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Am I insane to consider getting chickens?

(78 Posts)
LayItDown Sun 17-May-20 16:56:09

Okay, I’m so on the fence about this - so someone talk sense into me one way or the other.

Detached house, medium sized garden in the subs. Neighbours fully backing our garden. No foxes, lots of cats (I have two, but the most they seem to be able to catch is flies). Neighbour is ‘normal’ noisy - neighbours to the right very quiet, to the left a big family, lots of chatter but generally respectful. Neighbours on back regularly have parties (but they never seen particularly loud).

Have considered for some time getting some rescue barn hens. Love the idea of fresh eggs from the garden.

I have a loud, obnoxious toddler but it’s just us, so our household is generally quite calm. It would be nice to teach him the value of food in a simple way he can understand.

I literally have no idea what I’m doing and going to need to research keeping them safe, caring for them, etc. So for now, this is theoretical. But I’m not sure if it’s reasonable to keep them.

Would you keep chickens whilst living in a suburban area?

OP’s posts: |
Redleathertrousers Sun 17-May-20 17:00:00

I grew up with chickens. We had a large back garden and neighbours surrounding us. I don't think my Mum ever asked what they thought about the occasional very loud early morning clucking noise (we didn't have a rooster, it was their way of telling us they wanted breakfast and letting out into main run) but nobody ever complained. We had 20 at one point. Lovely eggs. Now as an adult I buy farm eggs, supermarket ones don't compare. I really enjoyed them as pets. They frequently wandered into the kitchen through the back door and the odd one enjoyed a cuddle. Lots of happy funny memories.

Redleathertrousers Sun 17-May-20 17:02:04

Forgot to add, we had dogs too. They were very used to eachother. Lots of cats in the area, never any issues but probably due to the presence of the dogs. We used to get foxes too at night but luckily they never got the chickens or into the hen house.

Windyatthebeach Sun 17-May-20 17:04:26

Yabu to expect your garden to contain them...
Ime.
.
Yanbu to imagine the amazing chicken owning experience irl will be even better!
Go for it op. Your council may decide you aren't allowed a cockeral. Ours did. No issue - our Ladies were all amazing!! Even the one adult ds named Keith - declaring someone had to be The Boss!!

Aquamarine1029 Sun 17-May-20 17:04:54

I have chickens and absolutely adore them. I find their upkeep to be very manageable. The yard they are in is completely private with a six foot fence, and they have free reign to explore. We had a gorgeous coop built and they sleep locked in every night for their protection. The only concern I would have for you is your small children playing about with their poop everywhere if you let the chickens roam. Chicken waste can carry disease that makes humans sick.

Aquamarine1029 Sun 17-May-20 17:05:41

Obviously, you could not keep a rooster. Your neighbours would kill you!

LayItDown Sun 17-May-20 17:06:21

@Redleathertrousers That sounds idyllic. It’s the noise I’m most conscious about, and with no experience of owning any I don’t know how loud they would be.

How easy/hard are they to care for?

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TheMostHappy Sun 17-May-20 17:08:36

I'm following as we too are considering keeping chickens in the future, but I'm not sure how high maintenance they are .

DGRossetti Sun 17-May-20 17:09:19

Are you sure about no foxes ? Until a few years ago I would have said the same. However some neighbours (that I didn't know were keeping chickens) that had all their chickens "stolen", plus 3 subsequent daylight sightings of a fox, plus confirmed foxprints in the snow proved me wrong.

LayItDown Sun 17-May-20 17:09:23

Yes! Definitely not considering a rooster. I definitely feel that’s veering on very unreasonable.

I have enough space in the garden to repurpose an area to keep them in during the evening and they could roam the whole garden in the day. I’m not sure if I’m daydreaming or this is a realistic goal!

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Sun 17-May-20 17:09:44

They really aren't loud. They have short periods throughout the day when the cluck and "boak" around, but it's never been a problem for us or our neighbours. All of them have said how much they love hearing them.

Caring for them is easy. Fresh food and water every day, a quick clean of the coop, and they love leftover fruit and veg scraps.

LayItDown Sun 17-May-20 17:12:01

Well I don’t know for sure about the foxes! I know there are some in the woodlands 5 mins away, but I’ve never heard them here or experienced any knowledge of them. Our garden backs onto other gardens in a grid, so I’m not sure how they would get in - though I suppose there’s probably gaps here and there they could get through.

