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Chicken Care Tips

Are you considering getting some chickens? More and more people are keeping backyard chickens, and with good reason. There are actually some great benefits to keeping poultry. Not only will your chickens give you fresh eggs, they will also eat many harmful insects. Plus, they’re really fun to watch! Read on as a local North Dallas, TX vet discusses basic chicken care.

Research

Before purchasing chickens, you’ll need to do some research. First and foremost, make sure you can legally keep them at your house. Check city, county, and state regulations. If you live in a subdivision, check neighborhood rules as well. You’ll also want to consider your neighbors. Not everyone appreciates a rooster’s wake-up calls! (Note: fresh eggs may smooth over noise objections in some cases.)

Health

Take time to learn about signs of illness, so you know what to watch for. Some common ones are coughing, wheezing, or rasping; mangy feathers; a pale comb; and isolation. Immediately isolate any bird that shows symptoms. Ask your vet for more information.

Coop

You’ll need to buy or build a chicken coop. Opt for one that is well-ventilated, roomy, and strong enough to keep out predators. Your feathered pals will need dust baths, a heat lamp, perches and bars, and nesting boxes. (Tip: set the boxes up in a way that makes it easy for you to gather eggs.) On average, you’ll need one box for every four hens. As for bedding, you’ll want to add some straw to the nesting boxes, and put a more absorbent bedding down on the floor. Add a run or enclosure, so your chickens have more room, especially if you don’t plan to let them roam freely. Your chickens may also appreciate swings and hay bales for entertainment.

Feeding

Your feathered pals will need food and water containers. You may also want to get a drinker, especially if you plan to hatch chicks. As for feed, there are different types to choose from. Layer pellets are high in calcium, and are great for laying hens. Finisher feed, on the other hand, has lots of protein, and is often fed to meat chickens. There’s also high-quality feed, which is suitable for all chickens. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice.

Please contact us, your local North Dallas, TX pet clinic, with any questions or concerns about caring for chickens. We’re here to help!

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