What do I feed my backyard chickens?
Chickens are omnivores, which means they can survive on both plant and animal matter. A balanced diet when raising chickens including fruit, vegetables, scraps and insects can assist in meeting their nutritional requirements.
When feeding chickens, their food should be served as layered pellets and mixed grains, supplemented by scraps and shell grit, alongside fresh water daily. They can eat kitchen scraps, but avoid chocolate, onions and garlic, human foods which can be bad for animals.
It is best for chooks to eat through a chicken feeder that is both vermin and bird proof, which protects their source of food from predators and contamination.
What is involved in the daily care of backyard chickens?
While arguably easier than a dog, backyard chickens do require daily maintenance, so ensure you and your family are up for the challenge of how to keep chickens and that you are ready for a pet before welcoming the responsibility into your home.
Chickens require fresh food and clean water daily, as well as a break out of the coop in the day and back in at dusk to avoid any predators.
Egg collection should happen twice daily, with the coop being cleaned at least weekly (including feeders and water stations) to prevent disease, infection and odour.
What’s the scoop on chicken poop?
As well as providing your family with freshly laid, cage-free eggs, chicken manure is a great source of compost for your backyard garden.
The key here is to ensure the chicken poop is composted (decomposed) before being placed in your soil, where it will need to mature for about two months before being repurposed in your garden.
Try adding anywhere from 30-50 per cent chicken manure to 50-70 per cent ‘brown’ compost materials such as leaves, twigs, branches and dried grass.
Follow the steps for creating your own backyard composting guide.