This time of year many chicken owners, both seasoned and new ,are enjoying their springtime chickens. While adorable, they do need some care. In addition, your chicks aren't the only babies in the area. Predators also have babies to feed and will be particularly aggressive about trying to score a meal. Take special precautions for all your poultry.
To help make the best use of your time, we've recorded our topic priorities on the May Chicken Checklist.
1. Buying poultry: If you want to supplement your flock by purchasing chicks, be sure to investigate which chicken breeds work best for your climate. Mixing various breeds of chickens is not typically recommended because of the different temperaments of the breeds. More aggressive breeds will pick on more docile chickens - potentially to the point of killing them.
2. Baby birds: Ensure plenty of supplies are on hand for the arrival of babies. Extra drinking fountains for baby birds and extra feed dishes are helpful and always make sure there are plenty of extra heat lamps on hand. It seems there must be a rule that heat lamps will only fail when you are experiencing the cooler evenings of the season. Chicks consume a lot of feed for their size, so always be sure to have plenty of chick starter on hand.
If you are incubating or allowing broody hens to hatch eggs, you may find the babies come in batches and they can't all go into the same baby housing together because older birds can trample younger ones. Baby birds must diligently be house according to size to prevent injuries, stress and loss.
3. Be diligent about checking drinking water. As the temperatures climb, birds will be drinking much more water. Also, any drinking fountains placed in direct sunlight will quickly grow algae.
4. It may be time to temporarily contain free ranging birds: Owls and hawks are very aggressive in spring. Poultry allowed to roost at night faces a highly increased risk of becoming an owls dinner. Keeping a close eye on your flock and monitoring your environment is critical. Once a predatory bird finds an easy meal, they will return repeatedly, so don't layout the welcome mat. Put your coop to good use. Inspect your coop fencing to make sure it is secure from top to bottom.
5. Inspect feed storage containers: Not only are your domesticated animals having babies, so are your undomesticated one. Rodents such as squirrels, rats and possums all have babies to feed and are now particularly aggressive about finding whatever food they can. Be sure your storage containers are in good condition and securely sealed when not being undesirably accessed.