What’s the Deal With the Urban Chicken Movement? Where are the throngs and legions? the few chores that come with birds are simply too few to warrant anyone saying “No.” to the critters. Chicken chores are one of my favorite parts of the day.
Tell you what, if there is a list of three or four things that are required to do it, perhaps more folks would jump on board if they only knew what it entailed. When I got my chickens, I had experienced the ritual of farm chores before, but now, it came at a time in life that I could appreciate the respite.
Follow these daily chores to the letter and chances are that you will be in the sweet spot all chicken farmers like to ride, straight through from your first pullets to your last broody hen.
CHECK FOOD AND WATER DAILY
(wash font at least as clean as you would want to drink or eat from.)
(Two or three handfuls for a small flock, enough that they can eat most of it in half an hour is plenty, it gives them something to scratch for besides bugs. Oh, did I say, if you don’t like bugs, chickens eat nearly every one they can get.)
(Who wouldn’t like that part? Right?)
If all of these activities are within your ability and desire, there is no reason not to try it out. Aside from that, who wouldn’t like to raise a significant amount of protein right in their backyard? Besides, they are far more fun to watch than television! Building a palace for a chicken is even within the most novice of carpenter’s ability. They need a coop that breathes a bit, so air flow through the structure is not terrible, but for folks like me in a northern climate, I just add insulated panels to the basic structure in Winter and they fare well. Used coops don’t last on the market long, so if you want to experiment with different designs, don’t worry about getting rid of your earlier configurations. Orienting the long and tall wall of the coop toward the sun in winter, covering it with glass or plastic and throwing a blanket over that side at night can keep temperatures for these birds, native to the tropics, just a bit closer to the cozy range.
When you get a chicken in hand, nearly everyone comments on what heat factories they are. Even a small flock can heat a large dog house, but keep in mind anything bigger than you need for nesting, roosting and for the food and water area are just a waste of materials. Roosted birds take up only the size of a football or so, they don’t need a basketball court to sleep. one nifty thing I saw was a mid cage shelf that was metal, and put in at an angle, making a poop roof over the food and water area which was in the same small area, below the roosting pole. one key fact to remember is that the birds like to roost on a firm branch or stick that is bigger than a broomstick, not as big as a toilet paper tube. Solving that engineering problem is fun and your solution to how to get a round thing not to spin like a premature rotisserie when the chicken tries to use it to perch on, will be one of the many tiny, non-egg related, rewards that you and your family can adopt along with chickens.
In my own development as a chicken keeper, I was really amazed when I found out that scratch was just whatever whole grains were available, that they would eat a bit of stone and oyster shell from time to time, or that a chicken is capable of laying a quarter pound egg! Each of our birds has exhibited distinct chickenality (like personality, but in chicken.) You really can never guess what they will do next, they are a joy to raise.
Also, if you run into any snags along the way, chicken people love to share what they have learned about taking good care of their charges. sources like Backyard Chickens is a great place to start your quest for more information. Blessed Be and keep spinnin’ the wheel until we meet again…