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Tips on Chickens: Why Did the Chicken Actually Cross the Road?

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Tips on Chickens: Why Did the Chicken Actually Cross the Road?

Tanya Richards

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Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it wanted to find a home. Not a home at KFC or Popeyes or in someone’s stomach, but a loving home with a family who won’t think about them as just a chicken, but as a lifelong companion. (Even though they only live about 10 years) The horrific state of many chickens in the United States is often overlooked, many farmers don’t even notice when a chicken has died in its cage. Many people have recognized this issue and this has led to an increase of backyard chickens! Here is some advice if you want to raise backyard chickens:

 

Make Sure you Select the Right Breed – Some chickens are better at laying eggs or are more friendly than others. For example, Buff Orpingtons are super friendly but super hard to catch. They lay good eggs and are have simple golden-brown feathers. Other chicken breeds like Plymouth Rock are very good at tolerating cold weather.

 

Protect Your Chickens From Predators – Chickens can be attacked by many city prowlers like racoons, cats, and even hawks when they are little. Dogs are also a huge predator, always cut the “flight wings” of your chickens, which are the very tips of their wings. This renders their feathers useless for flying too high, so they can’t jump over fences.


Teach them How to Drink – This may seem like they’re dumb, but baby chicks must be taught how to drink water. They will not drink water unless you physically dip their beak into the water bowl. Also, never forget to be very gentle with baby chicks, if you pick them up to much, it might ruin their growing process.

 

Know What You’re Getting Into – Taking care of chickens requires a lot of patience. Even hens crow in the morning and they poop a lot. So make sure to be equipped with a large chicken coop and let them roam free outside all day. Make sure to lock them up at night so they’re safe from the night predators, like owls. Chickens are not dogs, they are big birds who love to run free and cuddle for very short amounts of time. You can even train them to come to you by making a particular call/sound when you give them food. I did this with mine by saying, “Ba, ba, ba, ba…”. And they naturally come to me, since they know it means food. Soon you can use this call to gather them all up so you can put them in the coop, or even just for fun. Chickens CAN be trained, it’s so much more easy than training dogs. Maybe.

 

Chickens typically live 7-8 years, but some even live up to 12 years. But, this is dependent on what you feed them (organic food v.s. cheap food with chemicals), and how well their environment is. Chickens prefer an open environment with trees, plants, moist soil, and tons of room. The best gift you can give a chicken is an acre of roaming space which translates to eternal free time and happiness for chickens. And remember that many chickens die pretty soon from sicknesses that you may not recognize. Chickens don’t show if they’re feeling bad, most illnesses are not diagnosable. Only a vet or someone who has had chickens for a long time (ahem, me) can see the tiredness on their face or their drooped comb. It takes practice, so to properly care for them, you must look after them well.

 

Love them with all your heart, because where else would they be if it weren’t for you? Maybe a crowded cage where they would die a mere year later. Or even just bred to be killed as soon as they’re an adult. You need chickens, and these chickens need you.

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