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Getting started with chickens - help a novice

(11 Posts)
wastingmyejumication Sun 16-Aug-09 09:26:49

I'd like to keep chickens. smile

My garden is large and the previous occupants had a small coop that they moved around the top part of the garden, so I now it's feasible in our garden.

How to get started? What do I need? Any links I should check out?

BroodyChook Sun 16-Aug-09 09:34:45

Hi The Omlet website is good for novices, as most people that post there are back garden hen keepers. They tend to be more knowledgable about hybrids. There is a forum that I belong to called Bluelaced and Friends which has some excellent poultry people posting on it, and I have learned a lot from these more experienced breeders. To get started, you need suitable accomodation, and to decide what type of hens you'd like to keep. I have five pekin bantam girls, and am heading out in a bit to pick up a couple of silkie pullets. I've only been keeping hens for a year, and it is so addictive! grin I keep a blog about my girls if you're interested? Might give you a clue as to the day to day stuff wink http://madchickenlady.blogspot.com/

wastingmyejumication Sun 16-Aug-09 10:18:52

Thanks BroodyChook! I've bookmarked your blog to have a read through.
Are Omlet the people that make the Eglu? Is an Eglu worth the money? I've been lusting after an Eglu since I first saw them. grin

TaxiLady Sun 16-Aug-09 10:23:55

might be worth asking around to see if a local joiner would make you a wee hoosie for the chooks

we got one made for around £100, it needed to be painted though and because it would not go in the car it was "flatpacked"

dh and ds1 easily managed to screw it together

but it's very sturdy and cosy for them

i <3 the eglus too but they are sooooooo pricey

wastingmyejumication Sun 16-Aug-09 10:47:55

That's reasonable TaxiLady, my carpentry skills certainly aren't up to it. grin

BroodyChook Sun 16-Aug-09 17:36:28

I think that Eglu's are fine, but they are very expensive. Hubby wasn't keen on the look of them tbh (he kept muttering about iMac's!) so we plumped for a wooden coop with covered run.

LilyBolero Sun 16-Aug-09 17:43:07

We made our own wooden coops, and they are fine (and loads cheaper than the eglu!).

Things to think about;

Do you have foxes? (the answer is prob yes), in which case you will need to have the chickens safe from the foxes day and night.

Will your neighbours be ok with it? (They're not very noisy but do have their moments!).

Do you have someone who can come in to look after them if you're away?

Other than that they're really very easy to look after - go for it!

friendly Tue 18-Aug-09 21:38:11

Do you need to check with the environmental health dept at your local council before you keep chickens? It hadn't occured to me until I read it on someone's blog. I am so keen to have some chickens too. Keep sculking on these threads. Also wondering if I should wait until next spring or doesn't it really matter. Sorry to hijack thread, Wastingmyejumication!

BroodyChook Fri 21-Aug-09 15:53:16

I did check my house deeds to make sure that there were no clauses against livestock, and I asked my neighbours if they'd mind out of courtesy. I find that the odd box of free eggs keeps most people happy grin It doesn't matter when you start, tbh, although depending on which breed/s you wish to keep, there can be availability issues (generally, hybrids are available all year round, while pure breeds can be difficult to source except as young pullets/growers in the summer)

ABetaDad Fri 21-Aug-09 16:09:06

Just inherited some chickens with a house I rented. I also inherited a rat problem in the garden which has a fixed wire run.

Keep food in secure metal containers and prevent rats getting into coops. Clean up spilled food. I killed the rats with one of these rather than use poison.

stealthsquiggle Fri 21-Aug-09 16:32:24

We got FIL to make us a house on legs and then we built a run around it - we didn't make the floor of the run sufficiently rat proof (mere bricks will not stop them hmm) so we have had some problems but bait boxes seem to have dealt with the worst of it (traps didn't work).

Foxes are eradicated controlled by the farmers around here, but anywhere suburban or urban I think it is probably dodgy to have chickens ranging freely in the garden all day as we do - ours are only shut up at night.

Check the prospectus of your local college - DH went on a one day "chickens for the garden" course which hugely increased his confidence before we got our chooks.

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