"The 3 Biggest Problems Owners Have in Raising Chickens!"
Sometimes in order to succeed we need to learn how not to fail. And when it comes to raising chickens, learning from others who have gone before us can be a huge help in dealing with our own flock's troubles. Plus being prepared for the disasters, which can strike at any time, will improve your chicken raising skills to an art form.
1. Protecting their flock against predators is the #1 biggest challenge with keeping your chickens safe.
It's not easy! And there are LOTS of animals out there who want to take the opportunity to eat your chickens. Raccoons, bears, snakes, hawks, coyotes, neighborhood dogs, skunks, and at times even other people might decide to take an opportunity to hurt your brood. Your number one defense against predation, is to be on your guard and ready all the time. Sometimes you can keep other protective animals with your chickens, around them and in their pens. Animals like pygmy goats, geese, guard dogs, or donkeys can sometimes be effective in helping ward off some predators.
Of course building a Sherman-tank strength coop will help as well, but even at that you are going to have constant sneak-attacks and attempts for your chicken's lives. So any time you hear commotion out of your flock, you're still going to have to check on them and make sure everything is okay.
You might also want to try some other protective strategies like... small gauge chicken wire, electric fences, and maybe ultrasonic noise deterrents.
2. Another big chicken owner concern is... 'how' to take care of a chicken once it becomes sick.
Many illnesses can hit your flock, things like upper respiratory infections (URI), fowl pox, Avian Diphtheria, plus a host of others. And unless you are already prepared to deal with the problems as they arise, you're going to need some help deciding how to care for them. For the most part, it is quite standard for most people to just allow the illnesses to take their course and see what happens with the chicken. And that might be okay for you. It may mean the hen will not survive, and you'll have to be okay with that outcome.
Your other main option is to visit a local veterinarian, treating your hens just like any other family pet, to see what's wrong with them, and to get the treatments as recommended by the doctor. Surprisingly, not a lot of owners raising chickens do this. However it is slowly becoming more and more common throughout the U.S. for owners to take one of their hens in to see the veterinarian for care. In fact, just recently I got report from a reader describing how her chicken's beak had grown irregularly, and so she took the hen in to the doctor for treatment. That was one of a only a handful of reported visits to the doctor for a chicken, that I've heard of.
3. The final big problem with raising your own flock is... cleanliness.
In this case, cleanliness is a vitally important part of keeping a healthy brood. From clean food and water dishes, to fresh bedding and laying material in the nest box, as the owner you get all the smelly benefits of making sure your chickens (and your food supply) stay clean.
The following cleaning and disinfecting suggestions come from an interview with Dr. Larrison:
Chicks need better sanitation than older chickens. Replace their floor covering every week, and do a top scraping every day until 10 weeks of age. Adults need floor covering changes every 2-4 week (depending on conditions), and a 1-2 time weekly top scraping. 4 time a year complete clean with quaternary ammonia or other viracidal compound.
So there you have the 3 biggest problems owners have with raising chickens. Hopefully it helps as useful warning for you, if you decide to keep your own flock, with the things that are going to be the most worrisome, and take up the biggest part of your time.