Rooster to Hen Ratio
The ideal ratio of roosters to hens is 1:12, depending on the nature of the rooster. If you have a lower ratio than that, the rooster may get too aggressive with the hens. If you have a low ratio you’ll also notice that your hens will tend to have bald spots on the back of their heads and featherless patches on their backs. If they’re over-agitated, hens’ egg laying will become sporadic.
Treats and Food
Determine what feed you will have for your chickens. It’s recommended that you get poultry feed and get feed with added protein during the colder seasons. Chickens also like fresh and dried worms, white grapes, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, chard, brussel spout leaves and cherry tomatoes. When the chickens begin to start laying eggs, they will need more calcium in their diet. Usually feeding them a few oyster shells will do the trick.
Depending on where you live, you’ll need to maintain a certain temperature inside the coop. If you install a heating lamp, make sure it’s high enough that it doesn’t overheat the chickens or burn the shavings on the floor. Usually a 250 watt bulb will be warm enough. You’ll also need to collect eggs frequently during the winter because they will tend to freeze.
Introducing New Flock Members Too Quickly
Nothing is more heartbreaking than finding that your flock has turned on the new pullets you couldn’t resist adding to your flock and killed them. For quarantine, as well as safety reasons, new flock members need to be segregated and then introduced slowly. Very slowly. Chickens take their pecking order very seriously and when you mess with it abruptly, things generally end badly.
Building Too Small a Coop
No one has ever said, “I wish I didn’t have so many chickens” or “I wish I had a smaller coop”. As you will find out once you start raising chickens, they are like potato chips and you can’t just have one… or two….or even six. It’s far easier to buy more chickens to fill a too-big coop than to build a larger coop your flock has outgrown, so build your coop from the start for the number of chickens you eventually think you’ll have. Again, trust us on this one.
Hawks, eagles, raccoons, foxes and everything in between, including your neighbor’s dog and maybe even your own family dog is going to try and kill your chickens …and will succeed in doing so unless you lock them up securely in a coop at night and either keep them in a covered, enclosed pen by day or do some serious research into LGDs (livestock guard dogs) or other methods of safely free ranging them.