Keeping chickens is rewarding, fun, and a pretty easy way to supplement your own home’s meat supply. There are a lot of different things you need to know about keeping chickens before you get started, including how much space they need and what sort of coop you should build for them. However, there are also some specific tasks involved in getting your chicken yard ready so that when it comes time to bring home that flock, everything will be set up properly for them to move right in. It may not be the most exciting part of chicken ownership, but there are many important details to think about before you begin building the coop or letting them out into an existing area with their own little home. If you want your new hens to be happy and healthy once they move in, then read on so you know exactly what needs doing before they arrive!
Check the Coop
If you already have a coop, it’s a good idea to get it inspected before you bring home your new flock. While it’s possible to build a new coop, it’s usually easiest to get a pre-existing one and just add on or modify it as necessary. When you get your new coop, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s ready for your chickens. This includes checking the flooring to make sure it’s smooth and easy to clean, but also that there are no nails or sharp edges that could hurt your flock. Make sure there’s plenty of windows for light, but also that there are no gaps between the frames where predators could get in. Also, check that there are no places where rodents could get in and create a nice home for themselves in your coop. chicken run
Rotate the Run Area
If you’re using a traditional dirt run and move your chickens to a new area each week, it’s a good idea to rotate it every 2-3 weeks instead of moving it. Why? For starters, it’s better for the soil as it doesn’t get compacted or overworked. It also cuts down on parasites and disease since they’re not constantly building up in one area. If you rotate your dirt run, you’ll be able to keep your chickens healthy and happy even longer.
Add a Misting System
Chickens will need a source of water, but if you just put a bowl out for them to drink from, it will quickly get dirty. A quick and easy way to keep water cleaner is to get an automatic mister that attaches to your water source and sprays water out into the air so it will fall back down into the coop and run. This will keep their water and food clean and prevent diseases that can be transmitted through contaminated water.
Lay Down Some Coarse Dirt
Chickens will most likely scratch in their dirt run, so you’ll want to put down some kind of covering to protect the grass below. A good idea is to use a coarse layer of dirt or sand on the surface. If you use sand, it will also help keep the coop cleaner since it can be raked out regularly to remove droppings.
Add a Chicken-Safe Fencing
Even though chickens are pretty good at staying in their run, it’s still important to have a fencing around the whole thing to keep predators out. If you have dogs or other animals that could try to get at your flock, it’s a good idea to go a bit above and beyond with the fencing. There are many chicken-safe fencing options available that won’t harm your chickens if they get tangled in them, but won’t keep out other animals either.
Install a Coop Door Lock
If you want to keep curious children or wildlife out of your chickens’ coop, you can install a door lock on the door to the coop. You can also get a lock that attaches to the run door if you want to keep dogs out or if your chickens will stay in a run with a mesh or wire front. Even if you’re keeping your coop locked, you still need to check it regularly for rodents and other pests that could chew through the door and cause trouble inside.
Chickens are a great addition to any homestead, and they don’t take much effort to care for. However, there are certain tasks that need to be completed before they arrive so that there’s a clean space for them all to move in to and thrive in. This includes making sure the coop is clean and ready for them, as well as rotating the dirt run area and installing a door lock to keep the chickens in. Once you’ve completed these tasks and let your hens out into their new home, you can be sure that they’ll be happy and healthy.
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