PSA to New Chicken Owners: Don’t Make The Same Mistakes She Did

A bit of free advice is nothing to cluck at. Especially when it comes to raising chickens for the first time.

TikToker @onlyfarmssabs recently offered a few chicken care tips for new chicken owners in hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes she did. We’ll explain her tips, and then offer eight more below.

The Must-Know Chicken Care Tips She Shared

Image Credit: TikTok @onlyfarmssabs.

Here’s how you can learn from her mistakes. 

1. Food For Flock

chickens eating

Before you can think about eating farm-fresh eggs, you need to think about what you’re feeding your chickens. In addition to high-quality chicken feed, there are two things in particular you should give to your feathered friends. 

First, provide your adult chickens with free choice calcium. 

According to @onlyfarmssabs, this step is as easy as grinding up their eggshells and placing these crumbs in a separate food bowl. “Even if their food says added oyster shells or whatever for added calcium, still give them free choice calcium.”

A calcium-rich diet helps chickens grow healthy bones and produce hard, quality eggshells. 

However, you should avoid giving young chickens high-calcium diets. Too much calcium can cause kidney damage which will shorten their overall lifespan. 

The next ingredient to chicken success is apple cider vinegar. At a ratio of one cap of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water, place this mixture in their water bowl. “This can help to prevent internal worms. It can help prevent mites,” @onlyfarmssabs promises. “And it boosts their immune system.” 

The final food tidbit is all about adding a bit of spice. Garlic and chili to be precise. @Onlyfarmssabs sprinkles powdered garlic and chili flakes into chicken feed to help with deworming. 

2. Coop Care

chicken coop

The next step has to do with coop care. 

Chicken coops are messy. Excrement, food scraps, feather dust… not to mention whatever material your girls are using as bedding. Regular coop cleaning is necessary to prevent unwanted guests such as rats and diseases from joining your hens. 

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to help keep your hens healthy between deep cleans: First Saturday lime or diatomaceous earth. 

Whichever powder you choose, @onlyfarmssabs recommends sprinkling the substance throughout the chicken coop, including the nesting boxes and dust baths.

Doing so will help prevent infestations of mites and other tiny bugs. 

Sprinkling either substance into the chickens’ water will help prevent algae buildup. 

@onlyfarmssabs #chickenpreventativecare #chickencare #chickens #backyardchickens #chickenkeeping #chickenkeepingmusthaves #chickencaretips ♬ original sound – sabs renee

Help From the Comments

People in the comments had other bits of advice as well.

“Plant nutritious plants throughout their yard or run and give them access to it,” suggested @Mr.Nonexistent, “The leafy green vegetables like kale or spinach are high [in] calcium.” 

To that point, chickens are a great way to reduce food waste. Your feathered friends will go gaga over broccoli and most other vegetables your kids didn’t want to eat. 

And various people cautioned against using diatomaceous earth, claiming that it is harmful for chickens to breathe. Made up of fossilized diatoms, diatomaceous earth can contain sharp particles. Even when tiny, these particles could cause lung damage. 

So if you want to play it safe, it might be best to stick with First Saturday Lime. 

Several viewers also offered that placing a piece of copper in water bowls is an easy way to prevent algae buildup.

8 More Chicken Care Tips

chickens eating

While we enjoyed both of her chicken care tips, we has to off ten more of our own.

1. Safety First: Beware of Predators

Your feathery friends might be at the top of the pecking order in the coop, but outside, they’re a tasty treat for predators.

Ditch the chicken wire and upgrade to hardware cloth—it’s tougher and keeps out sly critters like raccoons and foxes. And for those nighttime nuisances?

Motion-activated lights can be a game-changer, startling and deterring potential threats.

2. Chickens: The Social Butterflies

Believe it or not, chickens are quite the socialites. If you’re just starting, @onlyfarmssabs suggests a trio to kick things off.

It prevents loneliness and ensures there’s always some chatter in the coop. But, like any social circle, watch out for drama—bullying isn’t just a playground issue.

Keep an eye out for any pecking order disputes.

3. Routine Health Checks: A Must-Do

Just as you’d have a regular check-up, so should your chickens. Look for red flags like feather loss, unusual behavior, or any signs of fatigue.

Knowledge is power—familiarize yourself with common chicken ailments so you can act swiftly if one looks under the weather.

4. Eggstra Care for Those Eggs

Fresh eggs? Yes, please! But remember to collect them daily.

It ensures they’re in tip-top shape and reduces the chances of finding a dirty or cracked one. And for those precious moments when an egg is laid? @onlyfarmssabs swears by comfy nesting boxes filled with straw or wood shavings.

5. Happy Chickens, Happy Life

Ever seen a bored chicken? It’s not a pretty sight.

Keep your flock entertained with toys, perches, and the ever-popular dust baths. Rotate their roaming grounds for fresh foraging opportunities. A busy chicken is a happy chicken.

6. Weathering the Storm

Whether it’s the scorching heat of summer or the biting cold of winter, your coop should be a safe haven.

Insulate during colder months and consider a heat source if Jack Frost is particularly harsh. Come summer, ventilation and shade are your best friends.

7. Vaccinate, Don’t Hesitate

Depending on where you set up shop, vaccinations might be more than just a good idea—they could be essential. Stay informed and keep your flock safe from common regional diseases.

8. Newbies on the Block? Quarantine!

Introducing new members to your feathery family? Hold your horses—or rather, chickens. A few weeks of quarantine for any newcomers is a good idea.

As a precaution to ensure they don’t introduce any illnesses to your main flock.

Website | + posts

Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.