There are not any unhealthy chickens, solely unhealthy rooster habits. Some chickens soar as much as sleep in bushes each evening or deal with themselves to an egg scramble from the nesting field. Nevertheless it’s as much as you to interrupt your chickens of no matter unhealthy habits picked up over time.
If left unattended, you might be out dozens of eggs. Within the worst instances, you’ll be out a couple of chickens, too.
Fortunately, you possibly can break chickens of unhealthy habits pretty simply. Some widespread examples comply with, with instructions on the right way to break them in the event you see them pop up in your flock.
You’ve picked your chickens fastidiously, and you’ve got a pleasant mixture of rainbow eggs from all various kinds of heritage birds. Day-after-day you’ve gone out to pluck lovely eggs from the nesting packing containers. Then, at some point, you discover there aren’t as many.
The day after that, even fewer stay. You see a large number of eggshells on the underside of the nesting field the place your eggs was once. It gained’t take you lengthy to place 2 and a pair of collectively.
One in all your chickens is consuming eggs, probably the most widespread unhealthy habits within the coop.
Chickens will eat eggs for quite a few causes, from boredom to a scarcity of protein of their weight loss plan. It’s a tough state of affairs for any flock proprietor to be in. Eggs are one of many primary explanation why folks elevate chickens.
Should you promote your eggs, you’ll be out of revenue. Should you and your loved ones eat them, you’ll be out of meals.
As soon as your chickens get a style for eggs, it may be very tough to interrupt them from this unhealthy behavior. That being mentioned, you possibly can strive a couple of totally different methods to regain your every day dozen (or two dozen) eggs.
Renovate Your Nesting Packing containers
A large-open nesting field is an invite to come back inside, get snug and lay an egg. For some chickens, it’s additionally an invite to come back inside, see what’s in there and deal with themselves to a snack.
In case your chickens eat eggs, the very first thing you need to do is take a very good have a look at your nesting packing containers. Use wooden chips for nesting materials? Attempt switching to straw. Should you use straw, strive switching to wooden chips or another nesting materials.
A darkish nesting field is much less prone to be checked out as a spot to seek for snacks. Attempt including curtains to darken the world and hold your hens from seeing the eggs mendacity inside.
Should you’ve tried renovating their current nesting packing containers and also you’re nonetheless fighting egg consuming, yow will discover plans on-line for nesting packing containers with a rollaway backside. You possibly can DIY this kind of nesting field your self. Because the hen deposits the egg within the field, the egg will roll into the nook and out of sight so the hen can’t flip round and eat it.
Have you ever ever appeared over your flock and requested your self, “I’m wondering if my chickens would love mustard?” The reply isn’t any. No, they don’t.
Chickens aren’t followers of mustard. That’s why some rooster homeowners place eggs in nesting packing containers which have been hollowed out and changed with mustard.
You are able to do this by poking a gap on each side of the egg and blowing till the contents are empty. Upon getting an empty eggshell, squeeze some mustard contained in the egg. For max impact, fill it as a lot as you possibly can, however strive to not let any drip out.
Place your mustard egg or eggs in your nesting packing containers. Then wait till your egg-eaters take a peck at them.
You possibly can arrange a digicam in your rooster coop if you wish to know which chickens head there first to observe unhealthy consuming habits. In the event that they do peck at them, they might simply be turned off of eggs eternally. If not, you’ll have a visible from the digicam as to who’s consuming the eggs and you may select to isolate them from the nesting packing containers briefly.
Leaping the Fence
You constructed a safe coop in your chickens. A fence to maintain out predators fortifies it. However what you won’t have thought of is that it’s not tall sufficient to maintain chickens contained in the fence. And for chickens, hopping the fence is a standard one among unhealthy habits.
For chickens, the grass is all the time greener on the opposite aspect of the coop, and leaping out an is an often-. Even when they’ve a whole acre to peck round on, some birds will nonetheless soar the fence and are available into your yard. They may peck at your lounge home windows or beg for meals in your entrance porch.
Some folks discover this charming. However in the event you’ve ever slipped on a pile of rooster droppings when strolling onto your porch or you might have a rogue rooster crowing loudly outdoors your window, leaping the fence will lose its enchantment in a short time.
Leaping the fence may also have severe penalties for the chickens. In the event that they graze, unattended predators similar to coyotes, hawks or eagles might simply swipe them.
To cease your chickens from leaping the fence, you possibly can strive a couple of totally different factor.
Fortify the Fortress
One of many first issues flock homeowners can do if their chickens soar the fence: Construct a coop with a closed run. There are totally different plans for rooster coops with runs on-line. The profit to this kind of coop is that your chickens stay in a secure, enclosed space.
But when a closed coop isn’t for you and also you’d like your chickens to have the ability to free-range greater than a small space will permit, you’re going to have to regulate your fence. If you have already got a sturdy fence however your chickens soar it, you’ll have to extend the peak.
