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How to Keep Pet Chickens Healthy

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Not all pet chicken lovers are lucky enough to raise chickens in their backyard. Raising pet chickens requires a separate coop, and even though some have wide backyards, not all cities permit raising farm animals as pets. So if you’re lucky to have a bantam or Polish chicken in your yard, keep your pet healthy because others could only wish they could own one.

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1. Give Proper Pet Chicken Food

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Ensuring that only proper pet supplements and chicken feed go into your pet chicken’s beak is not only important in keeping your pet healthy, it’s also important to safeguard your own health. (Remember you can eat your layer’s eggs?)

Pet chickens require different feed types as chicks until they grow old as adult hens and roosters. Chicks need high-protein crumbs with pet supplements to sustain their fast growing bodies. Adult chickens can be given grower mash as regular feed. If you’re keeping a layer, you need to provide layer mash to replenish lost nutrients in making eggs. Don’t worry about the rooster because it can eat whatever feed you’re giving your hen.

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To keep you and your pet healthy, it’s best to give it organic chicken feeds only. Commercial poultry feeds are loaded with antibiotics and too much pet supplements that can be harmful to you and your pet’s health. So get organic chickens feeds if available.

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For treats, you can hang leafy greens in your pet chicken’s run: broccoli, kale, spinach, etc. You can also give bird grains and live insect feed to keep your pet healthy and entertained in its otherwise monotonous chicken coop. And, of course, always make clean water available to your chicken, too.

2. Have Proper Pet Chicken Coop

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If you keep one or two hens, you don’t need special brooder cage to raise the chicks as their mothers are hotwired to care for them – unless you bought your first chick stock without its mother. So a proper chicken coop can be a small backyard barn with proper heating for the winter. To keep your pet healthy, too, keep its population low by consuming the eggs that hens are programmed to lay once a day within 12 to 20 days per breeding season.

Keep the coop clean to ward off diseases by changing the beddings at least once a week. And a thorough cleaning using a disinfectant should be done at least every six months to remove left over pet supplements in the feeders and the waterers. Disinfecting the coop should keep common chicken diseases at bay, too.

3. Know Proper Handling

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Proper handling of a pet chicken does not involve yanking the poor thing by the tail, wing, or leg. This abuse could seriously injure your pet. Instead, you want to place your dominant palm to the back of the chicken gently pressing it down to stop it from going anywhere. Then you want to gently scoop up the chicken with your other palm place under its chest gently holding one leg between your thumb and your index finger. If you hold your chicken like this, you can free your dominant hand to do whatever you want to do: pet your chicken in the neck, arrange its wing and tail feathers, etc.

4. Give Proper Pet Supplements

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Giving proper dose of pet supplements to your chicken is also vital in keeping your pet healthy. Your chicken needs vitamin A, E, and C, and it needs Iron, Calcium, and Zinc supplements to properly function. Omega 3 pet supplements such as flaxseed and fishmeal should also be given at least once a week. And if you see the hen feeding the egg shell to the chicks, let her. The mother knows where to get natural calcium supplement for her brood.

5. Remember Some Precautions

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1. Don’t let the coop/run go cold during winter.
2. Don’t let the water spoil with food and other debris.
3. Don’t use fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide on your lawn where your chickens roam.
4. Don’t let the population balloon to unmanageable size.
5. Don’t forget to watch for signs of illness:

– Sneezing
– Abnormal stool (i.e. too wet with visible worms or blood)
– Loss of appetite
– Lack of energy
– Mangy appearance
– Abnormal coloration and growth of the wattle

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