Introduction: Tips for Chickens

Picture of Tips for Chickens

hey, my name is Zak and i have two lovely chickens. They are both female, so no early wake up call for me! Cortney is the totally black one and Bab's is the brown/ginger one.

This Instructable is going to be about how to care for your chickens and what they like to do. Even if you don't have a chicken, its still funny to find out about what they do. The first page will be all you need to no about a chickens environment then i will go on to there behavior.

Step 1: Enviroment

Picture of Enviroment

My chickens are free to roam my garden, this is because when we used to have a little pen for them they either used to fly over the top or dig a hole under the fence. So now we have dog, cat and chickens living in harmony.At first we thought that the cat and the dog would end up eating them, but they seem, to be ok with them. Well i say ok with them, the chickens normally gang up against my dog and end up pecking his nose when he is sniffing around them.

i suggest, if you are thinking of getting some hens, that you keep them them in a sealed off area, like a pen or a run. around my area there are lots of fox's, this is because i live in a forest...well a small village in a forest.Its all a bit over hyped, farms will go on about how they get foxes in the farms eating and just ripping their chickens to pieces, this sometimes happens but i have never had this situation. they don't seem to bother, i have had fox's in my garden just walk past the chickens in the past, so really there is no need to kill it. its just natural.

My hens live in an old shed about half way up the garden at the moment, this is because we are going to be building on the house so its just easier to move them around. if your going to get 1 or 2 hens then the coups are the way to go. They are small,comfortable and is strangely warm. They range from different prices depending on what size you want. You don't want it to be to big or it will get cold and you don't want it to be to small or they will start fighting.

Step 2: Habits

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habits, not rabbits but habits. The chicken is known to be as smart as dog's and pig's, so this means they are good at learning, usually how to get in the house. Its that horrible feeling when you go down stairs and you think someone is burgling your house, but it just turns out to be a chicken pecking crumbs off the floor. This is because they have found that jumping on the handle of the door makes the door open.

The other thing they like to do is perch on the kitchen windowsill. Very scary if its dark, just sat there clucking at you as if they want to come inside. It is kind of cute sometimes, especially when they pretend they haven't done anything but really they have been in the bin.

Chickens love to scrat around for worms and other insects they find on the floor, this will wreck you're grass, but it makes the soil really fertilized. ( yep, its true). There are lots of bad points about that though, as fertilizer is feces, so yep, it means you get a lot of chicken poo around your garden. good and bad points, mostly bad but we all do it. its not nice when you trend in it and they do it straight after eating. (i will make the point that there eating all day. thats some big amount of poo).

To keep your beautiful chickens happy and make sure there nails are at a good length, put sweet corn or normal chicken feed in some sawdust and scatter it around they usually scrat. It gives them more of a challenge and it will let them use there claws. if you leave them on wood or concrete (battery farms) there claws will get really long and start to in growing or get infected. You can also add Vaseline to their feet, this will stop them getting dry.

Step 3: Diet and What to Feed Them

Picture of Diet and What to Feed Them

There diet is simple, chicken feed and scraps like bread and sweet corn. They will find there own food as well, you will see them digging up worms and eating the spiders,but generally they are ok on there own. They find there own water, but its nice just to put a bowl of water down for them. Great to what them when they drink, they tilt there head back and swallow, its funny when the other one tries to drink it out of her mouth to.Always put enough down, they will fight constantly for food,and never feed one at a time, always feed them at the same times they don't get jealous.

The different types of food also change how much they lay. my chickens haven't laid there egg's in a wile, thats because they tend not to in the winter. They also tend not to lay were you think they would, they usually end up in a bush or in the other shed. They will dig a small hole and sit in it, don't get to close to them when they are laying, they peck, trust me i know.

Step 4: Last Few Words

Picture of Last Few Words

I am sorry its not that long, i wanted to add about battery farming and there house. but unfortunately i haven't got time, i will add on to it soon. I really, really hope you vote for me, and i hope you consider getting some chickens yourself.

please vote for me!!!


treesneedtobehugged (author)2009-10-24

If you live in the desert you can feed chickens SCORPIONS. Just go out at night with a black light, nippers, and a glass jar and on a good night during the summer you can catch over 40! The chickens love them and i just go around with a group of neighbors around the neighborhood catching many in a glass jar. Will be posting a scorpion hunting guide soon

Please do post the scorpion hunting guide. That seems like it would be interesting to read :)

rosewood513 (author)2009-07-24

I have 5 chickens all hens. You should feed then what is called scratch, it contains different things, oats and wheat and cracked corn. you should feed them cracked corn not whole corn as they do not have teeth to chew it is hard for them to chew whole corn. I do not eat my girls but if people do that is fine how do you think we eat? Your girls are very pretty.

