Have you ever thought about raising backyard chickens? If so, we wouldn’t blame you. After all, raising chickens has several benefits.
You get fresh eggs on a daily basis, can teach your children about the responsibilities of raising pets, and can raise your own meat.
However, there are certain things you need to know before embarking on this adventure. If you don’t have any experience raising chickens, you can lose baby chicks to accidental deaths.
We don’t want to see that happen to your or to your chickens. Keep reading for our top tips for care when raising backyard chickens.
1. Baby Chicks Need a Stable Environment
First, if you’re like most people, you’ll get your baby chicks when they’re just a couple of days old. At this age, they can’t create their own body heat or regulate their temperature.
As such, you’ll need to raise the baby chicks in a stable, warm environment for the first four to six weeks. This is especially important if you live in a climate with cold winters.
If you don’t have a heated barn or garage, your best bet is to raise them inside. A heat lamp won’t do the chicks any good if the outside temperature is close to or below freezing.
2. Baby Chicks Can Die From “Pasty Butt”
Next, understand that baby chicks are vulnerable to a condition colloquially called “pasty butt.” Baby chicks don’t have their adult feathers yet. Instead, they have down, which is more like fur.
Unfortunately, when they defecate, their feces can get tangled up in their tail feathers. Eventually, this can create a clog, preventing them from defecating. Sadly, this can kill a baby chick in less than 24 hours.
To prevent this from happening, you might need to pluck the down off their bottoms. It will be unpleasant but it can save their life.
3. The Right Tools and Equipment Can Make Your Life Easier
When raising backyard chickens, you can make your life easier by investing in the right tools and necessary equipment. We recommend getting chicken feeders and waters that will disperse large amounts of food over time based on how quickly they consume them.
If you use a simple bowl or dish, the chicks will defecate and urinate in the food and water. You’ll have to change it out more frequently and will spend far more than you need to. Click here to see more on chicken feeders and waterers.
4. You Need to Provide Adequate Shelter
Finally, once the chicks are old enough to be moved outside, you still need to provide a reliable shelter for them. A chicken coup is essential for raising backyard chickens.
An adequate shelter will protect them from the elements and any natural predators in the area. Even if you live in a developed neighborhood, natural predators include:
- Birds of Prey
- And more
On top of providing a chicken coup, we also recommend keeping your chickens in a fenced yard. During colder months, it’s a good idea to invest in a heat lamp and plenty of bedding.
Planning on Raising Backyard Chickens?
If raising backyard chickens is on your to-do list this year, follow the tips for care listed in this article. We want you (and your chickens) to be as successful as possible. The more you know, the better off your chickens will be.
And if you’re looking for more homeowner or pet advice, check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog was created to be a wide source of information for readers like you. Our goal is to make your life easier, happier, and more successful.