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Do I really have to keep them in?

(185 Posts)
Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 09:24:54

For 30 days?
I have too chickens. Rescued from a horrible farm where they were shut in. I really really don't want to lock them up again for 30 days. It feels cruel. Am I risking their lives only? Or is there any danger to humans/other birds/pets?

Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 09:25:51

That should read "two" chickens

yolofish Wed 07-Dec-16 09:30:00

I have 10, with a walkin run and access to electric fenced area. I'm going to keep them in the walkin, which they wont like, but better than the alternative...

steppemum Wed 07-Dec-16 09:31:56

we have a chicken house with attached run (small ish) and got 3 chickens. We kept them shut in the nesting bit for 24 hours, and then shut in the attached run for a couple of weeks. In that time we fed them a small handful of corn at bedtime accompanied by dd calling "chook chook chook" (her choice)
When we let them out they woudl come running to her "chook chook" call.

Thye need to imprint on their house. If they are going to be free ranging round your garden, can you fence off a small corner, so they are very close to the house for a weke or so, sn then let them out further. Ours didn't need much to fence them in, (not like the rabbits!)

Be warned though, they are fox magnets, our attached run is fox proof, and after a while dh made a much larger foxproof run, about 4 metres by 2 metres. We did this because letting them free range puts them in danger from our local foxes, so now when we are out we can keep them safe, and let them free range when we are home.

incogKNEEto Wed 07-Dec-16 09:48:21

Steppemum l think this is in response to DEFRA saying all poultry need to be kept in due to Avian Influenza in Europe and the need to prevent contact with wild birds. I would keep mine in as it's quite a big step for DEFRA to state that all poultry, including backyard hens should be kept in for 30 days.

Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 10:19:04

Yes it's a response to Deffra. My hens love being free range and are very much pets. They come when I call them and love my son giving them treats. Also, my hen hut has no windows. I just hate the idea they'd be shut in the dark for 30 days! I was hoping someone had some concrete advice and that it just applies to larger free range establishments? I never give the eggs to anyone else, only my family eat them

Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 10:27:59

DEFRA's site say "poultry farmers of East anglia" have been ordered to keep their birds inside. Surely as I'm not in east Anglia, not a farmer, never plan to "Process" my birds (for the public to eat), and only have 2 of them, it can't apply to me?

incogKNEEto Wed 07-Dec-16 10:45:33

Here is the official guidance, it states all domestic poultry keepers as well as farmers and the zone covers the whole of England.

www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#prevention-zone

ProfYaffle Wed 07-Dec-16 10:49:57

Do they have a run? Could you put a tarp over the run?

thereinmadnesslies Wed 07-Dec-16 10:52:00

I am keeping mine inside their run. I've added an extra tarp to make sure that every part of the run is well covered. They will be really cross at being kept in but it's got to be done.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 10:52:02

There's another thread running on this. I'd use clear plastic tarpaulins over the run secured so that they are wild bird proof and so that no feathers or poop can possibly get in from overhead.

Mine are going into a shed. There's a £5,000 fine if you don't keep them in.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 10:52:40

up to five thousand pounds

FlappysMammyAndPopeInExile Wed 07-Dec-16 10:55:04

Perhaps you are told to do that because having come from a chicken concentration camp, to see the sky and not feel confined would be terrifying for them. (Imagine if you'd spent your entire life squashed up next to your neighbour in a 6' x 6' room, and then suddenly found yourself in the middle of Wembley Stadium.

I'm just guessing, but perhaps they need to be gently introduced to the good life.

Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 10:56:02

Ok thanks for that. I will have to keep them in then. No they don't have a run. They have a huge garden they roam in but it also gets wild birds. Such a shame. I hope they aren't traumatised

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 11:01:31

No, its because of the bird flu. DEFRA trying to prevent a fatal outbreak.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 11:03:39

You'll need to provide some light for them if you are just keeping them in a coop. How big is the coop? If its a small one then it won't be adequate to keep them in there for 30 days. Don't you have a shed? Garage? downstairs loo even?

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 11:11:11

You will need to buy a run if not and cover it.

Inthenick Wed 07-Dec-16 11:13:21

I have a shed. I kept them in for a week when they arrived. Now they roam free, totally all over the place, I leave the door open. I rarely close it at night. We're lucky no foxes have noticed yet but it's been 2.5 yrs of total freedom for my hens so I think the risk has been worth it.

In answer to your op, in my experience 1 week is enough for them to imprint.

BeachysSandyFlipFlops Wed 07-Dec-16 11:16:58

Love the idea of the downstairs loo grin

We've got six girls and a cockerel and our run has an open top, so wild birds can get in and out and are frequently found eating our chicken food... I guess if we tarp the top of that area, that should count as inside?

If not, it will be a garage clearing day (which is so not what I need today!)

Poor chooks, they're used to roaming free.

Does anyone know what the symptoms are?

Hairyhat Wed 07-Dec-16 11:27:09

They have a large shed with 4 nesting boxes and some roosting branches. I never thought I would need windows as they just come and go as they please and are always tucked up cosily when I put their door down at night. I feel horrible. I rescued them just to put them through this ordeal

SpidersFromMars Wed 07-Dec-16 12:04:01

Ours are going into the shed. They do have a large run, but there's no way to prevent a virus with it. It's not sealed. They'll have to have the shed, though they will hate it and so will I.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 12:05:55

Read the thread people - it isn't long!! This is about bird flu not imprinting!

OP could you leave the door permanently open for light and use some clear plastic over the doorway (you'd have to find a way of securing it - perhaps sticky heavy duty velcro?)

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 12:08:34

If not then as long as the shed has lighting they'll be fine honestly.

notquitegrownup2 Wed 07-Dec-16 12:15:40

There was a lovely man on radio 4 this morning, saying that he would be keeping his hundreds of free range hens indoors for the month, but that he would be buying them straw bales to hop onto and cardboard boxes to go in and out of to explore. He was also arranging for people to go through the sheds regularly whilst they adjust, to provide some action for them, whilst they adjusted.

Could you possibly build a temporary run for them outside, attached to the shed door - just some upright poles, with chicken wire pegged between, a nice area to scratch around in and a tarp on the top to keep the wild birds out of the way?

MadamDrag0n Wed 07-Dec-16 12:20:50

Lots of yummy sweetcorn, straw and broccoli to eat and play with and they'll be fine, it's dark so much of the day at this time of year anyway, just be prepared for all the fertiliser they're going to produce.

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