Sharing Some tips and Tricks I have learned.
*You are not allowed to laugh!
– Never buy your chicks from an over populated chicken farm unless you know what a sick chicken looks like.
– The first time I bought chicks they were from Craig’s List. Bad Idea! I had no idea what a healthy chicken should look like and brought home ten hens and one rooster. Within two months’ time, they had all died. To this day I had no idea why . My pen had to be disinfected before I bought more.
– Research breeds.
Some of the first birds I bought were Rhode Island Reds and the hens were great but the rooster was mean and had an issue with chasing me and everyone else. That rooster ended up in a stockpot, and my cat took pleasure in eating that bowl of soup! The Barred Plymouth Rocks we have now are friendly and even eat out of my hands.
– Learn how to tame a mean rooster.
As I mentioned earlier, I had to crockpot of the first mean rooster I had. However, I now know how to tame an aggressive rooster. You have to show him who is boss as soon as he starts showing his true colors. I do this by catching them and holding them for a few minutes every time they act up. You have to be sure to hold his legs with one hand and tuck his wings, so he does not flap around and hurt himself, or you!
– Always separate broody hens from the regular flock.
The first time I had a broody hen that actually sat and hatched eggs the other hens killed all the chicks.
– Predators are worse in the spring.
The first couple flocks I had they were free range year round. I have now found that flying predators are worse in the spring, and I now keep the flock in the hen house when they are not outside in during spring time. My best hen protection is my dog.
– Fast growing meat chickens are not always the healthiest.
The first batch of meat chicken I bought grew so fast they couldn’t support their weight on their legs. I know now that it takes longer to raise some breeds to a good butchering size but they are so much healthier, happier and tastier.