Chickens in the tropics do fine, so I’ve been told and seen. Ours are here, they’re well and healthy and we have our first eggs.
But don’t be us. As new tropical chicken keeps, first timers, we rushed out and bought chickens knowing nothing and with nowhere to keep them. Our girls spent their first night in the shower, which isn’t recommended. The coop we bought at the same time proved not to be a quick assembling project.
Nesting boxes, a roost, feeders, bedding, pests, snakes, vermin, parasites and tropical weather are all big considerations if you want to keep chickens in your homestead, farm, backyard or garden in the tropics.
Local laws and regulations, for us, allow 6 chickens or poultry in our backyard, no roosters. Be sure to check if chickens are allowed in your area if it is suburban.
As we have now moved to our new farm or homestead, we can keep as much poultry as we like. And we will!
Keeping Chickens Inside A Pool Fence
This isn’t ideal, and yes, I did worry that they’d fall in and drown, but they didn’t!
We kept our chickens inside the pool fence for a short while before getting better set up. We really were very bad new chicken keepers!
If they’re out free-ranging, we were usually very nearby and could see and hear them and the pool.
One did fall in, as expected, after we clipped their wings. Before clipping they could fly the whole length of the pool at low altitude. Clipping one wing threw them all out and splashdown happened.
Chickens can’t swim but they can float briefly, after that they’ll become waterlogged and sink. A quick cluck and flap and she was out again, so no real problems.
Yes, they could flap up and over the pool fence but they did it rarely. They could still do it after we’d clipped their wings. Maybe we weren’t brutal enough with the scissors.
Part of me didn’t want to do it because they fly to escape predators and I didn’t want to interfere with their natural chicken-ness, but we did and I wish we hadn’t. We’ll let them grow back now and once they’re in their purpose-designed snake-proof chicken palace it wasn’t a problem.
We moved them to live in the shade of the jackfruit, mango, grapefruit, and curry leaf trees.
First Things to Know About Keeping Chickens
All of this information came from the lady in the chicken shop, YouTube, Google and, watching our own chickens.
A lot of this chicken-related information took us by surprise, we were completely new to chicken keeping, absolute beginners.
- Chickens eat almost anything from grass to meat to dairy.
- Convincing them to eat anything, when they’ve been raised on grain – is proving difficult.
- They really like ripe jackfruit and avocado, along with pecking at my tropical spinach plants – our biggest successes so far.
- Our egg-laying chickens have no meat on them and wouldn’t be worth eating.
- Chickens, particularly young chickens, can be taken by dogs, hawks, eagles, snakes, giant rats, dingoes, goannas, and probably more. A secure coop is essential.
- Chickens need preventative treatments for worms, fleas, lice, and various parasites.
- Chickens have vaccinations – who knew?
- They put themselves to bed at night at sunset – it’s adorable.
- They can fly, but they don’t bother much.
- Clipping their wings is very easy, find a YouTube video on that.
- They scratch huge holes in your mulch and pull up your seedlings.
- They need a roost, a high perch to use at night.
- They need a nesting box too.
- Their night-time residence must be snake proof.
- You can suspend their food and water dispensers from the roof to keep rats, mice, cane toads, and chicken poop out of it.
- Chicken poop stinks, but its much milder than duck or goose poop.
- We’ve been promised one egg per day for several years from our chooks
- Our first eggs were small and nothing special, they got bigger.
- You will feel like a farmer, locking them up at sunset, letting them out at dawn.
- Chickens are cute and have real personalities. Penny is our trouble maker and escape artist.
- In the tropics, chickens will need protection from torrential rain, mud, and, of course, intense heat.
More ramblings on keeping chickens and other birds in the tropics soon!