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Right, i can get some chickens (novice here), now what?

6 replies

GodzillasBumcheek · 30/06/2008 21:40

DH thinks he can build a 'box for them to sleep in', and a wire pen for them to run around. But he only intends them to be in it at night...is this sane? Cats do get into our garden. Aren't they likely to end up as moggy dinner?

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GodzillasBumcheek · 30/06/2008 22:37

And also, if i manage to convince him to make a proper living space (i'd still like to know what is required), what do they eat?

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TheDuchessOfNorksBride · 30/06/2008 23:51

To eat: Layers pellets and/or mixed corn. Oyster shell (for the calcium, they need it for forming egg shells). Grit to help grind their food up. A food 'hopper' and something for fresh water, hens drink quite a lot. All this is available from pet shops/country stores/feed merchants or online. If you keep the food in a metal or plastic dustbin, it'll stop rats/mice etc eating it. Chickens also like & need greens so either bung them some grass or supply them with broccoli/cabbage/whatever.

They'll need straw for their nest boxes (where they lay their eggs) and newspaper/sand/woodshavings on the floor of their house. They need cleaning out about once a week but it doesn't take long. I'd get your DH to look at the shape of hen houses on an online store (try looking at flytesofancy or P&T Poultry) so he knows what to build.

If they free-range during the day there is always the possibility that the fox will get them, cats are most unlikely to bother with a full sized chicken. We had totally free-range hens for 4 years before the fox turned up (then we lost 3 flocks in as many weeks). The run needs to be as secure as possible with either very high sides or a roof, both to stop chickens flying/jumping out and foxes jumping in - if you don't have a roof, the fence needs to be at least 6ft high (ours is 10ft). And something to stop the foxes digging in - such as putting the run on slabs or surround it with slabs or cover the bottom of the run with chicken wire or better still, wire mesh. Or electric netting.

Chickens need worming twice a year - this only means mixing Flubenvet powder into their food for about a week.

A cat litter tray full of sand will give them somewhere to dust bathe. You can shake some mite powder into it from time to time to keep the bugs at bay.

Does this sound a lot? They're really not much bother once your up and running.

GodzillasBumcheek · 01/07/2008 21:52

Thanks

Our fences are 6 ft high, and although we have seen foxes in the area, we've never seen them in our garden (even though we have a compost heap so there's always food in it!).

It does sound a lot - i might have to give up on this idea as we are short on cash as it is! I am unsure they will pay for themselves given grain prices at the moment. And where do you get oyster shell from?

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TheDuchessOfNorksBride · 01/07/2008 23:10

Oyster shell from pet shops etc. It costs about £2 for biggish bag and will last about 3/4 months.

Layers pellets or mixed corn costs about £6 for a sack - which would last 2/3 hens about 2-3 months.

tortoiseSHELL · 02/07/2008 12:41

If you have chickens you will get foxes! And they can jump over a 6ft fence I'm afraid, so you would either need some electric netting, or an enclosed run.

I think paying for themselves is a long way down the road, but remember that you could sell eggs to boost cash! Feed isn't too expensive. Have a look at my blog if you like - there's stuff on there about building the house/run which your dh might be interested in. The latest house will house 3-4 chickens and cost about £280 in total.

GodzillasBumcheek · 02/07/2008 15:20

Thanks both of you for your info

The food sounds cheap enough...but i don't think in regards to housing that we could afford to do it. Ho hum, so much for fresh free range eggs! Will tell DH not to be so silly (at least i can say i was right!).

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