What is your routine with your flock?


8 Years
Jan 8, 2012
Orange County, CA
I don't have chickens yet, but have chicken fever pretty badly. I'm trying to get a feel for the routine and maintenance of chickens. What do you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis? What do you do when you are away from home?

Thanks in advance!
Every day they get let out between 7-8am. They get locked back up at night when it gets dark and they all go in. New fresh water daily, and I make sure the feeders are filled everday. Coops get cleaned when they are dirty, maybe 2-3x a month for the breeder pens, egg layer coops I use the deep litter, so maybe 4x a year. During the spring/summer, i'll bleach the waterers when they start to get dirty. Every 4-6 weeks they get treated with either Permethrin 10% or Ivermectin pour on for mite/lice prevention. New sand gets added to the runs usually during the spring.

I don't have chickens yet, but have chicken fever pretty badly. I'm trying to get a feel for the routine and maintenance of chickens. What do you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis? What do you do when you are away from home?

Thanks in advance!
The winter is when they take the most time so I'll go through my winter routine. In the morning I take a gallon jug with fresh water and ACV in it out to the coop. I open up the hen house so everyone can come out for the day. I put a scoop of food in the feeder, change the water, and (if it's a nice day) I leave the gate open so they can "free range" for the day. Some time in the afternoon I go out and check for eggs (usually while I'm out feeding the other animals). Just after sunset I shut the gate then before I go to bed I go back out and lock them in the hen house for the night. In the summer I don't shut them in the hen house.

My hen house has a wooden floor and I keep a square nose shovel in the coop. When I check for eggs I also quickly scrape out the poop and displaced shavings from the night before. Lots of people use the deep litter method but I only put shavings in the nest boxes. I replace these about once a week to keep from having to wash my eggs and to replace what the hens kick out.

When I go out of town I have neighbor kids or family feed and water. They don't let the chickens free range while I'm out of town. Chickens don't take a lot of work or time especially if you have an automatic chicken door in the coop and other handy things like a nipple watering system.
Right now in the winter I give them fresh water every evening and they all have heaters in their coops to keep water from freezing. And because I feel sorry for them when it gets cold. Heaters are more for me then them :)
I give them durvet vitamins and electrolytes in their water every day in the winter. I also give them organic apple cider vinegar all year around about every 2 weeks. Their feeders are always full. My DH made me 80# feeders so its not hard to keep them full.
I clean out the coops once a year. I use a deep litter method and add fresh shavings all year. I also have really cool poop troughs that my hubby built that catches all night time poop. Which is why I can get away with only cleaning once a year. I don't like dirty coops and my kids offten help check for eggs so I make sure my coops are clean.

In the summer I use kiddie pools for watering them. I clean them about every 3 days and add vitamins to their water once a month. summer is way easier then winter. My birds have huge runs so I leave their pop doors open all the time unless the weather is really foul. The can go outside/inside when ever they want. I also feed scratch and black oil sunflower seeds as treats.
And they love my immune system booster of garlic/onions/cayenne red pepper. I give them this more offten in the winter. I mix it with warm oat meal and more scratch.
Wheew I've gone on forever! I'm sure there's more I don't remember... :)
If you have a friend or neighbor who is handy with chickens it takes a lot of pressure off. If not, it is a sobering commitment.

They need tending every day. The coop needs cleaning and eggs need to be gathered. Here, our climate is harsh, so it means going out in bitter cold, zero weather multiple times a day to gather eggs, or they'll freeze. It ties you down. Unless, as I said, you have a helper, chickens are very constraining. You cannot just go off on week long vacations or get-a-ways without having a plan.

It is better to be sober in considering these things before hand. Under estimating is mistake. You're wise to ask what you are asking.
My routine is to feed and fill waterers in the morning. During the week, I do the feeding before work and then my husband lets the different groups into their ones once the sun has come up. He fills and sets out the waterers then, too. When I get home in the evening, I collect eggs, give some corn or scratch grain, then empty out the smaller watering units so they don't freeze overnight. I change the nesting material every week, the coop floor every 5-6 weeks, and shovel out the runs once a year. We get free sand from my dad's masonry company when they order too much. That has helped keep the runs cleaner this winter. If I have newly hatched chicks, their brooders get cleaned out every few days while they're on paper and then every other week once they're on litter. The best part of the routine is the weekend- that's when I get to just sit back and watch them. If I'm going to be home all day, I'll rotate who gets to come out for the day and roam around the farm.
I feed them treats every morning, after I manually open the coop door. I lock the coop, in the early evening around 5:30 pm.

Their coop is deep litter, so once a week I clean the heavy areas. I plan on doing a full clean out in Spring. I think 2x a year I will muck out everything. Right now there is zero smell.

Once a week I also scrub their water and refill it with a tbsp. ACV and plain hose water. Their chicken feed container is filled once a week or so. We have 4 hens in a 32 sq ft coop and 200 sq ft chicken run. On the weekends, I get more time to interact with them. During the week, it gets hectic. The hens are so easy to take care of.

If I leave for the weekend, I pay a sitter to open and shut the coop. No losses yet.
One constant in my routine is change. The changes are necessary because of weather, temperature, predators, neighbors, chickens, my availability, etc. etc.

Currently, I take the kids to the bus stop just before sunrise. Come back to open the chicken door into the run because it has been in the teens lately. Throw down some treats. Check the feed, calcium and water. Scoop out the droppings. Done. Time estimate 10 minutes.

Afternoon, come home from work, open the run to free range for 30 minutes under full time supervision due to recent hawk attack. Check water and feed. Harvest eggs. Lock up run door and maybe chicken door depending on weather. Say good night. Another 10 minutes.

Any additional time would be for pleasure.
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My routine is brief in the morning, longer in the evening.

I let them out of the coop. If it is a very cold morning, I feed them warm brown rice, wild rice, noodles, bread, and anything I can. I mix their pellets with corn, flax seeds, cat/dog food (very little), table scraps from the day before, etc. I give them water and off I go to work.

When I come back, I pick eggs, change their water if dirty, give them more corn if it is cold, spend some time interacting with them and just take it easier.

I have not changed the straw in their coop since Oct or so. It is deep. I am collecting it for my compost pile. I try to have equal amounts of nitrogen (poop) and browns (straw), so my pile heats up nicely.

That's it pretty much... No stress, no rush. Just plain common sense.

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