Common chicken pet mistakes?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Griffin, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Griffin

    Griffin Hatching

    Jun 11, 2008
    Hi all - first time poster . . .

    I’m strongly thinking of caring for chickens as pets, what type I haven’t yet decided . . . I’m trying to do a bit of research before I get too involved! [​IMG]

    I’d like to ask this fine forum a question:

    There are two parts to my question . . .

    What are some common mistakes that people make when they get their ‘feet wet’ in caring for chickens?

    I’d like to know so that I don’t make the same mistakes! :|

    . . . or, what are the Do’s and Don’ts you feel are important to know about while taking care of these feathery friends!?

    Thanks for your help! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  2. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    Check out Raising Chickens 101 link on the home page.

    Oh, and [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  3. domromer

    domromer Songster

    May 11, 2007
    Starting out with too many the first time.
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Welcome to BYC!!

    I agree that starting out with too many chickens is a biggy.

    Having too small of coop for the chickens.

    Not making your coop predator proof from the get go.
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    What are some common mistakes that people make when they get their ‘feet wet’ in caring for chickens?

    Griffin, welcome.
    Here are the usual Elderoo responses to this question. Do with them what you will....

    First, The poultry world is divided on the "pet issue." Warm and fuzzy types view them as pets, the more pragmatic folk call them livestock. Decide early which side you are on. Much hinges on the decsision.

    For me, chickens are not great pets. They are living things, and they can be bent to your control, but they arent great as pets. Some of them do come close to being a decent pet, of sorts. But, alas, they have horrid toilet habits and in general don't respond well to your influence. If you want a warmly responsive pet, I suggest you get a dog.

    They are, however, first rate livestock animals, especially for the beginner. They are nearly self-regulating if you allow them to be and are hardy if you do your part up front. They respond well in places and ways that other creatures simply cannot. I suggest you consider them livestock with unique, "petlike" attributes.
    What are the Do’s and Don’ts you feel are important to know about while taking care of these feathery friends!?

    The Five Rules of Chickens

    1. Proper Food/water
    This means fresh and clean, on both counts. For most, a prepared commercial ration and as much green feed (veggies) as you can offer is the ticket. Chickens eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water - be prepared to give them the proper fulfillments for their appetite

    2. Housing
    It needs to be airy and sound. Fresh air is paramount, as all sorts of crippling diseases come of quarters that are too close. It must be watertight to avoid dampness and stout enough to withstand life in the elements. It must also be cost effective. Suitable chicken lodgings - and the fixtures to furnish them - are easy to make from recycled, scrounged, gathered or cast off materials. They needn't cost an arm and a leg. Indeed they shouldn't.
    The housing must also accommodate the birds in relative comfort. Allow a minimum of 4 sq ft per bird of interior space. Double that if you can arrange it, especially if they are to spend much of their time indoors during the winter

    3. Protection
    In this case I mean from predators. Every creature with tooth and claw wants to eat a chicken. You must provide physical protection form these threats if you are to be a responsible steward. And dont think because you may live in the city that there arent any predators - you'll be wrong.
    If you are a city dweller, learn to clip their wings, too, so they will not wander as far from your safe protection.

    4. Cleanliness
    Like you, chickens do best when kept clean. UNLIKE you, they are not able to do it for themselves, so you have to build that in. 70% of what a chicken takes in, goes right back out as waste. Filth and feces must not be allowed to accumulate. Good drainage in the chicken environs eliminates water pooling and the resultant disease choked muck. Make sure you are well drained in the chicken yard BEFORE you add chickens. Getting in and knocking back dust and dirt periodically is important.
    Being aware of the various "bugs" and parasites that can bother chickens (and how to control them) is important, as well.

    5. Enough Space
    It takes 430 sq ft for the earth itself to absorb the droppings and scratching of ONE hen. Thats a yard area over 20 x 20 sq ft. - for one bird. You can shrink that requirement with good management, but that begins to make chicken keeping a drudge. The fact remains... overcrowding is the number one problem most chicken keepers face, both in the scoop and in the chicken yard. Worse, it's a self-inflicted and totally preventable problem.
    Most people dont even come close to the ideal space allowance, crowding as many birds as possible into the smallest space available. Don't make the same mistake.

    [Vaults of money have been emptied, to correct the issues surrounding these last two. 90% of all problems with chickens can be eliminated by being mindful of them going in. ]

    You'll find as this thread goes on that my comments will be out of fashion in the main. But I find that when I adhere to my own advice, especailly the latter two, I have a near zero-problem chicken yard.

    There are many more things that will come of this, but that's my input in the beginning.​
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2008
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Furthermore, the one biggest, often most upsetting... is coming home with two yellow fluffy chicks, to find out 3 weeks later they are not the dream layers but rather meat birds. So if you get them from a feed store who does not affirm with you that they are selling meat birds, ask. Also know that sexing is 90% right, so getting a rooster is not unusual and you'll want to be wiling to give them up if you can't keep them.

    Most my birds are considered livestock to me, be them for food or eggs, but I have a few pet birds who are to live out their lives roaming around at home.
  7. ncgnance

    ncgnance Songster

    Aug 22, 2007
    Iredell County, NC
    Elderoo, You are so wise, are you older than me????[​IMG]
  8. Griffin

    Griffin Hatching

    Jun 11, 2008
    Hi guys and gals!

    Wooowww . . . ! [​IMG]

    Such a great response . . . !

    Thanks to silkiechicken, elderoo, Chirpy, domromer, chcknrs and ncgnance for your very informative comments . . . !

    This is a great start for me. [​IMG]

    Thanks so much . . . this encourages me that this might be a great decision!

    I think I'm going to decide on bantams . . . is that how you spell it?

    chcknrs > thanks - must have overlooked that link - good stuff there.

    elderoo > Wow! If this isn't informative, I don't know what is! :| Thanks.

    silkiechicken > good to think about.

    Chirpy > Thanks for the welcome! [​IMG] And useful advice - thanks!

    domromer > yes - I can see that happen'! :eek:

    I'm sure that with this early response I'll probably be enudated with more comments and advice . . . thanks all - and I look forward to hearing more from many of you! [​IMG]

    This is 1 really ACTIVE forum!



  9. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    [​IMG] [​IMG] The BIGGEST mistake!!!..... thinking that you will JUST be getting a FEW pet chickens!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Elderoo, You are so wise, are you older than me????

    Quite possibly.​

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