finton (author)rosewood5132013-03-15

Whole corn is fine: I bulk feed my 8 hens pellets, and cracked grains/molasses ("Chook Chow"*). As entertainment I scatter whole maize around their 120m2 pen to keep them busy for the day. Because chickens don't have teeth, they need grit (little stones or, to a lesser degree, shell) to grind up food in their gizzard, but this can handle even maize.


becauseican (author)rosewood5132009-07-25

i had 5 chickens. now i have 1. 4 are gone. probably cayotes the last girl is horrifies. any tips?

GnomeMaster (author)becauseican2009-08-15

did you do all of that math in your head? (that was a playful little kid voie)

becauseican (author)GnomeMaster2009-08-16

no i had to write it out

rosewood513 (author)becauseican2009-07-25

I live on as preserve where there are lots of foxes etc. You have to be careful with your girls. You must keep them in a run when you are not there and when you are sleeping. the run must have a cover or roof. I don't know what to tell you since the coyote now knows he can have free food when he wants. Chickens are very social beings and they need family around them, you have to get at least two more hens to keep her company ore just send her to a farm where she can be with others. One suggestion is to take cat box litter or dog pooh and sprinkle it around, if you are a guy (tinkle yourself) around where your girls are thhis mayn help keep them away.(do it at night :) ) I have a dog that "goes" in my yard and it seems to deter other animals, they think there is prey watching them and leave us alone. I have not lost one hen yet. But that could just be luck. There are many other things you can do also, hang aluminum pie tins around the yard and the wind blows them and scares the wildlife. a motion sensor that lights up sometimes helps or just keep a back light on. Get a dog. But don't leave "it" out alone, coyotes don't seem to care what they eat. I hope this helps.

becauseican (author)rosewood5132009-07-26

thank you. we have a dog house surounded by a nice sized section of fencing. we had a tarpoline roof so hawks cant see it. because the dooor is so small we started covering it with plexiglass so she should be safe. we have have afriend with a chiken farm and another friend friend with alot of chickens but no farm so we will trey to buy off of him. as i am typing my chicken is grazing the lawn. i leave my dog outside for good mesure.

rosewood513 (author)becauseican2009-07-26

That is great, always keep an ear open. This morning I heard them scream, it actually sounds like screaming when they are frightened. I ran out and found an Eagle sitting on my fence watching them. The girls went crazy I shoed him away and put the girls back in their pen. Close call whew! Now I have to be extra careful since the eagle knows they are here. I will try to rig some lines from the house to the woods and tie to the trees with some aluminum foil hanging from the line. That may help frighten the eagle. Take care feel free to email me again; good luck!

becauseican (author)rosewood5132009-07-28

yesterday i got 3 more chickens wich are only 6 weeks old. they dont seem to go near the older one. today i saw one of the flapping around like crazy and i thought it was stung by a wasp but it actually had string wrapped around it. do u know how to get the chickens together.

rosewood513 (author)becauseican2009-07-28

You have to understand what is caled the peckin order, the older hen will automatically be boss and will most likely not want any new ones to come along. there are several wany to introduce chicks to the older hen. You might introduce them across a wire fence first so they can see each other. You have to be careful because she could hurt them at that age if she decides to. She might just ignore and co-exist with them after putting them in their place (in the pecking order) Some would just put the little ones in the coop at night in the dark. I don't know how well this works with so many little ones. I would prefer the method of letting the hen get to know them through the fence and spark her motherly instincts. The little ones (pullets) will be fearful of the hen for awhile till they feel safe so I would keep them seperate but close enough for them to see and hear each other. Don't forget the hen lost her whole family and she is scared they do not understand like we do. Think about how you woiuld introduce a puppy to a dog that has been around a long time. It must be done gently if you have time you could try taking one little one at a time into the coop or pen and getting it fairly close to the hen but if the hen is not friendly to humans to best way is to keep them close but apart. Understand this? It usually works but you have to keep an eye on them anyway. I had a small pullet come in and was almost Pecked to death by the hens I had to send it back. Good luck

becauseican (author)rosewood5132009-07-28

thank you. our older hen has started becoming more comfortable with them but not that much. regardless of howq the older hen treats them the little chickens are very social as they were in a petting zoo before we bought them.

lunchboxslayer27 (author)2008-06-12

how much duz a chicken cost?

