Chicken scratching, cooing and chattering in the garden happily is a beautiful picture that makes many people want to keep their chickens. Animals are not only beneficial eaters of pests, but they also provide fresh eggs and – if you like – meat. But if you want to buy chicken, you should not do it unprepared. After all, they are creatures that have their own needs. You should definitely avoid these 5 common mistakes when raising chickens if you want to keep your animals happy and healthy.
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Mistake #1: Not enough space for every chicken
The image of chickens sitting on the perch in their coop all day is wrong and is shaped by modern factory farming. In order to live decently, chickens need a lot of exercise. It should be at least eight to ten square meters per animal. Chickens love to roam freely in the garden and only retire to the coop to sleep or breed. So, before you buy chickens, plan exactly how much the garden you want to give to the animals. The number of animals that can be kept is then measured in a species-appropriate manner on the basis of area.
Mistake 2: Choosing the wrong breed
There are about 180 chicken breeds in Europe. Many of these are regional characteristics, of which there are only small stocks. Depending on the breed, animals differ not only in size, color and behavior, but also in their quality as eggs or meat suppliers. Many people choose chicken for its decorative value and then get unpleasant surprises. Therefore, before buying, seek advice from the breeder. Otherwise, you risk that the eggs you hope will fail, the animals are belligerent or they do not tolerate weather conditions well and get sick.
Mistake #3: Reducing the noise
A common mistake is not informing the neighbors when keeping chickens in your own garden. Chickens may not be as loud as a dog’s, for example, but they definitely have a line of communication. While some people like the clucking and cooing of chicken scratching, it gets on their nerves to others. If a rooster comes and wakes the inhabitants with a lively crow in the early morning, the good neighborhood may quickly end.
Mistake 4: Feeding the wrong chicken
Chickens that get enough exercise in the yard or garden are largely self-sufficient. They eat grains as well as worms, insects, small snails, seeds and feed. However, the food that animals find outside is usually not enough. Therefore, chickens should be fed with grain or concentrated feed mixtures. If animals get too little calcium, the eggshell becomes brittle. If deficiency symptoms appear, the animals often stop laying eggs and can get sick. Avocados, onions and citrus fruits have no place in the chicken coop – they are poisonous to chickens and can even kill animals. It should not be fed raw meat as this can lead to pecking and cannibalism among the chickens.
Mistake 5: Not registering chickens
In most German federal states, poultry farmers are required to register their animals with the Veterinary Office and the Animal Disease Fund. It doesn’t matter if you keep them privately or professionally, or how many animals you keep. Recording is important so that in the event of an epidemic (such as bird flu), safety measures can be taken to prevent uncontrolled spread. If the disease is proven to be spreading, there are severe penalties. You should also keep an inventory record and proof of vaccination for the animals.
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