We've talked a lot about all of the right things you should be doing when raising backyard chickens, but we haven't focused on potential mistakes you might be making. So, today we thought it would be a good idea to talk about common mistakes and what you can do to prevent them from happening.
1. Inadequate Coop and Run Size
If you look at our post about important facts about chicken coops, we mention that each chicken needs at least three feet of space in your coop, so if you have five chickens, then you're going to need 15 feet of interior space for your chickens. The size of your coop helps your chickens to stay happy and healthy. Chickens also need a run for them to exercise and forage.
2. Not Providing Grit
As we mentioned in our last blog post about must haves for chickens, grit is essential for your chickens to have healthy digestion. Small pebbles and gravel work perfectly!
3. Forgetting That Chickens Age
Unfortunately, we can't keep our chickens forever. You need to make a plan for what you're going to do when your chickens get too old because when they get old, they stop laying. Instead of adding new chickens to your flock, figure out what you're going to do with your old ones before you have more chickens than you can handle.
4. Roll Call in the Evenings
Each night, before you lock your chickens in their coop, you need to count them to make sure they are all there to avoid losing a chicken to predators or weather conditions.
5. Inspecting Their Eggs
Check your fresh eggs for cracks because cracks allow bacteria from poop and other organisms to get inside. If bacteria gets inside, whoever is consuming the egg can get sick and you don't want that to happen! Check out our post all about storing your fresh eggs. We go in-depth about the cleaning and inspecting process.
6. Nesting Boxes
Hens need nesting boxes. Sometimes new chicken owners don't know this or they don't provide enough nesting boxes for their hens. Your hens need a safe, enclosed nesting box so they don't lay eggs all over the coop. If they lay eggs all over, that gives potential for the eggs to get cracked, and if the eggs crack, then you'll have a messy coop to clean up along with wasted eggs!
7. Not Collecting Eggs
You need to be collecting eggs regularly. If you fail to collect eggs each morning, the eggs can get trampled on or cracked. In cold weather, the eggs can even burst. If the eggs crack, chickens get curious and will peck at their own eggs and when that happens, they will start eating their eggs and that habit is seriously hard to break. There are definitely ways to break this habit, but that's another post for another day.
People are often scared of roosters because they can be quite aggressive to the flock, but the great thing about roosters is that they will protect the flock and your hens against predators. The only time you might have issues with your roosters is if you have too many. You need to have a good rooster to hen ratio in order to keep the balance and the peace. If you have too many roosters, they will fight over the hens. A lot of people think you need a rooster in order to get eggs, but that's not the case. Hens produce eggs on their own, but they are unfertilized, so if your main purpose is to eat the eggs, you don't need a rooster. If you want to grow your flock with baby chicks, you need some roosters present.
I hope these tips helped you learn about potential mistakes you could make with your new flock. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Otherwise, check back next week for another fun blog post all about chickens!