Mattrox (author)lunchboxslayer272008-12-14

most battery farms will sell you there unhealthy chickens. they wont lay for about a week but soon most will. and think about it you will give them a better live. my sister did this and when she got them they had lost most of the feathers and looked in bad shape but its now a week or three later and they look great and have made 34.00 to 50.00 dollars for her

finton (author)Mattrox2013-03-15

I have some of these rescued battery hens: I'd love to treat the "farmers" to a few weeks in the same conditions they keep their hens! I have an upcoming 'ible on the environment I have for them...

Mirime (author)lunchboxslayer272011-04-25

Honestly if you are serios about getting some chickens just place an ad in your paper saying that you can take "easter chicks" with your phone number and you will get more calls that you will expect. people get "cute, little fluffy, chicks" for thier rugrats for easter theen a week or so later they find out that they lose that fluff and are very dandruff-y and the chick-moon for the kids is over cause they actually have to take care of the chicks. yesthat was bichty but very honest, because we get many chicks ducks and once a goose after easter becaus ethe parents don't want to just dump the birds but dont know what the work is involed for taking care of birds. happy that they dont just dump the birds but when the same dad comes back for three years in a row......

Atlas22 (author)lunchboxslayer272009-11-23

i got my chicks for 1.50 each(USA) and so far, no dead pets. (the flea market around where i live is unpredictable...) :)

jab0592 (author)lunchboxslayer272009-03-08

I got 6 for £15 (bout $22 for u Americans out there! lol) from a battery farmer up the road. These are only bantam layers but i usually get bout 4 eggs per day even now in winter!! but I dunno what pricing is like in the USA good luck! there great! :D

angusp2 (author)jab05922009-04-07

You can get one for less than $5USD bantams are more expensive but you can get bantams that are only 3 inches tall (cute!) silkies have afros and rhode island red shavers are tame, curious, and lay a lot. We Have 9 Chickens over here in New Zealand and i think they are the best pets ever!

becauseican (author)angusp22009-07-28

i had 5 rhode island reds but 4 were eaten by predators. i got 2 more rhode island reds that are only6 weeks old ans i got one black chicken but the younger chicks seem to stay away from the large one.

zako (author)jab05922009-07-02

that seems about right for England. i got mighn from birth at a farm, but there is a battery farm near us ( and god it stinks some times) and people just go nick them out of there. but they sell them for like £2 anyway.

awang8 (author)lunchboxslayer272009-06-30

In South-East Queensland, Australia, you can get them for under $30 at City Chicks. I really don't want to pay that much, I'll see if I can find any other places.

zako (author)lunchboxslayer272008-06-12

to be honest it was so long ago i cant remember, i think its around £20 so not much.

lunchboxslayer27 (author)zako2008-06-12

well, im in usa, so idk how much that is. lol. but im not gonna get 1 or anything, i was just wonderin. thx tho!

zako (author)lunchboxslayer272008-06-15

it would be about $40, not far off that price, but as its very easy to get chickens were i live it might be a bit different in price. so around $40-$50 mark :D

roadnate (author)zako2008-10-13

Wow. Where do you live that chickens cost that much? That is crazy. You can get a chick for around a dollar to two dollars. An older hen will cost more, five to eight dollars. $40.00? It better be a chicken that I can ride!

musicalbee2003 (author)roadnate2008-12-03

Maybe it's a show bird? I know Omlet (they sell the Eglu chicken coop) sells chickens online for $15, but shipping gets expensive.

I was a swap meet last weekend and they were selling 8 month old hens for $8 each. Chicks I think should sell cheaper. Try some of the websites. They have reasonable prices and good selection as well.

zako (author)mrboyeee2008-07-05

they are going down in price so much, most of the house's around my area own a pair.

Broady2852 (author)2012-02-24

Hi there
Found some interesting things on this site. May be of use to people.

Livvy1811 (author)2012-01-28

i have 3 chickens one black one orangy gold and one black the orange one izzi is really calm but lately cause we are getting rain she has stayed in the rain and iu dont know if that is a problem o her health and the white one is scared of people and you can be chasing her for ages and not catch her and last but not least the black one her name is sammy but we tend to call her the black one because of her anger she will randomly go up and peck you really hard and has a thing against my mum!!!!! are there any solutions to my beautiful chickies?? PLZ HELP!!

evondoom d'la vega (author)2011-07-17

we raise heritage chickens & have about 50 now. We feed them aotmeal w/ honey or berries 3-5 days a week for breakfast along with free choice grains and cracked corn and then laying crumbles and ripe bananas by hand every night. They LOVE bananas! We get the largest yummiest eggs from our girls too. A happy hen lays lots of eggs I always say.They are free ranged on our 3 acres everyday so they can "scuttle" and sleep in their henhouse/run each evening. They get along great with all 3 of our dogs,our cats,and the various other yard fowl and goats we have here.They are so entertaining and calming. This menagerie includes 10 roosters-all of whom get along well.