OP’s posts: |
LayItDown Sun 17-May-20 17:13:18

What do you do with them in the winter? Weather is lovely right now but how do keep them properly insulated during winter?

OP’s posts: |
MuthaClucker Sun 17-May-20 17:18:48

We have seven. Not in the garden, we have a side yard area that we’ve been able to cover and fence off completely so that they have lots of safe space. Our dog is petrified of them grin

They’re very interesting to watch, they all have different personalities. Ours are loud for about 4 minutes each, when they sing the Egg Song.
Funnily enough, the loudest Egg Song comes from the fattest bird who actually lays the smallest eggs grin

FallenMadonnawiththeBadBoobies Sun 17-May-20 17:19:13

Watching with interest.

I’d love some chickens - just 3 would be enough to keep us in eggs.

There are lots of foxes here. They are so brazen, they strut around in broad daylight. I don’t mind them and friends had chickens without it being an issue. I’m more concerned about rats and smells and would be interested as to whether chicken owners have had these issues?

bridgetreilly Sun 17-May-20 17:19:18

Well I don’t know for sure about the foxes! I know there are some in the woodlands 5 mins away, but I’ve never heard them here or experienced any knowledge of them.

Getting chickens will be the quickest way to get to see the foxes.

DGRossetti Sun 17-May-20 17:21:08

Well I don’t know for sure about the foxes! I know there are some in the woodlands 5 mins away,

From friends who did keep chickens, you'll see them in about a day or two ...

Sixgeese Sun 17-May-20 17:25:25

We have 2 at the moment and have an eglu for them. We were very lucky to have been given the eglu as they are very expensive.

We live in a semi in an outer London Borough, the neighbours say they aren't bothered by the noise. They tend to only 'shout' when they lay an egg.

They don't cost a lot after the initial set up costs but they do poo everywhere and will destroy your lawn. We have fenced off part of our garden so they have their own area and we have our area.

It is worth reading up on the DEFRA guidelines as there are lots I was unaware of when we got our first chicken. My grandparents always gave their chickens kitchen scraps by unless you have a vegan only kitchen you are only allowed to feed your chicken vegetables that haven't been in your house.

vanillandhoney Sun 17-May-20 17:27:51

Lots of people near us have chickens - they're fine.

One person has roosters - they are SO loud.

Redleathertrousers Sun 17-May-20 17:27:57

Very easy to care for. Food and fresh water daily. Clean out regularly. They are a bit smelly. We insulated with straw bedding and you can also use shredded paper. They sleep close together too so it was cosy enough.

Redleathertrousers Sun 17-May-20 17:29:46

Had rats occasionally. Killed by well hidden poison which the chickens and dogs couldnt access.

maddy68 Sun 17-May-20 17:31:20

They stink and poo everywhere and also make such a mess. But you have lovely eggs. ..I got rid of mine

MuthaClucker Sun 17-May-20 17:31:43

Never had an issue with rats, or smell. Tbh I found the initial smell of the fresh wood chips we put down far worse than the chickens. They are cleaned and poo picked regularly though.

We don’t give kitchen scraps due to the Defra rules. It’s tempting, but if there is ever a local animal cull, I don’t want it to be because of our chucks!

SomeoneElse1 Sun 17-May-20 17:32:51

They will destroy your garden and attract rats which in turn will also infest your neighbours.

There will be foxes, you just haven’t seen them, but you will when they kill the chickens,and bear in mind that they will either kill one at a time and keep coming back or kill them all and just leave them there for you to find. sad

The idea of fresh eggs is extremely appealing and in the right settings they’re great but no, not in a suburban area I wouldn’t.

Most suburban areas have covenants which prohibit keeping chickens anyway, so you will need to check that if you still proceed.

zscaler Sun 17-May-20 17:35:01

Go for it!

They are not at all difficult to care for and they’re sweet animals.

They will shit everywhere and dig up your plants, so you have to decide if that’s a serious problem for you.

They can have the run of your garden in the day (if chicken proofed) but you would be sensible to have a secure pen for them at night because foxes are plentiful even in suburban areas.

No Roosters obviously or your neighbours will hate you grin

Check our homesforhens.co.uk if you can - they rescue farm chickens who are going to be slaughtered (because most commercial layers are killed at 18mos old when they moult and egg production slows down). They will usually be in a terrible state when you get them but once they’ve fattened up they produce loads of eggs and are lovely birds. My mum has had several, and it really makes you feel good to rescue them from a horrible end. They also have lots of advice online about hen care.

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