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Thinking of getting some hens-advice please from those in the know

(10 Posts)
AmberLeaf Sat 06-Aug-11 15:11:41

Im thinking of getting some hens, Initially I was thinking ex battery ones, have just read on here that maybe point of lays would be better for a first timer?

Are me and my home suitable?
I live in London, Victorian semi with widish side alley, then garden to the side of the house and then more garden at the back end of house [about 22-24ft from the end of the house I think!]

Securely enclosed with high fences and v high wall at the end, not seen any foxes but im sure the're not too far away, get the odd cat walk along the end wall occasionally but none living immediately near.

Wouldnt be able to get them immediately as Ive got a bit of clearance work to do in the garden first inc tree lopping.

Is there a best time of year to get them?

Anyone else in London have hens?

I would be grateful for any advice...even if its 'no you are not suitable'!


daftwit Sat 06-Aug-11 15:31:13

Look on web site OMLET, you will find all the information you need. I have been keeping hens (3) for 11 months and they are so fab smile

AmberLeaf Sat 06-Aug-11 16:23:08

Thanks daftwit smile

Rosenbud Sat 06-Aug-11 18:30:22

Omlet is a great site with lots of info! I would definitely recommend them too.

Foxes get in almost everywhere, so always make sure you lock them in at night, or get a coup with a small secure run that is placed on concrete, then build a larger run around it to let them out, when you can lock them in at night.

You can get them all year round, but best time to get them (esp ex battery hens) is spring/ summer. Hens as they age tend to lay a lot fewer/ even no eggs in the winter.

This blog has an interesting piece on the economics of keeping chickens:

babycham42 Sat 06-Aug-11 18:41:14

Would you just be getting hens? I believe there can be restrictions sometimes on cockerels although I may be wrong. Definately need a secure hen house at night. The hens will help you with the last of the clearance work in my opinion. I would suggest a steel bin for the feed to discourage rats. Enjoy!

Rosenbud Sat 06-Aug-11 18:54:06

babycham42 excellent point about the steel bin for feed! takes note & puts on shopping list for self (I detest rats and they are never far away unfortunately)

AmberLeaf Sun 07-Aug-11 12:13:16

Thanks everyone.

Deffo wouldnt get a cockeral! Dont think that would go down well with the neighbours....or me!

nickelbabe Tue 09-Aug-11 16:15:36

there's also the poultry forum:

your garden is a fine size - you need a coop of 2sqft per hen (roosting space) (eg, if you have 3 hens, then you want a coop of 2ft x 3ft ideally)
1 nest box is fine for upto 6 chickens
a run needs to be made from max 1cm x2cm weldmesh (not chicken wire) - weldemsh has square holes.
make sure you have a roof on it (preferably part mesh and part solid (wood or perspex) cos of bad weather), and that it's placed either on the ground with a skirt of mesh, or a dug boundary of upto 15inches, or on a slabbed area (to stop foxes digging under) (if it's slabbed you can put a snadpit full of soil in there) the run needs to allow 2sqm of run per bird, so again if you have 3 hens, your run should be at least 6m x 1m or 2m x 3m.
you're also best to have the coop inside the run, so that foxes can't get to the eggs - also it provides an extra shelter (and make sure it's on legs so rats can't live under it)

don't get a cock, mainly because of the noise, but also because he'll end up fertilising the eggs, and you might not want to eat tiny baby chickens-in-a-shell.

nickelbabe Tue 09-Aug-11 16:17:31

"Wouldnt be able to get them immediately as Ive got a bit of clearance work to do in the garden first inc tree lopping."

the hens might like the trees.
maybe if you could lop one down to a low height and use it in the run? might provide an extra bit of entertainment!
also, i'd use the felled trees in the run as perches, or just things for them to climb on/over (our garden used to have a pile of logs, and our chooks used to spend ages climbing on them and pecking in the hope that they would find bugs to eat!)

nickelbabe Tue 09-Aug-11 16:36:08

here's a thread on setups

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