Daily Check List for Chicken Keepers
Keeping your Hens Healthy and SAFE
After keeping Chickens in your back Garden for a while, much of what I've written will come naturally, the only fear being is that we're human beings and have a terrible tendencyto forget things (especially Men!!)
I doubt if there is anyone who's had Hens for more than a year who can hold their hands up and say they've never gone to work forgetting to feed the, closing a Gate behind them. The list is probably endless and knowing too well to my cost, you can never be absolutely certain you've done everythingthere is to do.
So, here's my kind of daily Tick List which I hope may be of some help to newer Chicken Keepers. It may seem the obvious, but having the T-Shirt too many times, I know how important it is to be aware of things.
Count them out an count them in. It's surprising how hard this can be though!
Do they all look well? Is one slow to come out and looking lethargic?
Do all seem up to weight?
Are any showing signs of being bullied or being the bully?
Are their crops messy?
Do you see any strange looking poo's?
The Chicken Coop
Does the door look tampered with?
Can you see any visible signs of something scratching or chewing to get in?
Are there any loose Slats which could eventually fall off or be easily pulled off?
Are there any other dropping's (poo's) beside the Chicken's?
Any signs of Red Mite or any other buggy insect invasion?
If it's been raining, are there any leaks?
If it's a hot morning, is there enough Ventilation?
Check Floor areas for anything getting in from underneath?
Is their Water clean (other creatures help themselves often)
The Chicken Run
Are there any signs of a Fox digging in?
Are there any Foxes poo's around the House or Pen?
Are there over hanging tree branches from which a Fox could jump in?
Is your Fencing secure? If Chicken Wire, is it strong enough?
Is any of the fencing starting to lean over needing re-fixing?
Was the Gate shut the night before?
Watch Weather forecasts and any conditions which could cause a risk to their safety
Could a Chicken get out? If so, anything could get in!
Roaming free in the Garden
I would point out the words which are often read in the Down the Lane Forum, "I only took my eyes off them for a second". Unless you have completely secure Fencing or Electric Fencing - never leave them unattended.
I'm sure many will be able to add to this list and I wouldn't think it a bad idea to do your own and pin it up inside the Coop.
One of the most common occurrences is forgetting to shut a Gate. A tip here is, get in a habit of every time you leave them, count five steps aloud and turn round to look.
Finally I'd say I'm no shining star, I have lost Chickens to Foxes through the Slat in the Shed, a leaning Fence weighed down by wind and snow, digging underneath the fence, forgetting to shut the Coop door and before coming to my senses, by leaving them alone in the Garden.
The final thing I have learnt over the years is that in cases where we lose a Chicken to a Predator, it has been 99% my fault. If we're keeping them in Pens or Coops, Chicken's life's are literally in our hands, they will only survive through us looking after them and preventing that awful moment when you go up the Garden, hear the silence and see the results.
With health issues, if it seems something not bad, post in the Down the Lane Forum which has many experienced Members ready and willing to help in any way they can. But I would say that should your Chicken appear to be suffering, take her to a Vet where she can have immediate diagnosis and hopefully treatment.