Problems to Expect When Raising Backyard Chickens
Chickens are generally healthy, hardy and happy animals that can also be very friendly to people and to each other (and other animals). But, unfortunately, a reality about chicken farming it is simply that chickens are very prone to sickness, pain and behavioral problems. It never seems to matter how careful chicken farmers are – health and behavioral issues always seem to crop up even with the best care and the most careful care is paid for. Basically, the truth is that problems arise with chicken farming.
Most chicken problems are very common and generally quite benign. Some require minimal adjustments to solve them. Some of the common problems, no matter how careful you are, require an immediate and severe response so you don’t lose the whole lot. Here are the most common problems you can expect with chickens and how you can fix them.
Predation This is a very common and heartbreaking problem that every chicken farmer will likely have to deal with at least once in their life. It seems that everything wants to eat chickens, from the hawks and eagles that fly through the sky, to the neighbor’s dog. Raccoons, foxes, wildcats, bears, snakes, cats, owls, and many other animals are common problems. Securing your hen house correctly or buying well done chicken coop kits can help deter predators from taking chickens while they are in the hen house (which is very common). While the chickens are out of the henhouse, keep safe chicken racing that is covered will help deter aerial predators and daytime predation. If you insist on freely raising your flock outside the confines of a fenced chicken coop, provide plenty of tree cover to quell hawk and eagle attacks, and buy chicken breeds that thrive in the wild and are very knowledgeable about predators.
Disease. Chickens are as susceptible to viral, bacterial, parasitic, and congenital diseases as any other animal. Vaccines are available to immunize your birds against common but deadly diseases such as Mericks disease. You should check with your local extension agent or veterinarian as to whether or not these diseases are prevalent in your area before purchasing chicks, or if you have birds that are healthy but have not been vaccinated. Other diseases, such as simple viral infections, can manifest in chickens in many ways and are generally best avoided, as you would in a person, in isolation. Practice the best sanitary care you can and don’t be afraid to use products like diatomaceous earth or bird powder. Medicines are available for agricultural use that you can find in food stores, but always check with a veterinarian before taking medication. Have a quarantine system ready to go at all times, clean and ready. A kennel lined with old but clean towels is a good start. Any sick chicken should be isolated from the flock.
Aggression. Roosters are the common culprits, but chickens can sometimes be aggressive towards people and other chickens in the flock. Aggressive chickens can be very troublesome if they attack people and other chickens. These chickens can do more harm than good within the herd and are often difficult to relocate and may need to be euthanized. Fortunately, aggressive chickens are rare. Multiple roosters in a small flock with chickens will almost guarantee aggression from roosters to each other, to chickens (with forceful and aggressive mating behavior), and to people. If you want a rooster, have only one rooster for every 6-10 hens to help quell aggressive force mating behavior and decrease your need for competition. If your rooster is attacking people, this is usually a problem that cannot be solved by training or adding chickens to breed and protect. Humans-aggressive roosters should be re-housed or, in extreme cases, euthanized. Sometimes people report that they can retrain an aggressive rooster by capturing and cuddling it, which can work. And of course, not all roosters are aggressive towards people.
Behavior problems that are not necessarily related to the aggression. Chickens can be neurotic. They do things like cannibalize each other out of sheer boredom. They will lay eggs, then turn around and eat the eggs they just laid. They eat things like paper clips, screws, and pieces of plastic. Their hierarchical order can isolate a chicken and prevent it from eating. For these types of behavior problems, make sure your chickens are fully engaged at all times; This doesn’t mean that you have to set up a 3-track circus for your birds, but they should have enough room to move and explore while doing it. do normally. They need to be able to dust bathe and scratch the ground, explore under stone logs. They need to be able to jump on things. They need a varied diet more than their formulated crumble (but scientifically formulated crumble is great for basic nutrition and will help prevent cravings for eggs and random junk). Offer up simple and fun treats like lettuce, halved watermelon, or even cooked winter squash. Tallow cakes are excellent winter treats. Offer them plenty of natural perches and rocks on their closed course, or run safely.
Chicken farming They can be a wonderful addition to the home garden and are essential on the farm. They offer immense enjoyment and seem to just “fit” into human life. They are fun, cute, and beautiful. They offer much more in return than what is given to them. Despite the problems chicken owners will have to face, they are so worth it!