A Dummies Guide on How to Care for Chickens


What came first: The chicken or the egg? Who cares, as long as you take good care of the chickens that lay the eggs?

Proper care for chickens is essential for anyone with a roost full of them. Learn how to raise them right by reading on.

Tender, Loving Care for Chickens

The first step in raising them right is deciding whether to keep them free-range. Free-range chickens have more room to roam. They also eat any slugs or snails you have.

Chickens in a coop may make you do more. You’d have to clean their coop more often. What’s more, such chickens can’t forage in the grass or get as much fresh air or light.

If you’re not going to build a coop, you’ll have to buy one. Keep it predator-proof, well-ventilated, and draft-free. Have enough room for the number of chickens you want.

You can buy a chicken coop from a warehouse, pet store, ranch supply store, or online. Coops can run you anywhere from $200 to $600, according to their size.

If you plan to build a coop, design your own, or get a design online. Put the coop in a space with a few dirt patches and more than enough grass. Chickens love to bathe in dust and eat grass.

Next up, accessorize that coop with nesting boxes, perches, and bedding. That’s where they’ll roost at night. The more chickens you have, the more perches you should buy.

Bedding should be absorbent, made of straw or wood shavings. Such bedding lets you clean up chickens’ waste easily and quickly.

The Hard Work of Parenthood

The work of (in some sense) parenting chickens continues.

Dogs, cats, raccoons, and other chicken predators can squeeze between cracks in the fence or coop. They can even dig under the fence or coop. Reinforce the enclosure to keep the chickens in.

You’ll need the right equipment. That includes bedding supplies, feeding equipment, and additional items. Buy water and feed containers.

Get the right kind of chicken feed. It comes in three main kinds: finisher feed, layer pellets, and standard chicken feed.

Add high-calcium grit to your chickens’ diet. Eggshells or crushed oyster shells provide a wealth of calcium.

Limit the number of treats you give your chickens. Treats can include fruits, vegetables, bugs, table scraps, and seeds. Chicken feed should remain the staple of their diet.

See how much feed you should lay out. Always have fresh water on tap.

To maintain the coop, let the chickens in and out, gather their eggs, and clean the coop every day. Give your chickens sand or dry dirt to bathe in. Wash them yourself if necessary.


Providing sufficient care for chickens takes some work. There are many steps to follow, but the steps are well worth it.

In the end, your strong, healthy chickens will lay some robust eggs. It won’t matter which came first.

Come in first place in pet care by heading over to the site’s Pet Care section.