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chickens in a 12' x 10' back yard?
8

donkeyderby · 20/10/2010 16:08

I love chickens. I grew up in the countryside and my mum kept various types of chickens and I still miss them. I am now cooped up (pardon the pun) in a city with a 12ft x 10ft back yard. No grass, only concrete. In the old days, some of the people in the street used to keep chickens in their back yards.

Am I being completely ridiculous to consider keeping a couple of chickens in this space? Are there space-saving chicken houses that make use of vertical space? If I haven't got grass, is it possible to keep chickens - is there a substitute for grass? Is it possible to let them wander round the back yard rather than get a run as it is totally enclosed?

Would be grateful for your advice.

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comtessa · 20/10/2010 16:09

Bump - I want to know the answer to this!

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pickledbabe · 20/10/2010 16:10

you would have to use the whole of that space.

is it fenced either side?
if so, then all you need to do is put a roof on it, so foxes can't get in and voila!
even if the run starts at your back door, that would work.
Grin

you don't need grass - they like different textures and somewhere to dustbathe - all you need to do is put a couple of sandpits in there (filled with dry soil)

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donkeyderby · 20/10/2010 18:30

Thanks pickled.

It's totally enclosed with walls and fencing to the height of about 10ft. Technically, I could put a roof on it to keep the foxy gentleman out.

I also have plants in pots (I am trying to make a container 'forest garden') so will they eat all my plants or is it ok if they are above ground in pots?

I don't mind if they wander round my sitting room if they want a bit more space. I'll just cover the sofa in a dust sheet and clear up after them (laminate floor)! Or is that a really silly idea?

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OhWesternWind · 21/10/2010 07:48

Some plants they will eat and some they won't touch - I think it all depends on the individual hens as I have heard some love hostas yet I have some large hostas in pots in my hen run and they haven't been near them. So trial and error I think.

If your walls are 10 foot high you will probably be fox-proof without a roof on. Have you noticed any fox signs in your yard eg fox poo? A roof would give you more confidence though for when you're out to know that the hens are safe.

If you only want a couple of hens, you can get some nice small henhouses (plastic ones are great - Eglu cube, some Solway ones I think - have a search around on the internet) which should be fine.

Hope you get all this sorted out and enjoy your hens! We have some ex-batts and two cream legbars and I love them Grin

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pickledbabe · 21/10/2010 10:42

My blanket advice on pots would be that any you want to keep, wrap bog standard chicken wire around the top of the pot (so that it sticks up around the plant).
they won't touch it then, but you can still get your hands in.

Or put the pots on the windowsill, or in hanging basket-type things.

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donkeyderby · 21/10/2010 13:35

thanks all, great advice. Last - but vital - question...how loud are chickens and do they make much noise between the hours of 8pm and 8am?!! I can't tolerate being woken up by animals - or rather, my disabled son being woken up by animals as he then wakes me up and we never ever get enough sleep in our house!

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pickledbabe · 21/10/2010 13:58

generally, they go by the sun rising and setting.
the noise is probably the same as conversation in the garden.

It shouldn't be much of a problem in the winter as the sun rises later - and in the cold weather, you'll want the pop hole to be shut so they don't suffer the cold - if it's dark in there, they won't make noise.

it's a bit trickier in the summer, as they make noise earlier - it's like the dawn chorus! [hgrin]

you could put the coop itself further away from the house, then it's less noisy.
If you want quieter mornings, then definitely don't get ex-batteries.
of the ones I've had, the Bovans Nera was the quietest (aprat from egg-laying, of course - then they sound as you'd expect "get this thing out of me!!!"

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pickledbabe · 21/10/2010 13:58

apart and ) at the end....

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