DS2 is desperate for us to get chickens. DS1 (his 9 yr old twin) wants rabbits and all of us (I'm a single mum) want a golden retriever puppy this yr or next. We already have 2 cats. The chickens would be for a few eggs and otherwise 'pets'/family members. DS2 wants the rabbit/s to breed and come into the house....but I think we'd just get 2 to 3 non-breeders for the garden! Puppy of course will be a full family member like the cats.
So....loads of questions, starting with:
- could we have a small enclosure housing an eglu plus rabbit hutches/ accomodation with a joint run for all of them - or don't rabbits and chicken mix? How big would this sort of thing need to be?
- will our cats and the local cats attack/ frighten the chickens and rabbits?
- we've had no fox invasions and good garden boundaries but once they smell livestock, will the local foxes (from agricultural land backing onto our garden) make a bee-line for our garden and dig their way in/ jump the fencing?
- will it be easy/ possible to train our puppy-to-be to be calm around the chickens and rabbits?
- should we consider letting the chickens have free range of the garden (about one third of an acre) or keep them in some kind of enclosure and what are the pros and cons?
Finally, please can anyone recommend some good books and websites both on chicken keeping and rabbits?