When you’ve got a bunch of hens living together, one of the last things you want is for their egg production to drop, especially if you can do something about it. Thankfully, one of the biggest factors, fear, is an aspect you can take charge of and eliminate, keeping your hens clucking and happily making eggs. Here’s how to keep them free from fear.
Chickens, no matter where you raise them, will always encounter predators. Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, badgers, cats, hawks, owls, you name it, it’s out there. Thankfully, just because predators are everywhere doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to just easily snatch your birds whenever they like. Simple precautions can go a long way, such as a fence built all the way around your chicken’s area. Any holes to said fence need to be repaired as soon as they’re found, eliminating the chance of predator’s taking advantage of random opportunities. If you’re worried about hawks and buzzards, consider adding netting above the chicken run as well, once again having any holes repaired as soon as possible.
Providing a safe environment to roost is also necessary for your chicken’s overall health and wellbeing, so if they have a dark, creaky coop, they’ll be more likely to produce poor eggs or generally seemed tense even during the daytime. Make sure their coop is nice and secure so that predator’s can’t just break in (assuming they somehow get past the fence that is), and consider adding some lights to allow your hens to see everything around them, even during night. When they want to sleep, they’ll sleep, so don’t worry about lights keeping them awake.
If for some reason your flock does get spooked by something, and really anything can set them off without warning, the simplest solution is to distract them with some feed. Even in the face of a predator attack, chickens seem more than happy to forget their troubles when a handful of feed is tossed to them. As odd as they may sound, it’s just that easy sometimes.
Remember that a fearful chicken won’t produce eggs correctly. The stress of worry will either take their production capabilities down to nothing altogether or will result in eggs that are deformed or lack substance. Add that fence, put in some lights, and keep the feed handy in case you need to run out and quell and outbreak amongst the hens. Keep them happy and safe and the eggs should be plentiful.
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