Chickens usually live for about a decade and can lay eggs throughout most of their lives. They do, however, suffer from various diseases, which is why keeping them clean and nourished is so important.
Water may be the chicken’s most important nutrient. If a hen is laying eggs, clean drinking water is the most essential consumable. Play it safe and change the water on a daily basis or more often if it gets dirty. Keep the water elevated and use a waterer, if need be, to keep the water clean and the chickens out of it.
You can also look into adding some probiotic supplements to the water, as it is cheap and good for the chicken’s health promotion and maintenance.
Since some chickens are bread for their eggs and others for their meat, it stands to reason that each variety needs a specific type of feed. You can easily get chicken feed at any poultry shop, just keep in mind that the different stages of a chicken’s life require different types of feed.
You can also make your own custom feed blend, but this is not recommended for beginners. Never feed your chickens table scraps or add oil to their feed. Never feed your chickens chocolate, because it can be toxic and deadly for them. If you want to give them a treat, give them white bread for training purposes only.
As soon as you get your chicks, you should get them vaccinated. ‘Marek’s disease’ is a common chicken killer and vaccination against the disease can keep your chicks alive. The vaccination also has a booster dose that should also be given to bigger chickens when they grow older. This is necessary since the virus that causes the disease moves through the air. Your entire flock of chickens can get sick and die, simply if another chicken in another coup somewhere down the road from you is infected with the disease.
Now that you have got the food, water and vaccination part covered, another important aspect is the shelter or the housing that needs to be provided for the bigger chickens. The chickens need to be in a coop and this building has to be fortified to ensure that the predators such as racoons and can’t get near the chickens and harm them.
Building your own chicken coop is pretty cheap.
Just build a box shaped chicken coop with a strong wire mesh all around to keep predators out. Also, your bigger chickens need ample space since the restricted confinement would lead to stress in the chickens as well as to cannibalism and low egg laying rates.
Usually, the chickens would require at least 2-3 square feet of space per chicken, but bigger breeds require more space and comfort. Just multiply this space by the number of chickens that you have and this number will tell you exactly how much space you will need.
Make sure that your chicken coop has good ventilation because chickens need air. That said, drafts kill chickens, so don’t overdo it. It’s also important to insulate the coop in the winter so the chickens don’t freeze. If you decide to let your chickens wander in the day, make sure they’re safely locked up over night, especially if you live in a rural environment.