Coronavirus Chicken Checklist March 22, 2020

How to breeze through the apocalypse with your flock

So you’re hunkered down, doing your patriotic duty to stop the spread of coronavirus. What next? I’ve come out with this coronavirus chicken checklist to help you make the most out of it.

1. Get the necessities: food, grit and shavings/bedding

Agriculture and feed stores won’t be forced to shut down — but still, others will be stocking up, and you don’t want to get into a situation where you can’t find any locally.

I’d like to tell you to buy from us, online, and we appreciate every order. But mom-and-pop feed stores are hurting right now, so if you can, give them your business first. If you don’t want to have to go into the store, maybe you can call in your order in advance and have them load your items right into your car when you arrive.

(If your feed store is out of stock, or there isn’t one nearby, of course we’re here to help!)

How much food?

Chickens eat, on average, a quarter pound per bird, per day. So if you have 10 hens, you should go through a fifty pound bag of feed in 20 days. If you want to have a 2-month supply, you’ll need to get 150 pounds of feed.

How much grit?

An average flock through a 5lb bag of grit about every other month. (Why grit is necessary.)

How much shavings?

That depends; how often does your coop get dirty? We go through about one bag per large coop per month, and one bag for every three small coops per month at our house. The good news is, shavings are inexpensive, so they’re easy to stock up on!

More on shavings and bedding

2. Share your extra eggs

If you have extra eggs, sharing them with the less fortunate is next on your coronavirus chicken checklist. So many people are feeling the hurt financially right now. Grocery store shelves are empty. Be the good! Put any eggs you can spare outside your door; post on Facebook; make a sign and put it by the side of the road. (Not like I need to tell you; chicken keepers are the best group of people I know.)

3. Get some babies!

If you have to be shut in, let some babies soothe your soul. ‘Nuff said.

(Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays is when you can get the best variety of chicks at MPC, including breeds that are sold out months in advance, because that’s when we count the difference between how many eggs were egg-spected vs. actually collected.)

Alternately, what about hatching? You could borrow an incubator if you don’t have one, or stick some eggs under a broody hen. There’s nothing like watching babies “unzip” out of their shells home… or like watching a fierce mother hen protect her brood.

4. Take pictures and share on social media

This is a must-do on your coronavirus chicken checklist: share your adorbz pics on social media for the world to see! Viewers will get a hit of dopamine, the “happy chemical,” to help them through the shutdown, so really, it’s a public service. (Be magnanimous. Think about how you can help heal others… )

Examples of acceptable adorbzies photos:

5. Hang outside and let your chickens free range

Many of you don’t want to free range your flock when you’re not home, understandably. Well, you’re home! So go on and let your birds out. There are so many good reasons to do it:

  • They’ll dust bathe to keep mites and lice away
  • Your birds will bugs, grasses and weeds, cutting down on feed consumption
  • Your yard will get “fertilized” for free!
  • The way chickens scratch around can actually help your spring clean-up, shredding any dead leaves leftover from the fall and turning them into the soil
  • Say goodbye to any ticks that cross their paths

6. Do some spring coop-cleaning

Okay, I know this one isn’t as exciting as the others, but everyone’s hopping on board the spring cleaning train in their homes. Why not do it now, before life gets too busy again? Better yet, have your kids help you do it (for once, if they’re like mine!) to teach them what it takes to truly care for their animals.

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