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Happy and Healthy Chickens!

Updated: May 23


Transparency: I do earn a small commission from links in my blog.


I had my first chicken when I was 12. It was a cute little Bantam chicken with a “gimp” leg. Now, I am a grandmother and wanted to have chickens (plural). You know with a cute coop and lots of  colorful chickens running around. LOL I could tell you it was for my grandchildren or for the fresh eggs, which would not be entirely false. But the honest truth is, I just wanted them, pure and simple.


My chicken journey was a bucket list item of sorts, I suppose. I am a year into this adventure and have learned many things. I have learned what I like about keeping backyard chickens and what I don’t.


I have learned what I would do differently if my journey was beginning today. You know what they say about “Hind Sight”! LOL It’s ALWAYS 20/20!!!


I have definitely learned the equipment and products l can’t live without to keep my “Girls”, aka my chickens, HAPPY & HEALTHY. That is what I want to share with you today. So, let’s dive in!


Safety First!

Keeping my chickens safe is top priority! I am constantly on the lookout for evidence of predators. Starting with a good, solid coop and chicken run is essential. Knock-on-wood, so far I haven’t had any problems. 


On my coop I do have an automatic coop door, which is set to open and close at a set time. I highly recommend!! There are automatic chicken coop doors that run on batteries and automatic chicken coop doors that run on solar. You will have to decide what works best for you and your set up. You will also probably have to train your “Girls” to go in on time with a little incentive treats for your chickens.


You will want to line your coop and nesting boxes with some sort of absorbent material. Coffee ground are supposed to be good. I suppose I might try it some time, for the experience. However, I am SOLD on Aubi Chick bedding!! I just cleaned my coop after 1 year. Just because you should clean your coop on a regular basis. I cleaned it not because it smelled bad, but that a year had gone by and it should just be done. It didn’t smell at all!! I can’t rave enough about Aubi Chick Hemp Bedding….It’s AMAZING!!! Now, don’t gasp at the price, because it goes a LONG way! I have a 4’ x 4’ and my bag of Aubi Chicken Bedding is going to last a long time! I mean like several years for my coop size.


I also use straw to line the nesting boxes. This year I have also added a layer of straw on top of the Aubi Chick Bedding material. The Girls seem to be LOVING it!


Keeping Your Chickens Healthy and Cool

After living 35 years in Houston, Texas, a year ago I moved to Austin, Texas. I am loving Austin and their openness to keeping backyard chickens! (That is a subject for another blog post!) With that being said, it is HOT in Texas!!…anywhere in Texas! Chickens DO NOT like hot weather, they do not do well. They tolerate cold easily, but not heat. So protecting them during the scorching hot months is imperative!


To help keep my chickens cool I installed a solar fan in my coop. A definite MUST HAVE in warm climates! It was quick and easy to install and does a great job at circulating the air and drawing the hot air inside the coop out. Don’t overlook this important feature for your chicken coop.


During heat waves I also use plastic saucers filled with ice inside the run. I place them inside the run, in the shade. I fill the plastic plant saucers with will ice cubes. The chickens LOVE standing in the dish of ice cubes. Chickens cool themselves through their feet. So standing in a large dish of icy, cold water is just what they need and LOVE, on those hot summer days! It’s an easy way to help your “Girls” keep cool during those hot summer months. It does take effort on your part, but well worth the effort. We had a long streak of super, hot, days last year and I did not lose any chickens. But I must say, the heat wave was a bit stressful for both me and my chickens.


Food and Water

Fresh water is vital for raising healthy chickens. Chickens can not survive long without water. Your chickens will need fresh, water to drink. After investigating many options and using a few different ones, I settled on adapting a 5 gallon, food grade bucket for their watering station. You will need a 5 gallon, food grade bucket and drink cup adapters, and a drill. The correct size drill bit comes included with the drink cups! It is pretty easy to do and doesn’t take too long. 


Having the 5 gallon bucket of water frees me up so that I can go away for a few days and not worry about their water supply. No need to hire a “Chicken Sitter”. Yes, there is such a thing. I have one of those on call, just in case. In times of crisis.


They also need feed. A good, quality feed is essential! You can get chicken feed pellets or chicken feed crumble. My chickens love the crumble. My Girls turned “Boujie” on me when I bought pellets. LOL I have also found setting up the feed in the same way as the water in a

5 gallon, food grade, bucket with feed adapters is also a game changer. Allowing me more freedom.


Don’t forget to store your chicken feed in a predator proof container. I use a plastic storage bin, that has worked well for me so far. I store mine outside near the coop for easy access. I did notice today, that after a year my container lid has dried out and has a crack, even though i store in in a shady spot. You can also use a galvanized container with a lid. I buy 50 lbs at a time. That lasts about a month for my 5 chickens. You choose what works best for your setup.


Another tip that I came up with was placing the 5 gallon bucket feeder/watered on an upside down galvanized pan. The bottom of the pan needs to be slightly wider than the 5 gallon bucket. This raises up the buckets, allowing you to place the feed and the water cups close to the bottom of the containers.  Thus maximizing the use of the contents of each container. Also this creates a comfortable height for the chickens to eat and drink. Remember our goal is “Happy Chickens!” LOL


Let’s talk about flies. Flies are one of the things I am not a fan of, when it comes to raising chickens. Try as you may to keep a clean coop you will inevitably notice an increase in flies. You will notice fly issues especially during the hot, summer months. I am still trying to find the perfect solution to this problem. Until then, here are some things you can try. Let me know your success and failures. Together, we can learn.


My chickens LOVE chicken crack!! aka Dried Mealworms. Mealworms are a great supplement for your chickens. They are a high source of protein and should be included in your chickens’ diet. They are great to:


  • Boost egg production, especially in the winter months

  • Increase egg flavor

  • Boost feather production


Now for some Bling!

Now, for some “Bling”, yes, every coop need some bling! A cute sign, a cupola on top of your coop. A chicken cam, doesn’t that sound fun?! That actually could fall under safety and not bling, you decide.

Keeping your chickens happy and healthy can be a bit of a project at times, but the hours of enjoyment and the rewards, aka fresh eggs and entertainment are worth it!



 




 


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