Thinking about keeping Chickens - what do I need to know?(3 Posts)
We're sorting out the garden today and a friend mentioned that they were considering getting Chickens and it made us think about whether we could do the same.
We have a largish den area in the corner of the garden, surrounded by fences (so fox proof) and wondered if this would work for keeping chickens? I wasn't sure if they would need a great deal of sunlight etc.
Can anyone direct me to the best place to do some research and give us some thoughts about how we would start out as chicken keepers, what it would entail etc....
I have found the poultrykeeper.com a very useful site to start with. I'd recommend just reading around, look at the websites do the googling, it's how I started.
Particular thoughts...I think I'd firstly say that unless you have pets already, you need to consider the time and money that comes with keeping animals. You have a duty to provide them with the best care you can, this may entail letting them out of their coop every day, cleaning them out regularly, collecting eggs daily, taking them to the vet etc etc. It's not laborious but if you don't have pets already may be quite a bind, another consideration is what you'll do with them if you go away. Specifically regarding the area you keep them in, they don't need sunlight as such, so they can be kept in a shady area of the garden, but it's a lovely sight seeing hens sunbathing and they do love it. I'd also be hesitant about calling your fencing fox proof, it turns out that foxes can get through/over a surprising height of fencing so if you think you have foxes around you then definitely do your research on this. I spent ages and ages with this dilemma for mine but opted to not to fox proof their run, they have a low(ish) picket fence but are shut up at night in their coop. Although we are very rural we don't have many foxes at all around us and in two years not had a problem, not to say that we won't but evidence suggests that we won't.
Hope that is reasonably helpful!
I would hesitate to call any fence fox-proof having seen how high they can jump, and they can dig too. We have lots of foxes around here but have not really had a problem in the garden, however I think that's mainly down to my feisty cat as the neighbours have seen him attacking foxes in the street.
Still not taking chances though, so we have hopefully fox-proofed the run. They get lots of light as the roof is clear corrugated but we had to board in two of the side walls because they were getting far too hot in the sunny weather. So yes they like some sun but not too much!
I would suggest, at least at first, only getting as many as you will find fun and not a chore. We were told by the farmer to have at least three, then if one dies you still have a pair, and that has worked out fine for us. We do have space for more but three are easy to clean up after, any more and I think it would start to feel like work as our neighbours are quite close and I'd be paranoid about the run getting smelly. Also, tbh they supply more than enough eggs to keep us and immediate family supplied, with occasional treats for friends and neighbours!
I personally find they are easy pets, much easier than rabbits etc and they are so much fun. And they are cheap to feed if you go and get a big sack of pellets from a proper feed merchant. The garden centres tend to charge a fortune for a tiny bag.The biggest problem so far has been keeping them out of the house as they are fascinated by the tv! Oh and they will ruin your garden if you let them, they love to dig and a plant pot is like a magnet to them. We've got a little fence round the flower beds and so far they have been too stupid to try and get over it (they have a dirt tub in their run so I don't feel guilty!). They do scratch at the lawn but they haven't really hurt it, although it wasn't particularly smart in the first place I have to say.
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