More than One Way to Raise Chickens

Just like raising children, people have many different opinions and styles regarding how to raise and keep a flock of backyard chickens. Time and time again my heart breaks when I see people telling others that there is only one correct way to do things. There are many ways to do things and do them well. We are very lucky to have so many wonderful options out there to help provide our chickens with a wonderful quality of life.

There are many ways to feed your chickens…

Do you choose organic feed?

Which brand?

What kinds of treats?

Do you add supplements like food grade diatomaceous earth?

Do you let them have free access to as much food as they like or do you limit their daily intake?

Do you share scraps from you table with them?

Do you give them dairy products?

What types of feeders do you use-hanging, trough, PVC tube dispenser, a rubber bowl?

There are many ways to give water to your chickens…

Do you use tap water?

Do you give them water from the hose?

Do you use a metal or plastic waterer?

Do you use a nipple waterer?

Do you use a large black rubber bowl?

Do you add anything to the water like vitamins and electrolytes, apple cider vinegar or make them tea?

If you do add supplements to their water, how often do you do it?

When your chickens are ill…

Do you take them to the vet?

Do you cull them?

Do you separate them from the flock?

Do you keep them in with the flock?

Do you bring them in the house?

Do you give them medicine?

There are many ways to house chickens…

Do they have a little house or a big house?

What material is it made out of?

How do you provide shade for your flock?

Do you cover the run?

Do you keep a light on in the coop in the Winter to keep up egg production?

Do you use straw, pine shavings, hay or a combination?

Do you keep decoy eggs in the nesting boxes?

There are many ways to predator proof…

Do you use hardware cloth or chicken wire?

Did you bury the wiring all the way around the coop?

Do you let your flock free-range?

Do you keep them confined?

Do you lock up all the coop doors at night?

My advice is to investigate for yourself. When you discover something that might work for your flock or your coop seek out more than just opinions. Seek out reputable sources with evidence based facts. As you can see from above, just like life there is never one way to do things. Sometimes, certain thing work better for different breeds, during different seasons and climates and in different places across the globe. Sometimes you may have to try a few things in order to determine what works best.  Sometimes what works for one person will not work for you.  The best advice I can share is to do what works best for you.  After all, no one knows your flock better than you.

Published on Mar 1, 2013

Grit Magazine

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