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Caring for a Feathered Flock

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(Family Features) An antidote to the stresses of work and the fast pace of modern life may be closer than you realize. Whether on family farms or in urban backyards, chickens have the power to make your corner of the planet better.

Not only does raising chickens provide you with access to eggs for a tasty, nutritious and versatile food source, it also allows your family to be more self-sufficient, reduce your food miles and establish a family hobby that allows you to connect with one another.

“Chickens make wonderful companions and are often an overlooked option when a family is seeking the countless social, cognitive, physical and emotional benefits of pet ownership,” said Dr. Tanya K. Bailey, a pet therapist and creator of Pet Away Worry & Stress, a program that celebrates the healing connection between humans, animals and nature. “The fact is, many backyard chicken owners view their chickens as lovable household pets that contribute to their family’s sense of well-being.”

Before you bring your own flock home, consider these tips for raising chickens successfully:

Food
You may think of chickens as grain-eating vegetarians, but they’re actually omnivores with a diverse diet. Most chickens eat insects, as well as herbs, fruits, vegetables and grains. Experts recommend having enough food available for chickens to graze throughout the day, but a single daily feeding is usually adequate.

A specially designed chicken waterer can help ensure your hens always have a supply of clean water, but some prefer a trough-style waterer instead.

Housing
Chickens require room to roam, but they also need protection from predators and the weather. The most common setup for chicken housing involves an enclosed coop and a secure area where they can wander freely. Plan to secure several square feet of space per chicken to avoid crowding.

The coop you need will depend on many factors, but a versatile option like the Eglu Pro chicken coop is suitable for flocks of varying sizes. It provides housing for up to 10 large hens or 15 bantams with a low-maintenance design and hygienic, comfortable habitat. The coop offers a controllable climate with adjustable vents and double-walled insulation and numerous features to protect chickens from predators, including raccoon-proof locks.

“Over many hours, we watched, learned, asked and then invented an enhanced coop that does justice to the brilliance of the humble chicken, a pet that can bring so much joy to family members of all ages,” said Johannes Paul, co-founder of Omlet. “The ingenuity of the Eglu Pro is that it turns the dream of keeping chickens into a reality for everyone. Created not just for the chicken but because of the chicken, this coop helps those who are looking to slow down, destress and take control of their busy lives or crave the need to build a community around them.”

Health
It’s important to keep a close eye on your chickens’ health and safety. Proper housing and routine cleaning are keys to deter predators and prioritize hygiene to help minimize illnesses. Just like other pets, chickens require sufficient exercise and stimulation to maintain good health, which you can provide with foraging activities.

If you’re considering a new pet, chickens make for a lovable, economical option. Find more advice for raising a feathered flock at omlet.us.


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