If you’re new to chicken ownership, you probably have concerns about how to best raise a happy backyard flock. How do know that your new feathery friends are thriving and content? Here is what you need to know about keeping your backyard chickens happy.
How To Tell If Your Chicks Are Happy
Raising Happy Chicks
For the first six weeks, your chicks will need to be kept in a brooding box under a constant heat source such as a heat lamp or heating plate. Listen to their peeping to know if they are content. Very loud peeping is probably a sign they are either too hot or too cold. Quiet peeping is normal as chickens are natural chatter boxes!
Listen to the peeping to understand their needs
Chicks are curious and will scratch or peck at anything that piques their interest. Also give them something to roost on when they want to relax. These early weeks are important bonding time if you want your chickens to trust you. Spend time with your chicks and hand-feed them food or treats.
After 6 weeks,
move your chickens outdoors to a sturdy, weather-proof coop. The coop is home sweet home to chickens and should be a place where they feel safe and warm. Keep the coop clean and make sure your chickens have access to food and clean water. Winterize the coop to keep your flock warm when temperatures drop.
Spend time with your chickens to build a strong bond
Chickens love to explore, so raising free range chickens is ideal. If you are concerned about predators, get a spacious, covered run for your birds, and give them supervised free roam time outside of the run when you can.
Happy chickens will run around scratching and pecking the ground looking for bugs, plants, or pebbles (swallowing small pebbles is necessary for proper digestion). They relax by dust bathing, roosting, preening their feathers, or sitting on the ground to soak up some sun. These are all signs of a happy chicken. If a chicken really likes you, they will follow you around and might even perch on your lap!
Chickens love treats and can be handfed
Treats for Chickens
As with many animals, the surest way to a chicken’s heart is through treats. There are treats specially made for chickens like mealworms, scratch, or snack mixes. You can also give them food you likely already have handy like fruits and vegetables. On cold days, your flock will love a warm bowl of oatmeal. Once your chickens recognize their favorite treat, be prepared for them to excitedly chase after you once they see it in your hand!
Your flock will be happy as long as you meet their basic needs and stimulate their curiosity. Chickens are curious and active birds. Spend time with them, give them a comfortable home, give them free roam time, and win them over with tasty treats. Follow these tips and you will have content chickens that are always happy to see you!
Written by Jessica Piñeiro
Backyard Blogger | Hatching Time
Jessica has 4 amazing hens in the backyard and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to backyard chickens. In addition to being a proud chicken mama, she is a lifelong creative with a love of writing, art, and design. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware and really appreciated having a Blue Hen for a mascot.