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Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your chickens, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

Lots of questions for potential chicken keeper
4

Solo2 · 17/06/2010 14:23

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:

  1. 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?
  2. will our cats and the local cats attack/ frighten the chickens and rabbits?
  3. 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?
  4. will it be easy/ possible to train our puppy-to-be to be calm around the chickens and rabbits?
  5. 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?
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ditavonteesed · 17/06/2010 14:32

you7 mentioned an eglu, the best forum for chicken keeping is Omlet, I believe chickens and rav-bbits are ok togther.
I have a puppy, she is ok with chickens but would not leave them unsupervised together fr a second.
I have my chickens in a run, they do free range as a treat but they can trash your garden in record time and never underestimate the amount of poo.
Chickens are great pets, so funny, so easy and productiver, afraid I don't know a lot about rabbits.
Oh and I can't get my puppy to be calm around anything. but she hasn't eaten the children or the chooks yet.

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Madsometimes · 18/06/2010 13:44

I have heard that chickens and rabbits do not mix well. Chickens are strangely attracted to rabbit's eyes, and try to peck at them. You will need to give them separate housing.

We had two chickens before getting our dog. When he was a puppy he was very frightened of the chickens, and one of them was such a bully to him that he never attacked them. Unfortunately, one of our original chickens died, so we needed to introduce new chooks. Now, Patch (the dog) tries to eat the new chickens and cannot be left unattended with them. He is still fine with Scarlett (original chicken) and sees her as being dominant to him.

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BabyDubsEverywhere · 18/06/2010 18:08

I have 2 rabbits and 3 chickens. they have seperate hutches and runs, but they free range together most days for an hour or two when i am out there with the kids. they get on fine, mostly ignoring each other tbh. The problem with housing them together is not them getting on, as most do fine, its the food. Rabbits cant have anywhere near the same stuff as chickens,no salad stuff or pasta etc rabbits are actually quite sensitive. and any hole a rabbit can fit through so can i chicken and vice versa so you cant do hidey holes for food.

I also have two puppys, a scottie and a JRT neither have been in the garden whilst the buns and chooks free range yet as im being a wimp. but it is something we are planning on doing. i wouldn't leave them together unsupervised though, to risky with no real benefits tbh.

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nickelbabe · 22/06/2010 17:12

if you want a good forum, then try www.poultry.allotment.org.uk
they're really helpful and there are some commercial keepers on there too.

your run should be 2 sq metres per bird. and preferably high enough for you to walk in.
make sure it's made with 1cm sq weldmesh, not chicken wire, and that it is secure on all sides, including roof and under neath.
foxes can get into a gap of 4inches, or can bite through anything 1inch of bigger (as they can get their teeth round it).
if you can't dig the weldmesh into the ground, use slabs aroudn the edge.
which also answers your fox question - we never saw a single fox until we got chickens and then one of ours was killed by one.

cats are usually fine around hens, but be more careful with dogs. dogs see hens as dinner or game... rabbits are fine.

you can let them free-range in your garden, but make sure it's when you are outside, as the fox thing applies. you will find that if you eat your dinner in the garden, they will try to jump up and eat it.
it's funny, but always worth having a little bit extra so it distracts them we used to throw food to them so that we could get a mouthful in!

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