How Much Care Do Pet Chickens Require?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020

Young boy feeding brown chicken in backyard

Chickens are pretty self reliant pets in comparison to other animals like dogs and cats. They’re adept at looking after themselves for most major needs, such as keeping themselves clean!

As a backyard chicken keeper, there are a few things you do to take care of your flock - they aren't difficult or time consuming, and you'll be rewarded with fresh eggs, so any effort is well worth it!

Here’s a few things you as a chicken keeper should do to take care of your feathered friends:

Feeding and watering

You’ll need to provide lots of feed and fresh water for your flock to stay healthy and happy. This is very easy!

What they eat:

  • Layer feed can be bought from any pet store, and makes up the bulk of a chicken’s diet. It should be left out during the day for the chickens to peck at when they please.

  • Shell grit also makes up a part of their diet and helps their calcium levels and digestive health. This can also be bought from any pet store.

  • You can always give your chickens some treats here and there if they’ve been on their best behaviour!

  • Fresh water should be available to your chickens constantly - remember to change it over if it gets contaminated.

For more information on getting the right nutrients to your flock, check out our 'Feeding and Nutrition' article.

Grooming and maintenance

In the grooming department, chickens are pretty great at looking after their cleanliness by dust bathing. There are a couple of bits of grooming you can do on your flock to keep them neat and tidy:

  • Wing Clipping: Some backyard chicken keepers prefer to clip their chooks’ wings to prevent them from flying the coop! Remember though, that after each molt, you will need to clip again! Usually, chicken keepers clip only one wing causing the bird to be unstable and not be able to gain enough momentum to fly the friendly skies.

  • Nail Clipping: There may be times when you’ll need to trim a specific chook’s nails. Usually your chooks will wear down their own nails as they roam about and forage and scratch. However, sometimes nails grow too long and may curl. Simply take a dog nail clipper or a large human toenail clipper and clip being careful not to clip the nail too short and nip the quick or the pinkish part of your own nail which supplies blood to the nail. If you nip your chook’s quick, it will bleed.

For more information on taking care of your flock, check out our Grooming and Maintaining Your Chickens article.

Taking care of your chickens is easy - but keep in mind, you need to take care of the chicken coop as well! For more information on how to maintain your chicken coop (essential to your chickens staying healthy) - check out our How To Clean Your Coop article.

There are plenty of ways you can prevent, identify and resolve health issues in your flock. It can be stressful and worrying when things aren't going well with your chooks and we all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. From herbal treatments to disease prevention, make sure that you've got the knowledge you need to raise happy, healthy chooks. Did you know 67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle?

But don’t worry! Our feathered friends over at Chickenpedia have created a Chicken Healthcare Course. It is a comprehensive online course that covers everything you need, including what to look for in an unhealthy chicken and how to support your egg-laying hens to optimal health. All of their courses are really well structured and filled with vital information, which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers! From raising baby chicks to feeding to behavior, you’ll find valuable information that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

Check out Chickenpedia today. As a member, you will also get access to the ALL of their chicken courses!

Sources and further reading