If you are looking for ways for natural chicken care, this intro guide will help you to get started.
Tips for raising chickens naturally without using chemicals or antibiotics and relying more on their own ability to live a healthy life.
The best part of homesteading is being in control of the foods you eat and the ingredients you use. This is true with your fridge, pantry, and your animals. Finding ways to support your chickens in a natural that will encourage hardy and healthy bodies will give you the most organic eggs for your kitchen.
What Does Natural Chicken Care Mean?
Natural chicken care means taking care of your chickens without using chemicals, antibiotics, or other synthetic products. It involves providing them with a healthy and stress-free environment and allowing them to develop their own immune system to fight off diseases.
Principles of Natural Chicken Care
Natural chicken care centers around housing, food, and water. By setting up a healthy environment for your chickens, feeding them food that supports them in a healthy way, and always being sure they have access to clean water, they will be better able to thrive in all kinds of conditions.
Organic Feed and Nutrition
One of the main parts of natural chicken care is feeding your chickens food that is free of antibiotics or hormones. Before purchasing feed, read the labels so you are better aware of what is included and why.
If you can afford to feed organic, this is a great option to consider. Today, there are more options available that are organic, and I continue to see the prices getting more affordable. This is great news for anyone who is working towards naturally raising their chickens.
You can also feed kitchen scraps to your chickens such as vegetable peelings, excess produce from the garden, and plants and grasses that chickens enjoy.
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Additives to Raise Hardy Chickens
Along with good food, there are other natural ways to support your chickens’ health. I learned over the years how important a role these items played in the health and vibrancy of our flock.
Apple Cider Vinegar – A small amount of apple cider vinegar can be added to your chickens’ water. This helps with digestion and can also act as a natural dewormer.
Garlic – Adding garlic to their feed or water can help boost immune system health and protect against respiratory issues.
Herbs – Herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them great natural additives for chicken feed.
Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth – This mineral powder can be added to feed or dusted on the chickens’ feathers to help control pests and parasites.
Probiotics – Adding probiotics to their water or feed can improve digestion and overall gut health, leading to stronger immune systems.
Many times, we are told to reach for chemical remedies for a fast fix; however, many times, a natural approach is not only healthier for your chicken, it may even work better in the long run. Keep a collection of these items to use with your own flock when needed.
Benefits of Free Range
Free range gives chickens a chance to behave naturally – foraging for food, dust-bathing, and roaming freely. This exercise helps them build muscle and strengthens their immune system.
We prefer supervised free-range because where we live, there is a slight risk of predators. By free-ranging in full daylight only we are reducing the risk of injury or death.
Free-range also has benefits for us owners, as well. Chickens love bugs and will keep them under control in or around where your garden beds are. Also, free-range chickens that get to eat grass, bugs, seeds, and other natural food tend to produce eggs with more nutritional value compared to commercially raised chickens.
Healthy Housing and Environment
The coop you have plays an important part in a healthy flock. Be sure to consider each of these tips when setting up a coop for your chickens.
- You will want to be sure there is enough room for the number of chickens you have. A good rule to follow is four square feet of space per chicken.
- Include a sturdy roost for your chickens to sleep on at night with enough room for everyone to perch on.
- Be sure to have clean bedding and a scrape board to keep the smell to a minimum.
- A coop should have good ventilation as well as access to an outside run where they can get fresh air and sunlight.
Keep Boredom Away
Whether you free-range or not, having activities for your flock will help to keep them from getting bored. Why is this important? Bored chickens may resort to hen pecking, which can greatly reduce your flock’s overall health and vibrancy. You can have natural items in the run, such as branches, logs, or dirt piles. Or you can bring in man-made distractions such as a tomato cage treat stand.
Benefits of Natural Chicken Care
There are many benefits to practicing natural chicken care, both for your chickens and for yourself as a farmer or backyard keeper. Here are just a few:
- Healthier Chickens – By feeding chickens natural, organic food and natural additives, you are supporting their overall health and immune system. This can lead to happier, more energetic chickens..
- Reduced Costs – While organic feed may seem more expensive at first, it can actually save you money in the long run by reducing the need for medications and treatments.
- Better Quality Products – Natural chicken care can result in better quality eggs and meat and healthier manure that you can use in your garden.
Natural chicken care is a great way to raise a flock of backyard chickens that are robust, healthy, and have the ability to fight off pests and diseases. This approach is not only healthier for your chickens, but it will result in healthier eggs for you and your family.