Have you recently joined the growing ranks of people with chickens? Whether you have a few hens or a large flock, we suspect that you will find your new feathered buddies both fascinating and entertaining. However, first-time chicken owners do face a bit of a learning curve when it comes to keeping their feathered buddies happy and healthy. A local Ontonagon, MI vet offers some tips on keeping your birds content below.
This one probably isn’t a surprise: all of our animal companions need clean, comfortable habitats. With chickens, a big thing is making sure you have enough room for all of your birds. Fresh water and bedding is also important. The coop should be well-insulated and predator-proof.
Boredom may not sound like a huge problem for chickens. However, if your chickens have nothing to amuse themselves with, they’ll be more likely to bicker. This can cause stress, which can in turn increase the chances of illness. It can also affect egg production, which for many people is the main reason to get birds in the first place. How does one entertain a chicken? Swings, mirrors, and perches, to start!
If there’s one thing that all our patients unanimously approve of, it’s treats. Chickens can actually eat many people foods. However, mealworms are definitely a favorite among our feathered buddies. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
One decision chicken owners must make is whether to allow their flock to roam freely, or keep them in a run. Free range chickens tend to be much happier and healthier. Our advice? Give your birds the best of both worlds! Fence in the biggest area you can and attach a run to the coop for times when you don’t want your clucking buddies left out unattended. Although chickens can fly, they may not bother if they have everything they need in their yard.
Like all pets, chickens thrive with great TLC. Pay attention to your birds, and get them used to being handled. We also recommend training them to come when called and to go into their coop at night. Getting to know your chickens will also make it easier for you to spot signs of injury or illness early on.
Please contact us, your Ontonagon, MI vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!