TIPS FOR RAISING CHICKENS STRESS FREE
Chickens are just like people – when they are not comfortable, they get stressed; and when they get stressed they don’t perform as well as you want them to. Finer birds are more susceptible to stress. It is in your interest to make sure they are not stressed. Here’s how:
- Keep predators away
Chicken are predisposed towards flight than fight instincts, which means they scare easily. Should a cat break into the chicken house at night, more chickens will die from crowding in the corner than from actually getting attacked by the cat. Rats are also capable of attacking young chicken. Fear creates stress in them so ensure they are not exposed to any kind of predators. You may also want to keep them indoors where hawks and eagles cannot swoop down for a young one. Stressed chickens get sick easily.
- Protect them from Severe Heat or Cold
Protect your chicken from extreme temperature conditions. The weather may be warm in most of sub Saharan Africa, but cold nights persist even in hot countries like Ethiopia and Botswana. Proper ventilation systems and artificial lighting should be sufficient to prevent extreme temperatures. During the rainy season when night temperatures are very cool, farmers should feed their poultry in the evening because birds like to stock up on food before getting out into the cold.
- Avoid Sudden Change in Living Environment
Avoid changing their living arrangements too suddenly; otherwise the birds go through stress. Moving them to a different house, exposing them to sudden changes in temperature and allowing other animals to sleep in their coop are all no-nos. Even separating two birds that appear to be bosom friends can have negative effects.
- Minimize Grooming
Minimize the amount of bathing, feather pulling, clipping of beaks and nails and inspecting for external parasites. All these make chicken uneasy. Treat them for mites using dust which is much easier on them.
- No overcrowding
The chicken coop has to be big enough for each chicken to have at least three square feet. If they are squeezed together, they will get stressed and their productivity will go down. Chickens’ appetite goes down when overcrowded and they also produce fewer eggs.
- Keep the Dog Away
House pets such as cats and dogs should not be allowed to display aggression on chicken. Often cats play hunting games which make the chicken scared, dogs may also bark around them which will scare them. Once in a while, dogs have been known to attack chicken. A good tip is to keep the dog safely locked away during the day.
- Be Friendly
Interact with your poultry on a daily basis. This allows them to get used to you so that when you walk in, they don’t all cower in the corner! Never hold chicken by their feet upside down because it is very uncomfortable.
- Have plenty of chicken nests and roosts
At least three nests for every eight hens and a roost for each chicken is standard. Scarcity of resources is not good for chickens.
Other Africa Poultry Information
- Profitable Chicken Farming Business
- Successful Poultry Coop Building
- Build an Affordable Long Lasting Chicken Coop
- Successful Egg Hatching for Baby Chicks
- Successful Chicken Egg Laying Strategies
- Successful Chicken Feeding
- How to Raise Chickens Stress Free
- Raising Chickens for Meat
- Successful Chicken Disease Management
- Chicken Resources