Feeding and Care Tips for Pet Chickens

feeding and care of pet chickens

Chickens make great pets, and like all animals they need the correct care to thrive.

Setting Up the Coop

When setting up a coop for your pet chickens, it’s important to provide them with a safe and comfortable living space. Make sure the coop is secure and protected from predators. It should also have enough room for your chickens to move around freely and roost comfortably. Nest boxes for your hens to lay their eggs in can be incorporated into the coop or provided separately. Ensure there is adequate ventilation for good air circulation and prevent the build-up of moisture. It is a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to deter vermin. Lastly, use suitable bedding material such as hemp, chopped straw or wood shavings and clean out regularly to keep the coop clean and cozy.

Feeding Your Pet Chickens

Feeding your pet chickens a balanced diet is crucial for their health and well-being. A commercial chicken feed, such as layers mash or pellets is specifically formulated for their nutritional needs and should make up the major portion of their diet. Supplementing this with mixed seeds or grains such as Super Seeds or Cheer Up Chicken will add variety, enrichment and provide a more diverse range of natural nutrients. In the UK it is illegal to supplement their diet with kitchen scraps like vegetable peels and leftover cereal. Make sure to provide them with fresh water at all times and avoid feeding them spoiled or mouldy food.

Providing Water and Grit

Water is essential for your pet chickens’ hydration and overall health. Make sure they have access to clean and fresh water at all times. You can use a water dispenser specifically designed for chickens or a shallow dish that they can easily drink from. I like to use a container that hooks onto the run as this prevents them from knocking it over and helps to keep the water clean.

Grit made of small stones and crushed oyster shells, is important for your chickens’ digestion. It helps them grind their food in their gizzard since they don’t have teeth. Insoluble grit helps to break down the food, oyster shells are a source of calcium for egg shell production. Gastro Grit combines both sources in a tasty mix.

Health and Wellness Checks

Regular health and wellness checks are essential to ensure the well-being of your pet chickens. Spend time with your chickens and get to know their characters so you can spot if one is behaving unusually, or is feeling unwell. Keep an eye out for any signs of illness or injury, such as changes in behaviour, decreased appetite, or unusual discharge. Inspect their feathers, skin, and eyes for any abnormalities. Check their nails regularly to prevent overgrowth and check their feet for any signs of infection or injury. It’s also important to regularly worm your chickens to treat against internal parasites. In the UK Flubenvet is the only wormer approved for use in chickens.

Enrichment Activities

Engaging your pet chickens in enrichment activities is important for their mental and physical stimulation. Provide them with a spacious outdoor area where they can roam, scratch, and dust bathe. Consider introducing perches, ramps, and platforms to encourage natural behaviors like jumping and roosting. You can also provide them with toys or hanging treats to peck at, such as a cabbage or a peck toy filled with seeds. Giving your hens lots of things to keep them occupied will massively improve their quality of life and reduce instances of bullying and feather pecking. If you can allow them to free-range on grass they will love exploring and foraging for bugs and plants, but you must consider their safety from predators.