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Possibly getting some hand-me-down-chickens - what do I need to know???

(12 Posts)
hippipotamiHasLost80lbs Mon 19-Apr-10 17:29:08

Have copied this across from 'Pets' as I had posted in the wrong topic - sorry if it is now a double thread blush There is the chance we are getting some chickens and their pen. A teacher at the school where I work can't keep them any more and offered them up in the staffroom today.
I have told her I may potentially be interested.

What do I need to know before I make my decision?

I think they (the two chickens) are around two years old. One of them has apparently not laid for 10 months.

Please, give me your briefest guide to chickens to help me make a (somewhat) informed decision.


herladyshiplovesedward Mon 19-Apr-10 17:34:11

the older they get.. the less they lay so they become more pets than functional!

if you want to introduce more hens they will scrap, so it will have to be done carefully..

as with any animal, they need feeding/watering/cleaning out/worming etc..

why can't this person keep them anymore?? are they noisy, some hens can make a hell of a row shock

you will need secure accomodation to protect them from foxes and other predators..

get over to omlet(dot)co(dot)uk forum for further info.. their club forum is full of chicken lunatics keepers grin

hippipotamiHasLost80lbs Mon 19-Apr-10 20:40:43

Pet is fine - we are not huge egg eaters (although we like the odd one and will use them when cooking / baking)

She is a teacher in a terraced cottage with a teeny tiny garden. She said that whereever she puts them they 'get in the way'. Also her fiance does not like them so all the caring and cleaning out is to be done by her. She is a young mid-twenties girl so I think the novelty has worn off and she wants more time going out / weekends away / holidays etc.
Will ask her about the noise thing though - good point!

How long to chickens live for?

If we get them - and it is an if, dh and I both work, we have two children and a deranged (if loveable) dog - we would negotiate to take them complete with their eglu and run. Will need to make sure it is fox-proof though as there are definately foxes in the neighbourhood.

Would definately not introduce more chickens, two would be plenty to start with. Although as and when one dies, would it be okay to introduce a new one so the one left behind has company?

herladyshiplovesedward Mon 19-Apr-10 23:16:56

i think chickens live about 5 or 6 years? ours are all about 3 years old and still going strong smile

eglu's are mega expensive and hold their value really well.. think they go for about £300 on ebay 2nd hand!

best way to fox proof eglu (and avoid garden devestation) is to put it on slabs.. then you can put hemcore or similar on the slabs and it will be easy to clean out and foxes can't dig in. also, a lot of people like to cover the eglu run top to limit the effect of rain (wet chicken poop is NOT nice)..

introducing new hens can be done, we have done it, and again the omlet website forum has a whole load of tips.. like you, we have a dog (terrier) who soon learnt to leave the chickens alone!

chickens are addictive grin they are fun to watch, reasonably easy to look after and i still find opening the nest box and seeing the eggs exciting blush we have a mix of bantams and hybrid hens, i chose them to ensure a range of egg sizes/colours that look good in the kitchen grin

google an 'egg skelter'.. essential kit for chicken owners!

hope it works out for you smile

hippipotamiHasLost80lbs Tue 20-Apr-10 08:04:17

Ah fab, thank you. smile

I am very tempted to go for it. Just want to sound out a few friends / neighbours about their willingness to look after Boris (yes it is a hen but named after Boris Johnson, no wonder the poor girl has not laid for 10 months wink) and Matilda when we are on our summer holiday for two weeks in August. Just to make sure we have most bases covered.

I am very excited though. Have been looking on ebay and am shocked at the price of second hand eglus [gasp]. She will let me know today how much she wants for it. If it is too much then it is just not an option although I could look at wooden coops as they appear to be cheaper.

So watch this space - we may well get chickens smile

<disappears to google egg helter skelter>

whywhywhydelilah Tue 20-Apr-10 08:11:27

Brief guide to chickens.

They give you rats.

ditavionteased Tue 20-Apr-10 08:17:12

you will have no troubloe getting people to look after them, we are inudated with volunteers, eglu's are fab, so easy to look after/clean.

herladyshiplovesedward Tue 20-Apr-10 17:27:28

chickens don't attract rats by the way, rats are everywhere and are attracted by a food source.. that can be any food (ie. human, rabbit, cat or chicken!)

if you keep chickens (or any outside pets) it is best to take food containers in at night and keep everywhere reasonably tidy to limit possible hiding places for the horrible little critters!

hippipotamiHasLost80lbs Wed 21-Apr-10 08:11:57

Great, no worries smile

Am not worried about rats. Many people in our neighbourhood have chickens, rabbits or guinea pigs outside - so am sure the rats are already there. And I don't really have a problem with rats.

Teacher did not come back to me yesterday about how much she would like for the eglu so I am not sure what is happening. Will try to find her today.

Will be back here if it all goes ahead (fingers crossed - I have already mentally installed Boris and Matilda in our garden smile)

hippipotamiHasLost80lbs Thu 22-Apr-10 21:03:21

Right, it is definately going ahead grin

Chickens are expected to arrive on the bank holiday weekend (first chance we have to collect them)
The dc are beside themselves with excitement (and truth be told so am I)
Have immersed myself into the Omlet website and read up as much as I can.
I think we are ready to go (as much as I can be anyhow)

Oooh, I am loving the 'egg skelter' by the way - how fab is that!! (finger is hovering over the 'order now' button)

SethStarkaddersMum Fri 23-Apr-10 14:37:38

I have an egg skelter - I love it.

Debs41 Mon 25-Jul-11 11:26:13

Have a look on website they have lots of tips for keeping chickens and they also sell chickens and chickeny bits!

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