This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after a Chicken in 3 easy steps
How long will my Chicken live? They can live 3-8 years
How big will it grow? 2-3kg
What size of enclosure is recommended for my Chicken? A chicken coop of 75” X 30” X 50”
What does a Chicken eat? Layer pellets and vegetables
Chickens, such as Isa Browns, are generally a fairly low-maintenance pet. The major challenge is protecting them from predators such as dogs and foxes.
Chickens are the perfect animal for the back yard. They convert food scraps to eggs, clean up weeds and fallen fruit, as well as providing a great source of manure for the garden. Chickens house well in either a chicken coop or a bird aviary, depending on how many chickens you have.
The enclosure should be at least 75”(W) X 30”(D) X 50”(H) and should have a run area as well as an area protected from the sun and rain. Laying hens will need nesting boxes for laying eggs and roosting perches should also be available for night time use.
Chick starter crumble is a complete diet for the first few weeks of a chickens life, after which you can start to introduce some fresh greens into their diet. Chopped spinach and similar greens are quite suitable and by 6 weeks of age they will enjoy boiled vegetable scraps. At this age they can be converted onto layer pellets or a scratch mix.
For chickens to lay effectively they need to be well fed. They should have access to layer pellets throughout the day, preferably in a hanging feeder to keep it clean and out of reach of rats and mice, as well as daily vegetable scraps and grit. If layer mash is being used soaking it the night before feeding makes it easier to digest so more nutrients can be readily absorbed.
Fresh water needs to be available at all times and should be provided in a hanging water dispenser off the ground to keep it clean.
Chickens and their coop should be sprayed with chicken safe insecticide every six weeks to kill and prevent mite and lice infestations. Worming with a broad-spectrum wormer needs to be carried out every three months.
Chickens are an animal that love to roam around and forage. When possible they should be let out to roam the garden throughout the day, however it is very important to remember to lock them back in their coop each night before dark. The skill with chicken keeping is to make them work for you, not against you, and as they can be quite destructive you should take careful consideration before letting them loose amongst your favourite plants. If your backyard has low fencing it may be an option to trim their wings.
For their foraging time outside the coop it is a good idea sprinkle a scratch mix or other grain feed around the lawn so your chickens can scratch and forage throughout the day.
Chickens naturally love having dust baths, where they will flap, roll and sit in a particularly dusty patch to spread the dust throughout their feathers. This is their natural way of ridding themselves of lice and other bugs, so it is important for their well being. If there are no dusty patches within your yard, you should try to provide your chickens with a large clay planter dish filled with fine dirt and sand instead.
Did You Know?
Isa Browns are a crossbreed between a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn and were specifically bred for their docile nature toward people and prolific egg laying capacity. During their layer years, Isa Browns will produce an average of 300+ eggs per year!
We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Chicken:
- Chicken coop or aviary
- Wood shavings bale
- Hanging feeders
- Hanging waterers
- Layer pellets
- Shell grit
- Avicare disinfectant
- Piperazine wormer
- Worming tablets
- Scratch mix
Common health issues in Chickens
Respiratory Infections: Usually caused by bacteria infecting the respiratory system of birds due to vitamin A deficiency, however can be caused by many other factors such as fungi, parasites and environmental toxins.
Worms: These parasites live in the gastrointestinal tract of poultry and can cause malnutrition or intestinal obstructions and if left untreated can be fatal.
Lice & Mites: External parasites that tend to feed on blood and feathers. Infestations can cause anaemia, a drop in egg production and reduced fertility. Without treatment, serious infestations can lead to death.
Is your Chicken showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please contact your vet.
- Nasal discharge
- Weeping eyes
- Drooped tail
At Kellyville Pets, we encourage responsible pet ownership.
CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations, you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.