I have kept chickens for as long as I have lived at the farm. I started with two (Daphne and Pearl) and I certainly caught the chicken bug.
Things haven’t always gone to plan. I’ve made mistakes and, on the whole, learnt from them.
Chickens are a great pet to keep. You don’t actually need a farm to keep them. Regular gardens will do but there is a lot of things to think about before you do so, I have decide to run a little series on my blog.
The first thing I am going to talk about is logistics, plans and housing.
Before you go any further, you need to check with your local council that it is permissible to keep chickens and in the deeds of your house because some places have clauses about poultry.
If you live in a housing estate and in close proximity to other people, cockerels are probably not a good idea and I have hear of people being reported to environmental health for noise pollution. I will speak more about cockerels later in the series but to begin with, I would focus on the hens.
You need to think about where they will live and if they will free range.
Chickens can be messy creatures. They poo a lot and will peck at anything-even your prize plants and often can wreck lawn in a matter of days if the weather is wet.
If you have a small garden or a prize winning one, it may be worth penning off an area where they can free range to some extent but without having free run of your garden.
You can get some coops with large, built in runs and, if you are only having a couple of hens, it should be ok as long as you provide enough entertainment in their enclosure.
There are many types of coop available now for the budget wooden one which you can pick up new for around £100 to the deluxe like an Omelet Eglu which can set you back £500 new and still holds its value second hand.
If you are unsure whether chicken keeping is for you, it would be prudent to look at second hand coops. I always scour eBay and other selling sites for old coops as they come in handy for chicks, breeding groups and broody hens.
In the house, they will need something on the floor. You can get purpose made chicken bedding or sawdust or straw. We usually put a soft hay in the nesting boxes and built in perches off the ground are a good idea as chickens like to perch naturally and usually off the floor.
Research your housing options thoroughly. If you are like me and get bitten by the poultry bug, the chances are, the first coop you purchase will not be big enough so if you go for a slightly larger hen house, it may last longer should your flock increase.
Next week I will be talking about choosing the right hen for you. If you have any questions or would like a particular topic covering then leave a comment.
If you can’t wait for the next installment, why not check these posts out: