I feel like it'd be nice to start a thread full of things that chicken owners have learned in the hopes of helping new owners start off right in raising happy, healthy chickens (some long-time owners may even learn some stuff also). I've had my 7 chickens (used to be 8 but gave the 2nd rooster away) for three years, and only until recently did I lose one, which I'll talk about in a bit. Three years isn't a long time, but even so I've learned a few things, and if any of you have stories and tips you'd like to share, please do so! Check them over daily- Usually, I give them a quick look over when I let them out to free range, and another look over when I lock them up for the night. I don't really do any close look overs daily, just if I think something's wrong I give them more attention (or on special occasions...). I've found that usually, if something's really wrong, it's pretty plain to see. But you can do close examinations if you want to be extra sure, there's certainly nothing wrong with being extra attentive! Close look overs before long trips- This ties in to the tip above, about close look overs on special occasions. I found this out recently with the loss of my hen, Pretty. On July 4th, I went on an eight day trip to Paris, France. I didn't look my chickens over super well, just the normal quick ones I usually do. My dad was left in charge of my flock, and I figured they'd be fine as usual. The day after I left Pretty was found with severe Fly Strike. She was too far passed saving, so my dad put her out of her misery. I don't know when it began, but since it was so advanced I can only think it started before I left. If I had looked her over closely, maybe I would've found it before it went so far. Pretty is the brown one in the center. Her feathers had a different hue than the rest. They were more orange-ish and colorful, and she was the biggest hen I had. I thought she was a pretty chicken, and that's how she got her name. I miss seeing her out in the flock. Get rid of the flies when they come- As we've just learned, flies can be DANGEROUS. Get them out of your coop and run as much as possible. Put hay in your run if it's muddy. Clean out the coop and put fresh bedding in. Fly traps. If their feeder is outside, try to minimize how much spills out. If that gets wet that REALLY attracts flies. My dad put a barrel lid under the feeder, and did all the things I listed above. When I came home, there weren't that many flies. Disclaimer: you probably aren't going to get ALL the flies out, so don't freak out if there's still some buzzing around . If you feel like you should do something, you probably should- I have a hen, Quackers (she's a chicken that sounded kinda like a duck when she was younger, so that's where she got her name), that one winter night I saw that she was bleeding a lot from her comb. But, I've seen my chickens bleed from their combs and they turn out fine so I figured she would too, and combs just naturally bleed a lot anyway. The next night she slept on a narrow ledge in front of a nest box, probably to get away from the other hens. They were probably pecking on her, and I thought about separating her but thought nah, she'll be fine. Well, since the ledge was so thin her toes were exposed to the cold night air and got severe frost bite that eventually resulted in the loss of five and a half toes. She's still alive, but she certainly doesn't get around like she used to. She's also picked on more, but that's died down a bit from the beginning. If I just went with my initial gut feeling she would've turned out just fine. Count them at night- It's good to count them when you lock them up for the night. Sometimes, a chicken just won't be in there. It may be in a tree somewhere or something. There have been multiple times when I counted them and one was missing, so then I had to look around the yard and in the trees to find it. There was one time when My rooster, Biggie (he's a big rooster, hence his name), was missing. I turned around and he was just standing behind me. He wasn't there when I first went out, and I have no idea where he came from, but he was probably trying to jump-scare me. He likes to sneak up behind people and dogs... I think I've written enough for one day. I'm sure I've got more tips to share and I'll add them if I think of them. I hope others add on to my list as well!