Daily and Weekly Maintenance Requirements for Your Backyard Flock


DAILY CHORES

  • Let chickens out of coop, whether you choose to free range or use a run it is important that they have access to lots of room and let them get their day started outside of the coop. Also, make sure that they have access to a place to dust bathe.  Chickens love to get their feathers in the sand.  This is how they get bugs, like mites, off them and it is necessary for a health flock.  The like to dust bathe in places with loose dirt, sunshine and shade.
  • Supply fresh water
    Depending on your weather, you may need to change water a few times a day. For example:  if it’s cold outside their water may freeze and in the heat, they will drink more water and will run out more quickly.  Also in the heat the water can become too warm to drink and will need to be changed to fresh cool water.
  • Supply fresh food
    Make sure to give enough feed for the whole flock. Avoid letting the feed get wet, it will get moldy.  NEVER give your flock feed with mold in it.
  • Collect your fresh eggs
  • Clean the coop, spray with a non-toxic ammonia control product such as Chick Fresh to prevent your coop from ammonia buildup. Just a few sprays a day can make your coop litter last longer and make coop cleaning much easier and more enjoyable.
  • In the evening, make sure that they are locked back up in the coop to keep them safe from predators.

WEEKLY MAINTENANCE

  • Predator Proofing – check all areas of the coop and run to ensure your flock is still safe from predators.
  • Deep cleaning of the coop is recommended every week or two. Get all the poop off of the roosting bars, clean out the laying boxes, rake up the poop and add it to your compost pile.
  • Health Check
    • Make sure they have clear eyes
    • Check around their vent area for mite eggs and poop stuck to their vent and feathers. Their vent should be clear of both
    • Observe the scales on their legs and feet. The scales should be laying down smoothly.  If they are lifted, they may have leg mites and you will need to treat them.
    • Check the bottom of their feet. Are there any sores, cuts or scabs?  Their feet should be clear of all of these.  If you do find sores, cuts or scabs they run the risk of getting infections like bumble foot or may already have it.
    • If you choose to clip wings, now would be a good time to do so. Also make sure that their toenails and beak is not too long.
    • Watch their behavior. If it is a hen, make sure she is still laying eggs.  Hens should lay eggs every or every few days depending on the breed.  If at any time she stops laying eggs, and she is not broody and it is not wintertime, there is something going on and she could be egg bound and will need treatment immediately.  Also watch to make sure they are walking, eating and drinking normally.  Noticing any change to the behavior of a member of your flock early will increase the chances of not loosing the animal.