Chickens are now more common as domestic pets, with even suburban Sydney houses adopting the practice. According to a national study of over 4000 people, chickens are kept in over 416,000 Australian homes, ranking them the fourth most common pet after dogs, cats, and fish. Most Sydney councils allow citizens to keep a chicken coop in Australia, restrict hens roosters, and place chicken houses away from property borders. While hens make excellent pets, they have a variety of demands in terms of hygiene, comfort, peace of mind, and the ability to express natural behaviour in addition to food and water. They should be able to meet these while roaming freely. However, if circumstances prevent you from doing so, you can add the following chicken coop essentials into their enclosures. The interior of a chicken coop in Australia can be designed to fulfil a wide range of daily demands with little care at the design stage. These supplies are also beneficial to free-range birds if their forage does not give them naturally. The following are some of the essential items to be included in the interior of a chicken coop:
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At night, chickens perch on branches out of range of predatory animals. This need is met by placing wooden resting bars or branches inside a shelter that can be closed at night. Birds should be able to grab the bars comfortably if they have curved edges and are roughly two inches wide. The height of the roost varies depending on the breed: light to medium birds favour roosts that are at least two feet high, whereas heavier birds, including those with feathery feet, may choose lower perches. Roosting is a basic instinct for chicks, but they must learn to accomplish it. They sometimes fly up with their mother or, at first, require modest perching bars. Adults without roosting privileges may gather on the floor or try to reach the roosting pole. They are exposed to excrement and have a higher risk of illness and parasites when they nest on the floor. Ladders or lower ledges can be used to encourage them.
Area to scratch
To get food, chickens scrape, peck and scratch at the ground naturally. They fill the better part of the day feeding in this manner at range. Food in a container will not entirely satisfy the craving, and a chicken without grit or litter to scratch would quickly get bored and unhappy. It’s helpful to spread some grains in straw or dirt to scratch while restricting them to a pen or chicken coop in Australia. Of course, this will need to be maintained clean to avoid disease.
Bathe in dust
Chickens, unlike songbirds, do not bathe in water. Instead, every few days, they roll in the dirt. This habit is required to maintain the health of their feathers. They cleanse and oil their feathers with a preen gland near the tail when preening. They dust-bathe to get rid of old preen oil and pests.
Furthermore, chickens have a great desire to engage in the practice since dust-bathing brings them happiness! It’s critical to create a dust bath inside the chicken fence to engage in this behaviour at their leisure. The area should be kept dry, clean, and shielded. Rice hulls, wood shavings and other litter are not as appealing to chickens as soil, sand, or peat. To improve parasite control, you can also add kaolin or diatomaceous earth.
Chickens, like people, obtain vitamin D from the sun. They also love extending and broadening their wings in the sun’s rays. A shady corner might double as a dust bath and a sun lounge.
Including these items in your chicken coop in Australia and runs will keep your chickens engaged in healthy and enjoyable activities. This is a group activity, similar to preening and dust-bathing, so everyone should be able to find a spot in the sun.
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