Aren’t backyard chickens the greatest? They’re funny, adorable, and they poop breakfast! We love our feathered girls and have learned some tricks to care for them more efficiently. Read on for my list of cheap and easy hacks for backyard chickens!
I might have affiliate links in this article. I appreciate you supporting my little flock!
These are tried-and-true hacks for backyard chickens, straight from a new chicken mama.
Stop Poopin’ on the Porch!
One thing which was actually a problem for us was: how do we get our backyard chickens to not come up onto the back porch? We’re not on a big property, and we didn’t want to have to sidestep poop right by the back door. Plus the thought of building a fence around our porch seemed cumbersome and, well, ridiculous.
We found that buying a few cheap rubber snakes, and scattering them around by the back door, really helped deter our girls from going to places we don’t want them! (We did make the mistake of never moving the snakes around, so eventually our hens figured out that they were being duped. So don’t make that mistake!).
This is probably one of my favorite, and most creative, hacks for backyard chickens.
Replace Your Laying Hens’ Calcium for Free!
A lot of people buy crushed oyster shells from their local feed store, and offer it to their chickens to help keep up their body’s calcium supply. A laying hen must have adequate calcium, or else her eggs will have weak shells; conversely, her own body can suffer as calcium is pulled from her bones to make the eggs. These crushed oyster shells aren’t particularly expensive, and one bag will probably last you a while, as you just offer it in a separate spot from the chickens’ feed so they can grab it as needed.
I, however, have found that if I keep the egg shells from my own hens, let them dry out in the kitchen and then crush them up, my girls are just fine! We’ve never had an issue with their egg shells cracking or being weak. And hey, that’s a free hack!
I have a whole video about the calcium which you can find on my YouTube channel.
Here, Chicken Chicken Chicken…
I’ve seen lots of videos and articles with elaborate schemes to “Get your chickens to come to you when you call them”. Like a little feathered Pavlovian experiment, my chickens have learned that I am “The Bringer of Treats.” They literally run to me when they see me come outside in the afternoon because they know I bring strawberry tops, watermelon, fresh corn on the cob, and other healthy food. If you can try to make “snack time” the same time of day, it will really help your birds learn to come to you.
One of my hens, Dottie (the black and white silver laced wyandotte) was never really bold around us until she started getting her tummy filled by yummy treats. Now she’s like my shadow if I have food in my hand! So trust me, food – and a consistent schedule – are the best way to get your chickens to be tame, to look for you, and to come when you call.
Get the Bugs to Come to Your Flock!
I’d love to grow and harvest our own supply of protein-rich mealworms for the chickens, but it can be a slow, tedious process… And I just don’t have the time. Instead, we hose down part of the backyard and let the flock just wait for bugs. All sorts of worms and beetles will come up for air, and the chickens are waiting! Alternatively, you can let chickens into your compost heap. We have one of the rotating barrel-style composters, or else we’d let the girls have their fill of soldier fly larvae and other bugs that help break down the compost.
Make a Snack That Helps Ward Off Parasites and Boost Immunity
Another immune-boosting chicken snack involves fresh garlic. The chickens don’t mind the taste of raw garlic, and your eggs won’t taste garlic-y unless you feed garlic every day. I have a video here of what I mix in that snack, and my chickens gobble it up within two minutes! Garlic is really cheap if you don’t grow your own – I think it’s like $.66/bulb right now at HEB – and it’s great for keeping your chickens’ immunity up (and even ridding their body of excess parasites!).
Of course, if you do really suspect mites, worms, or another parasite, some garlic ain’t gonna fix the problem. Observe your birds, be proactive, and treat them as needed.
Store Your Eggs On the Counter
One of the most useful hacks for backyard chickens is for the eggs themselves. I mean, why have chickens if they’re just going to be feathered freeloaders, anyway?
If you don’t wash your chickens’ fresh eggs, they can remain at room temperature for at least two weeks. We were using an old egg crate but it took up a lot of room and just looked gross.
So I got this “egg-er coaster” egg holder for our counter! The oldest egg is always at the bottom so you never waste any eggs, and plus it’s a nice display. I may just be proud of my feathered children.
I got mine on Amazon for $14.
Utilizing these cheap and easy hacks for backyard chickens has made our little homestead in the suburbs more enjoyable, and more affordable. What’s your favorite suggestion?
I’ve got more fowl content coming soon, about chicken chores and the funniest chicken-isms! Thanks as always for reading, and for sharing out my content. My hope is to show people how fun and wonderful backyard chickens can be for any family!
And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for all kinds of quick and easy tips for backyard chickens, as well as my other chicken-related articles right here on RSM.