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Thinking about keeping chickens

11 replies

pigsinmud · 19/08/2012 12:17

That's it really! Looking after some ducks and chickens at the moment - duck eggs just hatched. Dc are loving it. I thought about it a while ago and dismissed the idea, but now coming back round to it.

Can anyone recommend a good book so I can read up about chicken keeping? Which sort of coop - Eglu or wooden coop? The pictures of coops and runs don't look that big - do they stay in the run the whole time? Any advice really!

OP posts:
Pixel · 19/08/2012 21:06

I'm a chicken newbie too, although I kept ducks for years growing up, and I've got this book which I've found to be nice and simple and not too scary. The day after I got my chooks I picked up a chicken keeping magazine at the farm shop and before I was halfway through it I was a nervous wreck from reading all the adverts for things that are apparently essential if I don't want my chickens to die in 30 seconds flat. Spent a sleepless night wondering if I'd made a terrible mistake! So don't do that Grin.
Actually, had them a few months now and they are great, not as dirty as ducks, very friendly, they eat all the leftovers and the eggs are lovely! Mine do have a permanent run as we have a lot of foxes around, but I'm thinking of getting a smaller moveable run so they can come out and pick at the lawn occasionally for a treat.

pigsinmud · 19/08/2012 23:14

Thanks Pixel. I'll give that book a go.

Dh came with us this evening to put chickens away and it put him right off! He is worried about the smell and general mess. We don't have a huge garden - unlike the chickens we are looking after, but they also have 9 whereas i'm thinking of 3.

We collected 7 eggs - dds loved that. 6 brown and 1 white.

OP posts:
bramblina · 19/08/2012 23:21

Don't buy any books until you really need to! There's not much more to it than common sense (until one gets ill or so...)
Buy a wooden coop, plus a run if you might need it.
Buy at least 3 chickens- they are sociable and need a partner, 3 covers any possible loss without having to get in a new partner and worry about the pecking order.
Buy a bag of layers mash, feed them as much as they can eat, and make sure they have fresh water.
Put some straw in each nesting box, they will go in to their coop as it gets dark, lock them if you have foxes or pine martens, let them out in the morning.
If they can fly over your fence, cut the first 10 feathers with scissors down to the same level of the next lot of feathers, only do this on one wing or they will still fly!
I feed ours all our kitchen scraps (within reason) but I don't give them eggs or chicken!
We love our chickens....can you tell??

pigsinmud · 22/08/2012 17:58

Got a couple of books out of the library. I think we have decided to go ahead. If anyone can recommend a coop preferably with a covered run attached...

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suedpantsoffem · 22/08/2012 18:16

I'd like chickens, but DH says that where there are chickens, there are rats Sad
Does anyone have that problem?

pigsinmud · 22/08/2012 18:52

Well, rats are pretty much everywhere aren't they? We had rats nesting in our compost bin a few years ago. Sorted that problem out.

The books I flicked through said that rats are just after the chicken food, so as long as that's tidied away each night you should be ok.

OP posts:
hellymelly · 22/08/2012 18:57

Get bantams if your garden isn't huge. I had three full size ones and they did trash my garden and produce vast amounts of poo, but now I have three bantams (would rather two, but have three at the moment due to chicken politics) Anyway bantams are beautiful make lovely dinky eggs (use three for two in recipes) and make a lot less mess in the garden. I have silver spangled hamburgs, they fly well and don't go broody .

suedpantsoffem · 22/08/2012 19:07

Thanks schilke. Will show him your post.

bramblina · 22/08/2012 20:04

We have this one and it's been great. Could probably do with a coat of something but it's survived a Scottish Highland winter so far! www.henhouseworld.co.uk/ch103.htm

mummymeister · 22/08/2012 23:01

The thing to remember if you have hens is that you have to put them away at dusk every single night if you miss one then he who cannot be named has them away and it is heartbreaking. they are a huge committment because of this. if you keep them in runs/pens then you have to fence securely and sometimes put chicken wire underneath. they are fantastic things but eg went to the pub last night, stayed for the quiz and had to phone round to find someone to lock the girls away. i know all pets are a committment but my tropical fish didnt need this neither my rabbits.

LaBelleDameSansPatience · 24/08/2012 19:26

You don't need to lock them away every night if you have a covered run - we used to - or an automatic door-shutter. (Yes, they really exist; solar powered!)

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