The common peak of a rooster coop fence is roughly 5 toes. To maintain your flock inside, you might need to add a layer of fencing to the highest of your current fence to make it 8 or 9 toes tall. You are able to do that with a layer of mesh fencing on the underside and a layer of plastic backyard fencing or rooster wire on the highest.
It’d look somewhat such as you’ve arrange your individual rooster Alcatraz. Nevertheless it ought to hold them secure of their space.
Wing clipping is a little bit of a controversial situation for rooster homeowners. Whereas some could advocate for wing clipping, others really feel as if it’s lots like declawing a cat. It takes away a chook’s capacity to guard itself in sticky conditions.
In the end, it’s as much as you whether or not or not you need to clip your chook’s wings. Should you plan on doing so, a common tip is to trim them so one aspect is shorter than the opposite. Uneven wings will hold your chickens simply barely off-kilter.
This could stop them from gaining altitude after they attempt to take off.
Don’t be shocked in the event that they nonetheless handle to leap the fence, even in the event you’ve clipped their wings. Some birds are lighter than others. And others can parkour a fence or small construction with out spreading their wings in any respect.
Sleeping in Timber
Sleeping in bushes goes half and parcel with leaping the fence. Should you immediately see a drop in inhabitants while you lock your chickens up at evening however you discover everyone seems to be there for roll name within the morning, you might simply have a couple of tree-sleepers in your palms.
It’s pure for a rooster to need to sleep as far-off from the bottom as potential. However after they sleep in bushes they’re uncovered to the weather and predators.
Not solely that, but when they select to sleep in a tree proper outdoors your bed room window or close to your home, you’re going to be handled to a really early wake-up name each morning. Some roosters will even crow all evening lengthy in the event that they really feel they should alert the flock to hazard.
Chickens will return to their roost evening after evening. So step one to stopping them from sleeping in a tree is to determine why they is perhaps doing it within the first place.
Do you might have a number of roosters? Or possibly your hens have a strict pecking order? A number of the chickens which have a decrease rating could search for a brand new residence quite than sleep with the enemy.
If the rooster or chickens that get picked on, you possibly can separate them inside your coop so that they really feel secure whereas sleeping. Some flock homeowners construct a brand new rooster coop solely. Others could have a number of small constructions separated inside a big fenced space.
Retrieving a Treed Rooster
If in case you have a rogue rooster in a close-by tree, the easiest way to maneuver them is to attend for them to go there to roost. Should you can, wait close to the tree and decide them up earlier than they handle to rise up. It will probably prevent plenty of problem in case your rooster jumps branches till they’re too excessive in your ladder to succeed in.
If the rooster is within the tree and accessible by ladder, place the ladder beneath the tree earlier than the rooster goes there to roost. You don’t need to startle the rooster. They’re very straightforward to decide up when roosting.
Wait till it’s darkish and be sure you take a headlight that can assist you see.
Upon getting the rooster, your greatest guess is to put it in an enclosed, locked-down space inside your coop and hold it there for a couple of days. Don’t retransfer the chook from the rooster inhabitants. However don’t permit the chook to be weak to the opposite birds in case they need to assault it.
You possibly can let the chook again out into the flock after it’s adjusted to being again within the coop. Should you mounted your fences so it might’t soar out, odds are it is going to keep throughout the coop from that point on. Simply needless to say if the chook can discover a approach out, it more than likely will find yourself again in your tree once more.
If in case you have a big yard and plenty of free-range chickens, you’ll discover a couple of hidden nests of eggs every so often. Regardless of how interesting you make the nesting field, some chickens have a thoughts of their very own. These girls will lay an egg in no matter spot seems snug.
The issue is that if a hen continues to go to a nesting space and lays eggs however you don’t have any concept the place that nest is, finally they’ll amass a big pile of eggs and go broody. Brooding is pure (and never precisely proper to listing alongside unhealthy habits), however you’ll have to cope with chickens on this state.
A broody hen sitting on an enormous pile of eggs can imply a big and sudden addition to your flock. In my time elevating chickens, my report for sudden hatchings is eighteen chicks from one hen!
The one approach to cease hidden nests and random egg laying is to ensure you can account for your whole chickens. Should you allow them to free-range, you’ll need to depend heads each evening to ensure everybody sleeps the place they need to.
Should you do discover a nest of eggs and a hen sitting on them, you possibly can decide up hen and eggs and place them in a secure, enclosed space till hatching. That approach they’ll have meals and water as quickly because the infants hatch. You gained’t be greeted by a shock household at your again door!
Chickens are the kind of animal with an impartial thoughts and an off-the-cuff disregard for his or her private security, however breaking them of their unhealthy habits ensures your flock shall be secure to put or crow one other day.
This text initially appeared within the March/April 2022 situation of Chickens journal.