop for an hour or two.

If your hens are laying, it is helpful to feed them a specially formulated chicken feed that is higher in protein and various minerals that will fit the hen\’s nutritional needs so she can produce eggs. It is also important that you feed them at the same time everyday as well as giving them clean water to drink. To help the hens produce strong eggshells, you can also provide them with a little bit of oyster shell in a small pan at all times. When gathering your hen\’s eggs, be sure to gather them daily, store them in a cool place with the small end of the egg pointing down and discard any cracked eggs. It is also important that you watch for disease as well as remove or treat any sick birds and to check for lice or mites. Dust with a powder when necessary.

Most hens reach their full maturity at around four to six months and therefore will be able to produce eggs. When the hens start to lay, you may observe that the eggs will appear sporadically and while the hen matures more, the eggs will come on a more regular basis. Note that during the winter months that the hens will lay less and that livestock-approved lighting systems will produce the much needed light and warmth for your birds. Be sure that all heat and light sources are placed at a safe distance from structures and the roosting and laying areas.

Please note that you also need to remove every single item from your chicken coop and completely sanitize it once a year. While you sanitize your coop, be sure to check for parasites on the birds.

Author Bio: Be sure to check out Building A Chicken House for more on keeping chickens.

Category: Pets
Keywords: chickens, hens, hen house, chicken coop, eggs, laying hens

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