• Ark Animals

Chicken Care Guide

The Species: Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) also known as Domestic Chickens are a common pets and farm animals, they have been domesticated from the Red Junglefowl and selectively bred for the food industry but also for pets/companion animals. Chickens now reside across the globe with hundreds of different breeds ranging in size, colour and feather shape. These birds make brilliant pets, they are extremely intelligent, even being able to count. Chickens are social, usually living in flocks with one mature male (Cockerel/Rooster) who protects the group and will compete with other males if they try to take over as the top male. Because of this, with a flock of Chickens, there should only be one male in a group to prevent territorial behaviours.

Enclosure: Chickens should ideally be kept in large, outdoor enclosures with a nest box, alternatively they can free roam a property with a secure pen or nest box to return to. If being kept inside a pen, should have a nest box of at least 18 square foot and a run which is at least 90 square foot, giving them a total enclosure size of 110 square foot for six chickens. with an enclosure of 37 square foot for a pair. If free roaming throughout the day, their enclosure can be smaller as long as it is a comfortable size for the entire flock to nest in. All chickens should be locked away at night to prevent them from being hunted by nocturnal predators such as foxes, cats etc.

Chickens should have a base substrate for their enclosure to keep their hygiene this is usually using wood shavings, wood chips or other alternative substrates such as sand. They should also be given nesting materials usually hay or straw, this is to keep them comfortable and warm. Their enclosure and nest box should be cleaned out every week to make sure they are kept in good health. It is very important to provide lots of decor and apparatus to explore, hides, branches, perches, sand trays, and many more. Chickens can usually occupy themselves throughout the day however it is important to provide them with lots of enrichment.

Heating: These birds can cope with drastic temperature changes due to them adapting to various climates, being a domesticated species, shelter and nest boxes should be provided to these animals in case temperatures raise too high or drop too low. Make sure they have access to shade and constant water access for hot temperatures, and should have nesting materials to keep them warm in cold temperatures.

Lighting: Chickens should ideally be kept outside with the rest of its flock, allowing them to get natural lighting and UVB rays. If kept inside, they should be provided with artificial UVB lighting of approximately 12%, this lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle.

Humidity: Chickens can cope with a wide humidity range due to them adapting to various climates, being a domesticated species, shelter and nest boxes should be provided to these animals in case the humidity raise too high.

Diet: Chicken are omnivores however a basic diet for these birds can include layers pellets and poultry corn, meal worms can be given as a treat but not as a diet on its own. At Ark Animals, we make up our own complete diet for poultry and other farm birds.

Supplementation: These birds benefit from having grit or oyster shell within their diet to give them additional calcium, other supplements are vitamins which can be put into the water they have access to.

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