How much time do chickens require?

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Chickens are really pretty low maintenance.  Much less work than a dog, pretty similar to a cat – and they pay you back in tasty eggs!  So what is involved in taking care of chickens?

Daily Chores- 15-20 minutes

Collect eggs – Once a day is fine.  When a chicken lays an egg, there is an invisible membrane around the egg, called a bloom.  As long as you don’t wash the egg, the bloom will remain intact and will keep out all bacteria.  With the bloom intact, eggs do not need to be refrigerated, so leaving them outside in the coop for a few hours will not harm them.  In the winter, you may want to collect eggs twice a day because unless you have a broody hen sitting on them to keep them warm, they can freeze.  You can still eat a frozen egg if the shell is intact, but sometimes during freezing the shell can crack and it’s best to toss those eggs.

Check the water and feed – I fill and clean the water font every 2-3 days and fill the feed bin as needed, but I check both everyday while I’m out getting eggs.  How often you need to fill it will depend on how many chickens you have and how big your feed bin is.   On my way out to the chickens I bring with me any kitchen scraps or treats I might have for them.

Health check – Spend a minute or so just looking your flock over.  Is anyone acting funny (sneezing, breathing loudly, listless, tipsy, limping, unusually aggressive, etc).  If you can catch illness early, you could avoid a tragedy.

Open & Close the Coop – Around dusk each night, the chickens will retire to their coop for the night.  Then we go out and close the coop door to keep them safe overnight.  In the morning they will need to be let out again.  If you have some money to spend, you can get an automatic coop door that can be programmed to open and close at certain times!

Quick Clean of the Coop – We have a dropping board in our coop which collects the poop that falls under the roosts while the birds sleep. The vast majority of the mess in your coop will be located under the roosts. Once a day I use a long handled floor squeegee to scrap down the boards, collecting the poop in a bucket. I dump the bucket in the compost pile. click here to learn more about dropping boards

Once per Week Chores – 10-15 minutesHow much time do chickens require?

Rake the chicken run – rake up the run and bring to the compost pile

Clean the coop – If you don’t have a dropping board you will have to spend some time on coop maintenance at least once a week. For the area in the coop not covered by the dropping board, I use the deep litter method. With deep litter you allow the manure to compost inside the coop. It can really cut down on the cleaning chores as long as you manage it properly. click here to read about deep litter

Once or Twice per Year – 45-60 minutes

Deep clean the coop & run – Completely empty the coop of all shavings.  Use a scrub brush & non chemical cleaner (I use white vinegar) to thoroughly clean the floor, walls, roosts & nest boxes.  I spray some Poultry Protector in the corners and around the edges to keep away mites and let the coop air dry before filling with clean shavings & letting chickens back in.  Inspect the run for any loose wire or spots where predators could get in.  I use sand in my run and about once a year I buy about 20 new 50 lb bags of sand at Home Depot to level out the run from all the chicken’s scratching and digging.

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  1. Reese says:

    We are about to buy chickens for a science fair, so this info was exceptionally helpful. Love your web! MAKE MORE FOR DUCKS PLZ

    1. Thanks Reese! ๐Ÿ™‚ Working on adding more for ducks – sign up for my monthly newsletter to never miss new posts!

  2. Dawn Hammons says:

    Love all of this info i had chickens as a kid and have been going back and fourth to gey some.chickens now but dont want to spend alot of time and money

    1. They really aren’t too bad at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

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