Welcome to Part Two of our series on the Basics of Raising Chickens. When you are trying to learn how to raise chickens, you need as much information as possible. In this section, we look at watering your birds as well as protecting them from predators.
Unlike most other animals, a chicken has virtually no defenses other than running away. This makes them easy prey for other animals. The good news is you can provide protection via your chicken coop, hen house, or chicken run.
When you look for plans for chicken coops, take a moment to consider how the plan is designed for protecting your animals. For instance, you want to purchase chicken coop plans or hen house plans that have instructions on how to install wire over the windows, vents, and other entry ways. You want plans that allow for some kind of flooring. Having your birds on the ground, in the dirt, that is, is dangerous as many predators can easily get to them. Dirt floors are also hard to keep clean and can lead to outbreaks of disease.
If at all possible, you want your chicken coop to be off the ground. This is the best way to keep unhealthy bugs, rodents, and other predators out of the coop or hen house. It is also the best preventive measure for keeping the floor dry during wet weather.
If you chicken coop is built more than 18 inches above ground level, make sure you add a wooden ramp so the birds can enter and exit without harming themselves.
The next important issue you have to address is one that can make or break your efforts. It has to do with water.
Chicken coops, hen houses, and chicken runs all need some form of delivering clean, fresh water to your birds. It has been estimated that as many birds die from lack of water as from all other threats combined. This is especially true in hot weather.
There is no set amount of water per bird. Chickens will drink when they get thirsty provided they have access to clean water. It is vitally important that you provide enough watering points for the number of birds you have. You should know that chickens will often refuse to drink water that is filthy or has droppings in it. They will also refuse to drink water that is either too cold or too hot.
Many quality chicken coop plans will contain important information on how to set up watering points to accommodate the number of birds you plan to house. Do not underestimate the importance of watering your animals properly.
As you can see, many of the potential problems associated with raising chickens can be prevented by simply being prepared. Give your chickens the right type of feed, as determined by their age and purpose, provide them with fresh water, and build them a chicken coop that is safe and secure and many of your worries will be gone. If you run into anything you do not understand, look into one of the many online forums dedicated to this hobby. You will be surprised at how many people will help you as you try to learn how to raise chickens that are healthy and wholesome.
Be sure to read part 1 basics of Basics of Raising Chickens