Chickens are pretty much at the lower tier of the food chain. Practically everything would want a bite out of them be it falcons, eagles, foxes, wildcats, snakes, owls and even raccoons, dogs and cats.
In order to remedy this, you need to have properly secured chicken coops that can withstand predator attacks. Also, a secure fenced chicken run is needed for when the chickens are outside. In the event that you want your chickens free ranging, it helps to have plenty of tree cover to keep flying predator visibility at minimal levels.
People often don’t expect to get a rooster in their flock. The sex of a chicken can be difficult to determine when they are born. There may be times when you are sold a rooster instead of a hen. In the event that you did opt to get one, be sure you keep their hostility in place. Roosters can be very hostile and frowned upon in the poultry industry. They have a tendency to assault hens and even humans. It helps to keep a good rooster to hen ratio, so that roosters don't over mate hens. Some experts advise that one rooster for every ten hens would do. This helps lessen rivalry in the flock and promotes healthy mating conduct.
Roosters that attack humans can be dealt with catching them and holding them until they calm down. This will alert them that you’re in charge and that they can’t go anywhere without your leave. As with most pet training, this is also best done while the rooster is still young.
If this technique doesn’t minimize their hostility, human-assaulting roosters are best relocated or even euthanized.
Molting is a common process in chickens wherein they lose and regrow their feathers. This is usually accompanied by a slower or abrupt stop in egg production which causes owners to worry. This is actually not something to worry about. As the chicken is concerned about regrowing their feathers, they focus all their nutrients on the regrowing stage and lessen usage of nutrients on egg laying. In order to help keep your chicken properly nourished, be sure they have a high protein diet. They should be back to egg-laying as soon as the molting process is over.
Mites or lice may also cause feather loss. Mites are parasites that reside in your chicken coop and suck the chicken’s blood at night whereas lice remain on the chicken’s body. In order to avoid this, be sure your chicken coop is cleaned regularly. Proper hygiene before and after handling chickens is also a must. If the issue lasts for more than 3 months, consider visiting a vet.
Hens reared for the production of eggs commonly see instances of cannibalism within the flock. Regardless of whether hens are cooped up, caged, or in free-range environments, there is a potential for cannibalism to sprout all of a sudden. As it is a learned behavior that starts from feather pecking, it can spread quickly throughout the flock unless dealt with right away.
This behavior is best prevented rather than treated. Here are some ways how:
- Introduce chicken toys in the backyard. There are numerous pecking toys out there in the market that can help redirect their pecks to safer surfaces.
- Avoid overcrowding. The flock needs adequate space to drink and eat. Otherwise, limited space can encourage hens to compete for food and drink which leads to feather pecking and cannibalism.
- Keep temperatures in check. Warm temperatures tend to raise discomfort among birds which causes them to start pecking. As it can eventually lead to cannibalism, be sure cool water is always present and the coop area is well-ventilated.
- Lighting should be moderated. Too much light or prolonged exposure to light can cause birds to become hostile. This is especially important in breeding farms wherein birds are exposed to light therapy to produce larger eggs.
Images: Courtesy of The Chicken Lawyer