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Chickens,how many is good?
10

hellymelly · 02/02/2009 21:27

I am getting chickens! I am very excited!However I am not sure how many I should get.We have a pretty small garden,I want two ideally,but I am getting a chicken house that would house up to six.will they mind having a roomy house?would three be better? also is three better generally ,or if you have two,and one dies,is it easier to introduce a new than than it would be to bring a new hen in with two?All advice appreciated!

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VanessaParody · 02/02/2009 21:47

Get 3, they are happy as a little flock. And if you did need to replace one, you could either get a larger breed or get 2 new ones.

Even if you did have just two but then needed to replace one, there's no guarantee that the remaining hen wouldn't bully her new companion.

But as for a roomy house, no they won't mind that at all. They'll huddle up together when it's cold. (Like tonight, brrr).

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ChasingSquirrels · 02/02/2009 21:49

I'd get 3. (I say with 2).

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hellymelly · 02/02/2009 21:58

would a six foot run be ok for three though?I have never had chickens,although I have been around them,and I want them to be happy! it worked out not much more expensive to get a bigger house as the big house comes flat packed and so is much cheaper to deliver to me in wild wales.I initially thought three but worried about them having enough room-I will let them out of the run some of the time but can't chicken proof the whole garden so they won't have a huge area to roam around,that made me think maybe two would be better-we do eat a lot of eggs though!

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bramblebooks · 02/02/2009 22:05

I've just got two which came as a pair with my eglu, I do want three though, but will probably have to get an extra pair to go with these two for pecking order reasons.

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VanessaParody · 02/02/2009 22:22

6ft run will be just about OK. If you put it on grass, they'll have scratched it to mud within a day so cover part of the roof and give them aubiose or straw to scratch about in and keep them busy. Hanging broccoli, or similar, from the roof will also give them something to do. And a nice cat litter tray of sand for 'bathing' in.

And let them out as often as you can. My breeding flock are let out late morning and stay out until about 4pm (the cockerel likes an early night ).

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hellymelly · 02/02/2009 22:46

Vanessa do they really wreck your garden? I am not a neat freak and our garden is very wildlife friendly,but I have heard that they trash the lot,like sheep
(my dh is worried they will eat the slow-worms we have living here)Never heard of aubiose,will google it.!

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hellymelly · 02/02/2009 22:57

Also now have to decide what to get-mainly
i want a friendly sort of chicken,but a cute one too.I have a weakness for fluffily trousered hens but it is wet here and our garden runs to mud so that rules out fluffy legs.What are the favourites ?

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thesockmonsterofdoom · 03/02/2009 13:05

3 is best, theya re all gorgeous, hybrids will lay eggs all year and lay a lot more eggs than pure breeds, I got 6 hybrids to start with, they have been no trouble at all, I am now getting 3 ex batts at the weekend, they will be in their own coop for a while and then hopefully going in with the others, I am back and forth on whther I should do this or just buy them a coop of there own.
Mine are in a cube which is big enough fior 10, although you would need a few ewxtensions on the run, there are aonly 6 and they are fine, they do have there own quilts.

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LittleB · 03/02/2009 13:31

I've got 4, we were going to get 3, but then read thats it a good idea to get 1 more than you think you need. 3 sounds good to me. If you're concerned about the size of your run could you build a bigger one or add an extension?
We've got the following; a black rock - very friendly hardy hybrid - should lay lots of eggs when she starts laying, a light sussex - pretty big bird, already laying lots of tinted eggs, a lavandar arucana - lovely friendly pure bred bird (can be flighty but ours is friendly) will lay blue eggs, and a speckledy maran, v. pretty, not keen on cuddles but friendly enough, will lay dark brown speckled eggs. but we've only had them a week and a half so I'm not an expert. I do love having chickens though!

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VanessaParody · 03/02/2009 20:36

How big is your garden helly? If it's very small and you let the chickens on it for a bit each day, then yes, they will turn it into a mud bath. Particularly when the weather is wet. If you have 50ft or more and limit their time on it then it may escape heavy damage. They do poo a lot though.

See how they get on in the run and then consider extending it to 9 or 12ft?

Feathery feet chickens actually scratch around less than your bare-legged variety so they might actually suit you more.

I currently have Light Sussex (quite squawky and bad-tempered), Silver Sussex (lovely when not broody), Amber Star (horrible bitch), Vorwerks (fab) and about 50 hybrids, which have very different personalities; friendly, nervy, dumb, independent (ie. they keep escaping).

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