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Keeping chickens at home advice

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Millie_Tant, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. Millie_Tant

    Millie_Tant New commenter

    I'm looking to get some hens and a cockerel, say about 6 hens. I have a largish garden area but don't want them to go free so am looking at a coop with a good sized run. Perhaps some posters here already do this and could advise me please.
  2. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Don't count them before they've hatched.
  3. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Are you ok re neighbours and noise, especially if you have a cockerel? My daughter had 9 chickens and 3 of them she called "Noisy" and then were hens ! She would get up and bring them into the bathroom to stay in the bath some mornings so they wouldn't annoy her neighbours too much. She did NOT keep a cockerel.

    She bought 2 quite large coops with laying boxes and "runs" but she let them have the run of the garden.... which of course they have seriously scratched up.... having the time of their lives naturally. I have been assured that they can put the garden back as it was when necessary. I have had the bonus of super fresh eggs over the past 2 years. The "ladies" have laid fairly prolifically over that time and still are. They are however the best fed chickens in the world! They get lettuce, cabbage, cheese, boiled ham , all manner of scraps - even anchovies and strawberries. There is also grit and proprietary food for them.

    She has given them all names..... and they will never end up "in the pot"!
  4. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Are you looking to breed them or just for the eggs? If you don't want to breed them then don't have the cockerel - you will be most unpopular with the neighbours otherwise.

    They do need a lot of run-room - they need to scratch for seeds and worms and will eat all sorts of greenery, plus they will destroy your lawn, so they either need a very large space or you will need to move them around a lot - or else you will need to make sure there is plenty of natural stuff to eat and plenty of something to scratch through. Friend of mine uses lots of bark layers in a large run; my sister just cordons off large areas of the garden. Dead branches as substitute trees are good as they do fly up and perch.

    They will all want their own lay boxes too, probably - six is quite a lot!

    You will also have to make sure they are very fox-proofed both in the run and the coop.

    And you will have to get used to clearing out buckets of guano (good fertiliser!).
  5. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    You also need to check if you are actually allowed to keep them.
    Some places don't allow this even if you own the house and land
    marlin likes this.
  6. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I would have thought that @Motherofchikkins was a good person to ask for advice! :)
  7. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Check the deeds of your property. We own our house outright but there's a covenant in the deeds that prevents us from keeping poultry on our property.

    Mind you most self-respecting hens would prefer a battery farm to our tiny garden.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    My advice?
    Don't. ;)
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I was very tempted last spring then noticed that in the pet supply shop among the chicken products there were rat poison products... bit of a quick U turn for me :oops:
  10. artboyusa

    artboyusa Star commenter

    My sister has chickens. Returning to the peasant roots our grandparents worked so hard to leave behind.
  11. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I must admit I worried about possible rats and did wonder whether they would be vulnerable to either the urban foxes which must exist there or indeed the semi rural ones as both cases apply but.... the presence of 3 jack Russell dogs at the property has defended against that. the dogs have not dared upset the chickens and indeed all have co-habited pretty well. The female Jack finds the eggs which the fussy bird tries to keep extremely hidden (another problem if you don't keep them to the coop...... daughter's hens can lay anywhere in the whole back garden - and some places are well camouflaged.
  12. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    My niece had 6 all called Penelope and they were all eaten by foxes.
  13. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Same here.
  14. Erin_Rhys

    Erin_Rhys Occasional commenter

    I would say get yourself a small coop for starters and stick to a few hens; four or five and see how you get on. There are some wonderfully creative designs to be had: some are now in plastic, as modules you can add to one another as you wish to expand.
  15. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    They'll decimate your brassicas.
  16. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    But they will eat the slugs, so stopping the slugs decimating the brassicas first.
    Noja and needabreak like this.
  17. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    We had a chicken for a while. She appeared in the garden one day and stayed for a few weeks, laying a few eggs along the way. Then she disappeared as quietly as she had arrived, we think she probably came from nearby allotments.
  18. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Hmm *considers getting a few Jack Russells first! Did they get troubled by the foxes at all @HelenREMfan?
  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Ooh er didn't think they can fly in did she just wander in and out?
  20. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I'm not really sure. She seemed quite happy while she was there. I never saw her fly.

    We wondered about reporting it to the allotmemts thinkng someone might be missing her, but then she disappeared of her own volition before we got round to it.

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