Chickens are endearing animals that are attracting more and more individuals. The services that these animals can render on a daily basis undoubtedly explain this success. The aspiration for a life closer to nature and the desire for a healthy and controlled diet, observed in our contemporary societies, contribute to the good image of gallinaceae. However, welcoming and raising chickens cannot be improvised. The 6 mistakes we mention in this article are frequently made and compromise the success of such a project.
1 – not choosing the right breed of hen
You surely have a good reason for wanting to raise chickens: put a nice and aesthetic animal in your garden to animate it, regularly collect fresh eggs, eat an animal that you have raised yourselves in the most complete respect of its well-being …
The breeds of chickens are very numerous but not all have the same characteristics. There are hens whose appearance is particularly decorative, hens known for the number of eggs laid each year or for the quality of their flesh. Some breeds are less shy than others, and prove to be more suitable for family breeding in which children might want to forge special bonds with the animal. There are also hens that are more rustic than others. This means that they are more resistant to rain and cold winters than others. Finally, small breeds of chickens are known to do less damage than large ones, such as Orpington and Faverolles.
Once you have chosen the breed (s) that best suit your aspirations, you will be able to choose how many hens you can accommodate depending on the area that you have.
2 – Not providing enough space to accommodate your chickens
It is well known that the happiest hens are those raised in the open air. The recommended area per hen is between 10 and 20 m² per animal. The more space they have, the more they will flourish. Your pets need physical activity and it is important that they can walk and stretch enough. To this must be added the area dedicated to the henhouse.
The course surface should be multiplied by two or three in anticipation of a rotation land use. Indeed, if no rotation is organized, the hens will end up running out of grass. However, it provides nutritional elements essential to the good health of the hen. If you run out of it, it is essential to provide an external contribution, which presents constraints in terms of supply management and the autonomy of the animals to feed themselves.
Aesthetically speaking, the free space for chickens quickly looks like a battlefield. In addition to scratching the ground to find worms, larvae, caterpillars, snails and slugs, they dig holes to roll around: this is how they get rid of parasites. This is an element to take into account to avoid disappointments.
3 – Neglecting the hygiene of hens and their environment
The hen house should be kept as clean as possible. Your chickens won’t, so this is your job. A well-maintained chicken coop guarantees the good health and therefore the longevity of your hens because regular cleaning limits the development of bacteria and parasites. Good hygiene also limits the spread of bad odors.
This interview takes time because it is first necessary to completely empty the henhouse by removing the accessories and the hens, placed in an enclosure during cleaning. Your intervention must be careful so as not to neglect any interstice in which the parasites nestle. Remember to clean the doors and latches and renew the water in the trough. The hen house must be completely dry before allowing the hens to return to it.
The exterior must also be kept clean and free of objects that could injure the animals.
4 – poorly feed your chickens
It is said that chickens allow the use of kitchen waste. However, they can in no way constitute the basis of their diet. They are at most complements. You have to be vigilant about what you give them and sort it out beforehand because some foods are not good for them, when they are not. toxic.
Hens digest most fruits and vegetables, as well as old bread. Rotten, too spicy, salty or fatty foods should be eliminated. Certain foods should be avoided: avocados, citrus peels, bananas and kiwis, onion peels, leek leaves, cabbage cores, celery, raw potatoes, peelings included, cold meats and raw meat, cheese. Like many pets, chocolate is deadly for the hen. A good reflex to adopt before giving them a leftover is to make sure that the food is not prohibited. If in doubt, better not to give it to them.
Fiber is good for them and they are crazy about weeds. In winter, it will be good to compensate for the lack of greenery and insects, without excess: dried insects, mealworms. Pieces of oysters will give them extra calcium.
5 – neglecting the protection of your chickens
Be aware that the presence of chickens can attract many animals. If the fox is well known as the number one enemy of the hen, it is far from the only one! Martins, polecats and even dogs can attack chickens. Rats and cats are more interested in chicks. Snakes, such as vipers and snakes, as well as hedgehogs, are attracted to eggs.
Many attacks are carried out at night; hens should be carefully locked in the hen house. The wire mesh should be deep enough into the ground to deter foxes from digging, allowing them to enter the henhouse through a tunnel. 30 cm deep is a minimum.
6 – Give up your chickens during the holidays
Your chickens will be able to manage if you are away for two days. Beyond that, you have to ask someone to come and feed them, give them water, make sure the fence is intact and everything is fine.
During the summer in particular, the heat wave can be fatal to them. They need shaded spaces that limit their exposure to the sun. The drinker should be placed in the shade and the water changed even more frequently than usual to limit the growth of algae. A restless hen panting is a hen that suffers from dehydration. The people who take care of them in your absence must be well informed about the normal behavior of the hens and what is abnormal, to react as quickly as possible in the event of a problem.