Keeping village chickens healthy



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Content: Chickens will be healthier and produce more eggs if you give them protein feed and make sure they have plenty of water.

Village chickens are wonderful. They are able to get most of the food they need on their own. In addition, they provide eggs and meat. They use garden and household wastes that otherwise would not get used. Also, they eat insects that damage crops and bother animals.

Giving these chickens a little more attention can help them to be healthier and make the young chicks grow faster. It can also make them produce more eggs.

Most chickens find grass to eat, and many people give them some maize every day. This is a good thing to do. Maize keeps the chicken’s gizzard working well. But for young chicks to grow quickly and for hens to lay a lot of eggs, they need to eat more than grass and maize. You can buy special feed for chickens. This feed, however, is expensive. Some people buy a small amount to help their young chicks get a good start. You can easily grow a few special crops which are high in protein for your chickens. Good crops to grow are comfrey and lucerne (alfalfa), or a local legume crop. Chickens that eat any of these each day grow more quickly and lay more eggs than chickens that don’t get them. You can hang up a bunch and let the chickens peck at it. Or if you buy some chicken feed, you can chop up these two plants and mix them with water and the feed you bought.

One other important thing to help your chickens is to make sure they have lots of clean water to drink every day. A simple chicken waterer can be made using a large tin can and a metal bowl. Cut a little v-shaped slot in the top of the can, fill it with water, cover it with the bowl, and then quickly turn it over. The water will slowly trickle out the slot as the chickens drink, supplying them with water for the whole day. Each day, clean out this waterer and add fresh, clean water.

If your chickens get plenty of protein feed to eat, and they get lots of clean water to drink, they’ll be healthier, grow more quickly, and lay more eggs.


1. Two different crops, comfrey and lucerne (alfalfa), are mentioned in the third paragraph of this item. If the farmers you serve don’t grow these crops, another leafy legume would be a suitable high-protein forage crop for their chickens.

2. Other DCFRN items which refer to improving poultry production are:

You can improve your poultry – Package 17, Item 7 or Package 6, Item 4

Bamboo chicken troughs – Package 6, Item 9/C

Feeding chickens for better production – Package 15, Item 4 or Package 11, Item 9

Select good laying hens – Package 17, Item 8 or Package 6, Item 4

Termites are good chicken feed – Package 18, Item 1