I cant necessarily say i have been poultry keeping ever since i saw chickens...
That would be a story i could tell...but no, I've grown with chickens around me...I've always had a strong love for chickens and all. But some lessons i have learnt along the way have been painful, and some mistakes have been caused by me not knowing about a particular thing in the first place.
So, here is a list of 20 things i wish i had known before keeping poultry.
Photo courtesy of a google search
1. Chicken Wire is NOT predator proof
It may be great for coop builds. But it certainly is not predator proof...that i learned the hard way. Dont laugh....We dont have foxes or bears or things like that..but one morning i walked into the coop and found one of my silkies dead in the run.
Moving into the coop i found this massive Olive Python, in the roosting spot, finishing of another one of my silkies. Right there and then, i discovered no matter the size of the predator, they WILL find a way in when chicken wire is involved.
2. Heat is a killer
Chickens have survived years without human interaction, you know, back when humans didn't even have chickens. Really, you would think that if you provide shade and cool water they can survive those horrible hot days.
They need alot more than shade and cool water...and since boiling hot days exist here..i definitely learnt that the hard way.
My older hen, who was getting picked on suffered from the heat. I made a pen for her, away from all the other chickens and provided cool water and shade.
She passed on...and i felt terrible! Hens who and Roosters need much more when it comes to those hot days...a few options are:
Freezing their feed
Icing their water
Provided a Mister
Provided ice cold shallow water
Trial and Error.
This is a photo taken by me
3.Ducks are Horny little devils
Dont get me wrong, i love the little fellas. But i wish i knew how Horny the males were before i got them.
Already the Drake has been bullying other hens trying to mate them, ditto on the turkey. He does do my head in somedays...
Its partly my fault to because i raised the two in the photo with chickens....that was a mistake
4. Some Turkey hens are not good mothers
Well to chicken babys at least..
I really wish someone told me about this before i set my turkey hen with eggs....As soon as a pip came, the Turkey hen, devoured the egg, and the little chick was barely alive...it died. In between that the hen ate most of the eggs during incubation..
5. Build a bigger coop than you think you need
Chickens are addicting. Full stop.
Rule of thumb is too always build a bigger coop than needed...we started with only 6 chicks, made a small coop, quickly expanded by 10, and then 10 more and 10 more and so on..the coop could not house so many chickens, so a new coop was build, and a while later, expanded that coop again...
Thankfully, there is now a big 2 coops, and separate breeding pens....that should last for a while
6. Chicken math is dangerous
No one ever told me how chicken math totally kicks in when you fall in love with those fur balls.
7. Chickens are escape artists
Everybodys always saying chickens are not smart..ok well maybe just the non chicken lovers say that,
The coop was not fit for escape-es, because i figured they wont know how to get out, if they could.
Most chicken find escape routes, somehow..even now, i still have chickens that love to escape...
8. Chickens eat your garden. To.The.Ground
When the chicken adventure first started, all the chickens were free range. All the gardens were ruined.
They tear the garden down to ground, and dont care one single bit...all the growing banana palms were ruined, and have not grown since. Thats something you wont read in books. Chickens are eating machines that wont stop! They eat everything in site....even meat.
Photo was taken by me
9. People will think your Insane
None chicken loving people will think your insane....When your ranting on about how special your chickens are, when you go on about how Blue Bell was so clever and laid a egg in the nest box, when you go on about making sure the chicks at home in the brooder are ok, when you hope they aren't too cold or overheating, when you talk about their individual personality's, and when you rant about getting new chickens this after- noon... Non Chicken loving people WILL give you those looks, will think your insane, and may sit 2 seats away from you
No that hasn't happened, it was just an example
I found this picture with a google search, but it has come from BYC, (so credit goes to however owns it)
10. The Pecking order can be Jagged
Its true! Before you dont own chickens, you think the pecking order is a few pecks here and there, and maybe a bit of a ruffle up..never ever would you think its so harsh your chickens can end up in isolation cages for a week. Its very easy to get the pecking order mixed up with trying to kill each other...
I've seen hens (And roosters) just turn into little monsters, meaning hard pecking, screaming, pulling feathers, the list is endless! Im telling you, everybody better watch out for the top chickens!