Feeling nervous about starting your flock? Raising chickens may seem like hard work, but chicken care can be a breeze if you play your cards right!
1. Get organized and create a daily Chicken Care routine.
You can find a basic outline here for basic chicken care, including some planning in advance, in addition to how and when to clean a coop.
If you do not have a large enclosed chicken run with grass, set aside a time every morning to let the hens out to free range. This is best to do as your FIRST morning task, followed closely by checking feeders and waterers, so that the hens are out of your way and happily pecking at the grass while you’re working – and perhaps supervised a bit more, at least from the corner of your eye.
Eggs can last without spoiling for as long as a whopping 12 days, but egg collection should be done as close to daily as possible to prevent from attracting egg-eating pests.
Hens do not always lay eggs early in the morning, and usually need to stretch their legs for a while and soak up some sunshine first. Chickens seem to like to have a little bit of “me-time” before they get to work – don’t we all?
Plan a specific time in the afternoon before the hottest hour of the day to go out and collect eggs, perhaps just before herding them all back into the coop, being sure to check all of the waterers while you’re out.
If you have children, consider creating a chore chart to assign specific jobs to each child, and if the chickens are primarily their pets rather than your own, have them take turns with different tasks to mix things up.
For example, have them alternate with who is responsible for the cleaning, and who is responsible for the egg collection, feeding, and watering.
2. After establishing your daily routine, be proactive and create a monthly chicken care schedule.
Plan ahead on the calendar when you’re going to clean your coop, marking at least one dedicated day per month for a deeper clean that includes completely raking out the bedding of the coop interior and nest boxes, as well as hosing off all surfaces that have droppings or mud.
3. Create your own sustainable, long-lasting DIY chicken feeder and/or DIY chicken waterer.
There’s a wide variety of simple DIY chicken feeder and waterer designs on a dime that are easy to make, and require only a few tools!
These are not only cost effective initially, but in the long run, too; for a variety of reasons:
- They’re built to last. 5-gallon all purpose buckets are made from durable plastic, constructed with the idea in mind that they’re being used to carry heavy objects. Here’s a highly-rated, 100% food-grade one that’s safe to use without the risk of chemicals leaking into their food and water. Both the DIY bucket chicken feeder, as well as Cabinet-style feeders crafted from wood panels like this one, have the potential to last the entire lifetime of your flock if kept clean and mold-free. Here is an easy-peasy tutorial on making one of many possible bucket feeder designs.
- DIY chicken feeders are generally far larger in size. Most DIY chicken feeder designs can contain significantly more feed or water than the average store-bought alternative, saving you from filling feeders frequently AND from buying several feeders just to fill every mouth.
- You can add your own touch of customization. Often, people will improve on the designs of others, brainstorming creative alterations with PVC pipes or catch pans to prevent food from spilling quite unlike any innovation you’d see in a typical mass-produced, cheap feeder from the local farm store. Check out this clever no-spill feeder made with PVC pipes!