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I feel the need for some hens. Advice please.

11 replies

AtYourCervix · 31/12/2011 10:39

  1. do i want a fancy expensive eglu or a little wooden house?

  1. can you recommend a chicken's for idiots type book or two?

  1. anything eles?
OP posts:
MrsWhitaker · 31/12/2011 11:11

Totally recommend the forum 'Urban Chickens'. Very friendly place and Christine is a Chicken Legend! I have gone wood myself. Eglu is NOT fox proof despite the claims but obviously wood means extra care with red mite. Stay house/coop proud. Cleaning is the key. Wouldn't buy a book. Join a forum for real life advice from real chicken keepers. But that's just me! And enjoy your new feathered friends! They are such good fun to own and have real personalities. x

HelloShitty · 31/12/2011 11:19

We're still in love with our hens 5 years on, so bite the bullet and go for it. We worried that it would be a passing fad, but they give so much back and our DS adores them.
We looked at eglus but they are very expensive and (in our opinion) rather cramped. Our girls are truly free-range having the whole of the bottom of the garden, and we wanted to give them a nice large 'house' as well. Eglu runs are teeny. I guess they're much easier to keep clean, and it depends what you like, but we much prefer our natural looking wooden house. DP is constantly updating and extending it too.
We had a few books but as MrsW says, the online forums are a much better way of finding out what you need to know.
Finally, consider getting some ex-battery girls. We got 2 last year and they have fluffed up beautifully and are regular layers. Lovely personalities too.
Good luck :)

MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe · 31/12/2011 22:19

Gosh, how exciting Grin - Domestic Fowl Trust have some good books. This is what I wish that I had been told X years ago when I strated breeding and exhibiting chickens;

  1. Buy a house bigger than you need (you'll always want more chickens than you have). Having a raised house is useful so that rats don't get under it. If you go for wood then creosote it in the spring to get rid of red mite.

  1. Layers pellets, grit and corn need to be fed. Pellets/grit should be freely accessed from a feeder and corn only fed in the afternoon as a treat. Food needs to be kept somewhere rodent proof.

  1. Keep your chickens dry as possible, you'll get less disease that way.

  1. Treat for mites and worms with Ivermectin (2/3 drops on the back of the neck every few months, egg withdrawal is 7 days)

  1. Buy a book on common chicken ailments and find a vet. Check out what a healthy chicken dropping looks like - if there's something wrong then droppings are a good way of finding out what it is. Grin

  1. A chicken that refuses to get off a nest box and gets grumpy when you try to move her os broody - not ill.

They're a lot of fun - good luck!
AtYourCervix · 01/01/2012 09:57

cool thanks.

this is going to take a good bit of planning. and reading. i know what i'm [doing with cans and dogs - but not birds.

might do a bit of fantasy chicken house shopping though.

OP posts:
BogChicken · 01/01/2012 10:20

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AtYourCervix · 01/01/2012 10:25

sadly not kent. in wiltshire. i did fancy little bantams but maybe rescue girls would be better.

OP posts:
AlwaysWild · 01/01/2012 10:30

I have an Eglu. They are great as easy to clean. And I much prefer the look of them. I cannot see how a fox could possibly get into an Eglu. The run I can imagine, but not the Eglu itself. And re size mine all snuggle up in a tiny space anyway, they use about a 3rd/quarter of the room available to them.

I now have an Eglu and a ridiculously expensive walk in run. I found the Eglu run really hard to manage as you can't get in to them without crawling in chicken shit. The walk in run is great, so so much easier.

I'd recommend the Omlet (makers of Eglu) forum. They don't all own Eglus. It's a wealth of advice on anything you can imagine.

I'm not entirely smitten by my chooks. Have had various problems that have not made it the most easy and relaxing thing, but am happy enough.

One thing worth mentioning, is they do a lot of shit! Lots.

AlwaysWild · 01/01/2012 10:32

PS Eglus also hold their value so if you don't like it you can sell on ebay and not lose much. That was the clincher for me.

And yes to bantams. I wish I had got pekin bantams as they are so cool. I was worried about the small eggs, but now the egg mountain novelty has worn off, small eggs would be a relief!

Backinthebox · 01/01/2012 10:34

I have 3 little Pekin bantam hens that are looking for a home. Long story about how I came to have them, but basically they don't fit with my plan for larger breeds, and as I have a lot of hens it is a struggle to find them somewhere mud-free round here in the winter. They have fluffy little feet and really want to be someone's pets rather than wading around at my house. I'm in West Berks, and would be looking for a small price per hen.

They are very pretty little hens, and extremely friendly. The down side with bantams is that they do tend to go broody more often than other hens, and they lay fewer eggs. (The 18 month old buff Pekin laid me about 120 eggs last year. The lavender and partridge hens are only last year's hatch and haven't started to lay yet - they should start up some time in the Spring.) An ex-bat would lay more and bigger eggs and wouldn't be likely to go broody.

AtYourCervix · 01/01/2012 11:33

interesting BBTB. not too fussed about mountains of eggs. will up my search for perfect hen house.

OP posts:
Grockle · 05/01/2012 18:33

I started with 3 hens in an Eglu Classic. I loved it. So...

I got a 2nd hand Eglu Cube and put 3 more hens in there. NOW I am rescuing 3 more ex-battery hens. All this in less than 18 months.

Mine free-range but have RUINED my garden. I have no lawn anymore and they attacked all my plants. My veg patch was fenced off (with 2 layers of fencing) but they've broken in there repeatedly. We had to buy sprouts for christmas dinner because the girls stole the ones I was growing!

As of the weekend, I will have 8 hens & 2 Eglus (plus 2 rabbits who prefer the Eglu to their rabbit run). I am in the process of getting quotes for someone to build me a proper walk-in run so I can sell my Eglus and have a decent sized run for them.

Moral of story: buy a HUGE henhouse and a big run.

Good luck and have fun. Chicken keeping is addictive but fab.

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