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Don't know where to start

7 replies

Betti · 17/04/2010 22:17

I have decided I would like to keep chickens (maybe 3 or 4) but don't know where to start. I really like the Pekin Bantams but do they lay eggs as DH doesn't see the point of keeping chickens if you don't get eggs.

I have 3 young children so would like them to be friendly.

So what breed are small, pretty, good at laying eggs and friendly?

What kind of coop is best?

Are there any negatives?

I have trawled the web but there is so much information that my brain is now befuddled!!!

Thank you...I'm sure there are loads more questions I need answering.

Betti

OP posts:
Tryharder · 18/04/2010 19:05

I got my 3 chickens last summer - I love them!! I bought a wooden ark which was considered suitable for the number of chickens I have but I found it to be too small. Now, I have fenced off a portion of my garden behind the shed for them which is ideal. A lot of people prefer plastic coops as they are easier to clean but they are quite expensive. I would probably spend as much as you can afford on accommodation as my cheap ark is already showing signs of wear and tear.

I rehomed ex battery chickens so can't advise you on breeds.

Any negatives? One of my chickens was ill last summer and the other 2 bullied her mercilessly which was quite upsetting. Also, if you have a nice garden. don't let them free-range on it as they will rake up the lawn, peck all your plants and poo everywhere.

I wouldn't describe my chickens are being friendly as such but they don't chase the DCs either (although Hannah did peck DS2 when he stuck his finger through the chicken wire!!)

Positives? I get between 2 - 3 eggs daily, a sense of satisfaction of having rescued ex battery hens plus they are generally quite soothing to have around and require minimal care really. They eat up all the scraps and kids leftovers so good for the environment also!

bramblebooks · 18/04/2010 19:38

My chickens are very friendly - I have a mix of hybrids and pure breeds. I handle them and hand feed them.
Bantams will lay, as long as you get girls and get them at around 20 weeks - don't get any over a year old!

Try the 'omlet' forum for lots of chat and advice about hens.

It's addictive to keep them, be warned!

Betti · 20/04/2010 16:17

What about Orpingtons. I've read that they are very friendly and good layers?

OP posts:
bramblebooks · 21/04/2010 11:27

Orpingtons are very friendly but don't lay a huge amount of eggs as their energy goes into their feathers! They are also huge!

My gingernut rangers from 'omlet' are lovely. You could try chatting on the 'omlet' forum - there are lots of chicken keepers there who would help out.

isthatporridgeinyourzone · 22/04/2010 13:04

Betti - orps are lovely, but as bramble says are huge. They're sumo wrestler sized and you will need more space for them.

Pekins are lovely and they won't root up your garden too much either. The breed I keep - silkies are docile, and don't fly. They lay all year. But I am entirely biased so take no notice of me!

Betti · 26/04/2010 14:57

Thanks everyone.

I've been looking at the chicken arks. Are there any pros or cons for this type of chicken house? I can't afford an eglu at the moment and would like to be able to move the run around even though I will let them free range too.

Thanks

OP posts:
jurisfictionoperative · 27/04/2010 04:48

Pekins are gorgeous, funny and friendly and dont go broody as much as silkies which are also very sweet, but not waterproof! Orpingtons lay more than people think and come in bantam size, but judging by egg sales on ebay, they seem to be de rigeur at the moment. pekins will usually give 2 eggs a day from 3 hens. If you want a talking point with a marvellous temperament, try transylvanian naked neck bantams. they are really sweet and cuddly! In my opinion eglus are an overpriced gimmick. convert a small shed or look on ebay. there are some very reasonable coops on there at the moment. Try to avoid anything with felt ( or replace with something else)as it harbours red mite, and anything triangular, as hens can damage their combs trying to peck into the corners. I joined my local poultry club, who were great, and helped me no end. they will also be able to help you find the breeds you want locally.

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