MsJaxFla (author)2011-04-28

Awwwwh, such beautiful girls. I learned stuff I never knew to ask..... thank you so much for this wonderful ible.

Now I need money and someone to help me build a chicken coup. I want a nice one too..... grin. If I am so lucky to get a coop and a couple of hens.... they will live their lives out and never be killed.

awang8 (author)2009-06-02

Are males required for the hens to lay eggs? Because in my town hens are allowed, yet roosters aren't.

Amadou2 (author)awang82011-03-06

Hens do not need the males to lay eggs, friend. Interestingly, this is a common misunderstanding. If you will forgive the example: women do not need men to have their "cycle". The same goes for chickens. Only if you want baby chicks (meaning a preggie hen) then you will need a rooster to do his part.

Brainchigger1 (author)awang82010-06-20

I have 25 laying hens and no males. I bought them from the hatchery that way. the new birds lay an egg a day. the old birds lay every other day depending on the weather. Real hot weather is hard on the birds, so give them shade and plenty of good.clean water and you will do fine.

zako (author)awang82009-06-03

ummm what? lol hens lay eggs anyway. please explain more 0.o

awang8 (author)zako2009-06-04


So hens just lay eggs... By themselves? Say i had 3 hens and no other poultry. They're sitting in their coop one day and they lay an egg... Is that possible? (Hopefully yes =P)

zako (author)awang82009-06-07

yes, hens lay eggs no matter what. you only need a male to fertilise it. if you want chicks then you need a cockral, but normaly you will get eggs you can by.

Atlas22 (author)zako2009-11-23

Say i gots a question. are Roosters allowed in texas city limits, cuz i bought one girl chick  and two dude chicks and this ocured to me right after i bought them.

maria1 (author)awang82009-06-05

yeah - chickens lay eggs on their own, its kinda like in humans, females ovulate every month but the eggs don't become babies unless the eggs is fertilized. so chickies lay eggs every day (or so) whether or not a rooster is present - with a rooster the eggs could become fertilized and potentially become baby chicks, but just to get eggs the rooster is not needed. chickens are also GREAT at weed control (at least in our yard) and eating all sorts of little bugs/slugs/slug eggs/etc. they are also just fun pets, with each chicken having her own personality - at the moment we have a chicken who is constantly trying to get into the house to eat crumbs off the kitchen floor and wander around the living room. sorry that was so long!

zako (author)maria12009-06-07

haha , yea my chickens learnt how to oppen the door and the used to come steal the food in the kitchen. they also fertilise the soil realy well! we just let ares roam free in my garden.

thanks for the great comment

awang8 (author)zako2009-06-30

Just wondering, is there a chance that my chickens will learn how to sabotage our worm farm made out of foam broccoli boxes? Worms are getting expensive, I don't want them to die :(.

maria1 (author)awang82009-07-01

Hard to say - I would guess that if the worms are all tucked away the chickens wouldn't bother them... one thing you can do to occupy chickens away from your worm farm is to lay down a couple large rocks or boards of wood for a few days to let the bugs gather under them, then flip them over when your chickens are nearby and they should run over and eat all the bugs. This keeps your chickens happy and gets rid of some of the bugs in your garden. And for anyone who has to give their chickens pills/medications: we've found that sticking the pill into the top of a blueberry works really well for getting them to eat their medicine without trouble.

zako (author)maria12009-07-02

if they find it they will be in it like a flash. but the cover idea is a good one, i do that with mighn, keep them scatterd around then flip them over, then leave them, then theres a nice new patch full of bugs. you can flip the bord back to were it originated then. but yes, chickens are seriously clever, if theres worms about they will get them, easy peasy. :/

Highjump44 (author)2010-04-11

 feet them some corn bcz if u just do majority corn they get so heavy so quick that cant walk due to unmatured and broken bones

koala.yummy (author)2009-10-22

 hahaha i hope babs got her name as a john waters reference!!

An Villain (author)koala.yummy2009-11-02

a lot of people think babs got her name from the movie Chicken Run.

depayton (author)2008-03-06

I'm gettin' me some chickens, and a nice grease fryer!!!! Anyone have the cornels recipe?

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