"Hi PEEPs" - a mature laying hen needs 1/4 lb of a complete feed pellet, crumble or mash feed with 16 to 18% protein per day and should always have access to plenty of clean water.
"Hi PEEPs" - baby chicks need a chick starter diet in a small chick feeder to keep it clean for up to 8 weeks while they mature and fully feather. Make they have access to clean water in a shallow chick water dish. Chicks can drown in very little water.
"Hi PEEPs" - you do not need a rooster for hens to lay eggs. If you have a rooster they may fertilize some eggs that would result in baby chicks hatching if your hen stayed on the eggs for 21 days. f you do not have a rooster you can have very nutritious eggs based on the quality of feed and amount of protein you provide your laying hens. Hens lay eggs every 26 hours. Hens do not start laying eggs until after 18 weeks of age or more. Sometimes you can encourage them to start laying by placing a fake egg in the nest box and their first eggs are small then they get larger in time. Hens usually lay mid morning and they love to squawk about it to let everyone know. The color of the egg is based on the breed of the chicken and the color of the yolk is based on the nutrition of the food your laying hen eats.
"Hi PEEPs" - Fresh eggs have a protective coating called a bloom. If you wash your eggs they should be refrigerated for up to 5 weeks. If you do not wash and remove the bloom, pending room temperature, they will last several weeks.
"Hi PEEPs" - it's good to rake out your coop once a week or so. Nesting material can be shavings, or straw that your can scoop out with a cat litter scoop. Some of my peeps use nesting mats. Before putting clean shavings or straw in, a sprinkle of diatomaceous earth or our Coop Right, can reduce lice and mites as well as reduce moisture. Sprinkle some on the roost too.
"Hi PEEPs" - provide a shallow pan such as a little box with diatomaceous earth they can dust in to reduce lice and mites. You can also pick up your chickens, gently hold them by the feet and sprinkle diatomaceous earth or our Coop Right mix with rosemary ( wear a mask as the powder is drying and very fine).
"Hi PEEPs" - if you raise your hens from chicks and handle them carefully and often, they will be more friendly. Offering treats also encourages your chickens to interact with you in a positive way. Silkies are a slow to respond gentle chicken that children will enjoy. Also Buff Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Jersey Giants, Easter Eggers and Cochins. Like many pets there will be special personalities that come in many breeds, so enjoy finding your special connection!
"Hi PEEPs" - The sun will create algae in your chicken water just as it does in a pool or pond. Empty the water whenever it's dirty and use some water with bleach to clean inside then rinse thoroughly. Your chickens will appreciate clean cool water.
"Hi PEEPs" - Chickens should have access to shade and they love to cool off in the dirt. Make sure they have access to clean water that is as cool as possible. They will also enjoy berries, watermelon or squash as a treat. Some of my peeps even freeze herbs such as parsley in ice cubes.
"Hi PEEPs" - Chickens will go in their coop each night before dark so depending on your climate, you may want an insulated coop and plenty of shavings or straw inside. There are electric waterers for chickens and their are insulated warming mats if your weather is freezing for extended periods of time ( always be careful of fire hazards form electric cords and protect the cords from hens pecking). Additional protein provides energy to keep your flock a little warmer too.
"Hi PEEPs" - Chickens will lay eggs less often if stressed (check for signs of predators which may include your dog), or during hot weather (provide shade, clean cool water and cooling dirt), or during the darker cold months ( they need approx. 14 hours of light). You can add a lamp in extended dark cool weather ( be careful of fire and use a timer so they get some rest and beware of fire hazards such as exposed electric cords). Additional protein from supplemental high protein treats may help and make sure their diet has 16 to 18% protein.