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Poultry Care

Poultry care can be an interesting hobby. Chickens and roosters can be raised for egg production, for sale, or simply as pets. Poultry care includes providing sufficient food and water, as well as the appropriate housing for your animals.

In terms of nutrition, poultry care is fairly easy. Most chickens and roosters will eat commercial chicken feed as the main staple of their diet. If you are raising chickens for their eggs, you may choose to use only organic feed products. In addition to the commercial feed, cracked corn and oatmeal or all-natural grain cereals are great for your feathered friends. Most chickens and roosters also enjoy snacks like green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or kale. Most birds will also forage for common pests they can find in the ground, such as spiders, insects, and worms. Always be sure your birds have plenty of fresh clean water to drink. Chickens and roosters need to eat small rocks or grit, which their gullets use to grind up food for digestion.

The amount of space you need for proper poultry care depends on whether your birds will be kept exclusively in a coop or allowed to roam freely. If they are kept in a coop, plan to have a total of at least ten square feet per bird, to allow them sufficient room and prevent the birds from pecking one another due to over crowding. This space allotment includes both feeding and sleeping space, but is a good overall per-bird figure. If your chickens have sufficient space to roam freely outdoors, their coop need only include around three square feet per bird to provide sufficient sleeping area. Any free roaming areas should be sufficiently fenced to protect the animals from predators, especially at night. Chickens and roosters will need a raised platform or bar on which to roost at night. Their coop area should allow fresh air to flow, but not be drafty.

Depending on the structure of your chicken coop, you may wish to have a removable tray under the roosting areas, to make cleaning easier. If the logistics of your coop do not allow this, you will need to shovel out this area. Regardless of how it is done, the bird droppings should be cleaned out at least once per week. If you are raising your poultry for eggs, the eggs should be collected daily.

Poultry care, whether for fun or production, can be interesting and rewarding. With a little space and planning, a chicken coop can provide a great display of the cycle of life, and fresh eggs to boot!

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