Feed your chickens with dry poultry pellets or crumble as their main diet as this will provide them with the right balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to stay healthy. You can also supplement this with grains and scratch mix which are a tasty treat that can be mixed in with the pellets, but should not be a main part of your chicken’s diet. Give them a ready supply of oyster shell grit, fresh raw fruits and veggies, access to worms, insects and plants as well. Your chooks will also love cooked rice, pasta, bread and legumes as a treat every now and then. Provide your chickens with access to fresh water at all times. Avoid feeding them chocolate, eggshells, chicken, avocado, lawn-mower clippings and bones, as these foods are harmful to their health.
Your chickens will need grooming every once in a while. Chickens enjoy dust baths. Therefore, they should be inspected for skin parasites regularly and treated with chicken registered products if mites and lice are found. Make sure you treat the bedding and environment if an infestation is detected and even increase the frequency of bedding changes if needed.
Make sure you keep your chickens separated when travelling, as they may peck or scratch each other in transit. The best way to transport your new chickens is in separate cat carriers or cages. Make sure the boxes have holes for ventilation and are big enough for your chicken to sit comfortably. Cushion the box with bedding from the coop. Take water and food for your chickens and make regular stops so they can eat and drink.
If purchased commercially your chickens should be properly vaccinated, but still take them to your Vets for a check-up. When purchasing or adopting your chickens, request accurate information on their vaccination history.
Your chickens are at risk of picking up lice and mites, worms and respiratory diseases. Conduct regular health checks to ensure their wellbeing. Look for mites, messy appearance, sneezing, lack of energy, loss of appetite or stunted growth. If your pets show any of these symptoms, or you notice anything else peculiar about your chickens, visit your vet for advice and treatment. However, regular parasite assessment is important for aging animals as lot of parasites and diseases can be picked up from the ground.
Pet safety tips
Lock your chickens up overnight to keep them safe from predators. When parenting chickens, be aware of pecking order. Chickens peck at each other to determine an order of most to least dominant. This decides a chook’s position in getting food or choice of roosting spot. If you notice a change in pecking order, it can indicate that a chicken has fallen ill or is unhealthy, as weaker chooks are pushed to the bottom. Chooks should never be treated with products not registered for use on chickens and always seek veterinary advice.
Tip: Avoid feeding your chickens avocado, bones, chocolate, coffee, eggshells and lawn-mower clippings.