It’s very easy to keep chickens happy and healthy. Plus, they are very easy animals to take care of. They just need a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes at night. Obviously, they need food and water, but with just a little extra effort, they’ll be fun, family pets who give back to the household.
No freeloading chickens allowed!
Here are 3 ways to keep chickens happy and healthy:
1. Give them yummy treats
One way to keep chickens happy and healthy is to give them treats on top of their balanced diet. (To see a list of local stores that sell chicken feed, click here.) Fill their bellies with yummy treats (read: your kitchen scraps). Not only will you have less food waste, but your little chickadees will also be as happy to see you as my toddlers are to see me when I have Oreos.
Chickens also love grains, oatmeal, peas, berries, apples, watermelon rinds, lettuces, corn, carrots, and mealworms.
Make them work for their treats – hang them on a string or freeze scraps in ice cubes. As contributing members of the household, you’ll feel good about knowing what they eat and feel good about their yummy eggs.
2. Provide entertainment
Another way to keep your chickens happy is to provide entertainment for them. A little mental stimulation will lead to less boredom…and we all know the key to staying out of trouble is to make sure they’re not bored! Free-rangers probably do enough exploring to keep themselves out of trouble, but if your ladies spend all day cooped up, they’ll be harassing their sisters before you know it.
Add perches, a swing or a ladder to their coop. Chickens love to be up off the ground and aren’t afraid of heights, like me.
Natural enrichment, like a tree stump, a small hay bale, or a little pile of leaves would all provide a place for your girls to play – they’ll love jumping off, rooting around, or burrowing inside of these natural habitats.
3. Put them to bed at night
If your yard is safe, let the girls out about an hour before dusk for some supervised free-ranging. Your hens will naturally go back into their coop when the sun starts to go down.
Once they get used to you and your routine, they’ll begin to expect you in the morning and get ready for bed at night. You just have to close and lock the door to protect them from predators.
Related info: Why Chickens Need a Coop
The main benefit of spending this extra effort on your chickens is that they’ll start to look forward to you. If you go outside to tend to your chickens a couple of times a day, they’ll look forward to the attention. They will recognize you, let you handle them, and they’ll follow you around, especially if you usually have treats on you.
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chicken coop in your backyard!
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In the comments below, tell us one, easy way you keep your chickens happy and healthy?