Taming your chickens is a lot of fun. To have a chicken that will happily perch on your shoulder is very entertaining, but on a more practical level it's also very useful to be able to handle your chickens easily so that you can carry out regular health checks.
If you handle your chickens when they are young they will tame easily, making health checks much simpler
Carrying out a swift daily check on your hens allows you to spot any health issues quickly. This often allows you to manage and deal with the problem before it becomes serious.
- Eyes - Your chicken's eyes should be free from discharge, fully open, and bright.
- Comb - The comb should be firm, and a bright red if the chicken is in lay. Younger chickens and will have paler combs.
- Droppings - Most of the time, the droppings should be firm and dark brown with white on them. 10% of droppings will be sloppy, but this is perfectly normal and is a sign that your chicken's gut is cleaning itself.
- Feathers - Unless in moult, a chicken's feathers should be shiny and full. If there are any bald patches or the feathers look unkempt then this could be a sign of problem - a health issue or a bullying problem.
- Crop - The crop should be empty in the morning when you first release the chickens. If the crop is full at this time it could be blocked, which is a serious condition.
- Legs And Feet - Check the scales on the birds' legs and feet. They should be smooth and flat. If they are roughed-up or lifting, it could indicate a case of scaly legs.