Laying hens: Tips and facts about care

Chickens are social animals. If you are going to keep chickens, you should keep two. Chickens are also very suitable for teaching children how to handle animals. They don’t need too much care and can be made tame and affectionate, especially if you take them home as chicks.

Make your chickens tame, for and by children

Chickens are lively and friendly animals that create both more activity and more biodiversity in the garden. Keeping and caring for chickens brings children closer to nature. By caring for the chickens themselves, they learn how to deal with responsibility and they gain respect for nature and animals. Chickens can easily be tamed. We would love to give you some tips!

  1. It is best to start early. Chicks are a lot easier and quicker to tame than an adult chicken. It is important to let them get used to the carers early on, so to the children, too.
  2. Chickens need regularity, so you best give them feed and water at regular intervals.
  3. You can win their trust by sitting with them and giving them a nice snack (e.g. Snack garden mix or Snack sea mix).
  4. Once the chickens are used to you, you can pet them carefully. If they let you, you can gradually pick them up and even put them on your lap. The animals will quickly get used to it, but they have to keep feeling that they can trust you.
  5. As it is very hard to regain the trust of a chicken, it is best to keep your kids moving slowly and calmly around chickens. Brusque movements make animals scared quickly.
  6. The voice, too, plays an important role. Always make sure you talk to them in the same manner, so they always recognise your voice and quickly feel comfortable.

Not all chicken breeds are equally as easy to tame. Many children like chickens and occasionally dare to get into mischief with them. The ideal chickens for kids are small, calm, reliable, don’t run too quickly and are relatively easy to make tame. Belgian bantams like the Barbu d’Uccle and the Barbu d’Anvers definitely meet these criteria. Other breeds, like Japanese bantams, Wyandotte chickens and silkies are also suitable.

Did you know that… laying hens lay the most eggs when they are between 20 weeks and 2 years old? When a chicken is 2 years old, she starts laying less regularly.

What to do when my hen's claws become too long?

Claws are used intensively by hens and roosters when rummaging. This shortens their claws. When the claws become too long anyway, then they should be shortened in extreme cases.

Please note: The spurs are saturated with blood at the base. You should, therefore, not cut more than necessary.

Can my hen have problems with its beak?

Periodically check the length and hardness of the beak. It can always happen that the upper beak of the hen grows too much. This will not only be to the detriment of the hen´s appearance, but will also have a negative impact on food intake and on the hen´s general condition. An upper beak that is too long, is best shortened at the tip of the beak. This can be done by an experienced chicken keeper or veterinarian.

Do my hens' feathers need looking after?

Hens like to take a dust bath to clean their plumage. If the hens have a range, they will look for a place with fine sand to bathe there. If they have no access to it, it is best to provide some fine sand and wood ash.

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