When people ask me what it takes to tend to a flock of chickens, I tell them that in order to raise good strong chickens that will someday contribute to the community you’ll need the following.
- Healthy food – so that the chicks can grow strong and maintain the nutrients needed to help fight off illness
- Water – plenty of good, clean water, free of contaminants and available at all times
- A safe place to sleep – warm and free from monsters under the bed
- Room for exercise and a gentle push out of the nest in the morning – so that the chicks can take full advantage of every day, whether it has sunshine, rain, or snow
- Limited access to diversion – if a chicken is too distracted then fun wins over responsibilities. With too much diversion, there is the very real chance that a chicken will forget to eat food, drink water, or not pay attention when a hawk flies overhead. Chickens know what to do, let them do what they need to that job o without getting in their way or by competing when it’s time for them to pay attention to the important stuff.
- Enough opportunities for the youngsters of the flock to learn from the elders – it is through the wisdom of the older flock members that lessons like “this is where home is” are taught to new members.
- Boundaries – although you don’t want to keep your chickens caged, your chickens will need to know where the line is drawn between what is acceptable and what is not
- Members of a flock – a chicken alone cannot survive. In order to grow and contribute, that chicken needs to know she is never alone in life and that other members of the flock will always have her back, even when mistakes are made.
- Words of encouragement – even though your chickens will provide you eggs and meat regardless of what is (or is not) said. A simple thank you or nod of your head in their general direction reminds *you* that your flock has given you a gift.
Contributions to others, even if it is from a chicken, is always something that should be positively recognized by everyone.