Keeping Chickens It’s easy and gratifying to raise chickens and you keeping chickens warm in winter can keep them in a town garden as comfortably as you can in the keeping chickens warm countryside.
Keeping backyard chickens For some time now, I’ve been keeping ducks. Keeping hawks away from chickens I started because I loved to grow my fresh organic eggs, and it was an enjoyable hobby and a good keeping chickens in the winter addition to my yard.
Keeping Chickens It was also a wonderful educational experience for the two young girls (11 and 5 years old). Keeping Chickens Our hens became much-loved animals and the understanding that we have at least some food, and that our animals live well, is just one of the reasons why I think it is so gratifying to hold chickens.
Keeping Chickens This brief guide aims to give you an accurate image of life with chickens, so you can determine if it’s right for you to keep chickens. Keeping Chickens Many chicken owners in Britain are pleased to say it’s more than worth it, so read on to see if you approve!
A chicken is for life, not just for eggs.
Keeping Chickens Like any other species, you will need to look after your chickens. day (cat, dog, or rabbit). Keeping Chickens You will just disappear for a week-long trip without arranging anyone in your absence and taking care of the chickens.
Keeping Chickens Nevertheless, you would be pleased to hear that chicken clothing is relatively straightforward and neighbors or relatives can always be bribed to keep an eye on them if you want to be out a while for extra fresh eggs.
When dreaming about wildlife, Keeping Chickens note that the current livestock have to share life – and garden – with the animals unexpectedly.
Keeping Chickens If you’ve got cats and dogs, free-ranging hens will exhibit some tentation, but probably they’ll get accustomed and you’ll need a robust chicken coop and run room in which chickens keep their furry animals smaller.
What does the law say about keeping chickens at home?
Keeping Chickens Well, normally you don’t have any issues if you keep a few hens of eggs. Keeping Chickens (In the UK, more than 700 000 households have chickens in their garden already.)
Keeping Chickens You would be shocked to see certain people specifically prohibit the holding for livestock and poultry. Keeping Chickens But, you must search the deeds and leases in your house! Your city authority could also have rules pertaining to poultry.
It might be easier to search immediately and make a lot of telephone calls if you really thought about having a few hens.
Should you tell the neighbors?
Keeping Chickens Some of them would think, Keeping Chickens “Great! Cockerels at 6 a.m., if they say to their neighbors they are going to hold chickens!
Keeping Chickens Currently, a vast number of people keep chickens without a cockerel and you don’t need one for your hens, Keeping Chickens because they lay their eggs. And, contrary to what others might believe that keeping a cockerel around them doesn’t improve how many eggs your hens are going to lay.
Keeping Chickens (If you are able to hatch your own little ones then you can do very quickly what our good friends Matt and Joanne have. Keeping Chickens They’ve just bought some fertilized eggs from a nearby farmer and they’ve got one of their more brute hens to sit on and hatch them!
Keeping Chickens You may even complain about the noise level, Keeping Chickens but usually, they are not justified.
Keeping Chickens Our hens, like most others, are very peaceful throughout the day, Keeping Chickens and aside from the usual gentle clucking that is scarcely heard from the bottom of the garden they only make a noise to proudly announce their laying of an egg.
Keeping Chickens The following is the same noise in 24 hours Keeping Chickens that my chickens make
And if you think about it, they’re much calmer than a barking dog or cat with their midnight antiquities that can hold you awake at night.
Do you have time to keep chickens?
To be honest, this just means testing the morning before work or school and again before dusk, to put them in their coffee shop comfortably in the afternoon.
At present, I probably take between 5 and 10 minutes to treat my hens every day, and this could definitely be halved if I invested in a big drinker and feeder.
It would also take time to clean the coop every week or two – an unwelcome task if you invest in an easy-to-clean hen house and dream of fresh and tasty egg omelets. Later in this guide, we will touch more about the usual everyday schedule.
So how many chickens should you start with?
I say you start with either two or three hens if you are totally new to having the chickens and see how you get on with them. Chickens prefer staying in groups (feather birds and everything) but they don’t have less than one pair.
When properly laid, three hens provide four families with enough eggs to keep the fridge stored and the poached eggs going.
Just how many eggs can you expect?
The average UK egg per human is approximately 180 eggs a year or just under 3.5 eggs a week, according to the International Egg Committee. On paper, thus, a family of 4 will eat about 12 to 14 eggs a week. That’s just what three happy and well-fed hens expect. That’s just two we get!
You should also be mindful that egg production varies according to the chicken breed you maintain. For example, up to 220 eggs a year can lay in a light Sussex and only 80 eggs a year can be produced by a shower race like the Orpington.
The development of eggs also ranges from the summer to the winter. Most hens lay an egg a day during the summer months, but in winter they lie less or even entirely cease. The development of eggs is also decreased if the hen molts occur at any time but are more frequent in late summer. Their egg production slows down as hens grow older.
I’ve found that we have a lot more eggs at home than we did before keeping chickens. Perhaps that was because it was just another thing in the supermarket in the past, and it is now only a short stroll through the backyard. And I’m mindful that, when I’m in a hurry and feel a little peckish, I find myself frying a fast egg.
Girls are still baking a lot more because we don’t want to waste any additional eggs!
What a typical day to day routine will involve.
Keeping Chickens When you start raising chickens, you will find that, in fact, they are very undemanding animals.
You may be a little bit hesitant and confused, initially and with something different, Keeping Chickens but after a couple of weeks, you can soon become a subject-matter expert and understand that owning a pet dog or cat or bunny does not vary much but has additional benefits!
Keeping Chickens You would usually need to let your hens fill their water dispensers with new and clean water every morning, regardless of how you felt.
Keeping Chickens In the morning Chickens is normally going to lay. So when you see them coming out to eat, they normally lay an egg, and then they vanish again into the housing area.
Keeping Chickens You should preferably search and take any eggs as soon as they have laid from the nesting boxes. Keeping Chickens This is to deter injuries or to discourage one of the hens from consuming the egg. It also decreases the chances of egg muck – the pigs produce waste, which is usable in the nesting box. Keeping Chickens They produce waste when and when they need it.
Keeping Chickens Many individuals, however, who do chickens work and just get back on the night when they collect their eggs and insist they never have a problem collecting their eggs.
Keeping Chickens When you come back to pick some fresh eggs, your chickens would happily scratch before sunset. Keeping Chickens Make sure your hens have safely shut away from predators and immediately search for any muddy or soiled bedding.
You can clean your chicken coop once a week, or twice a month if you have only a few hens. In the morning, however, I still make a ‘poo’ collection which involves only carefully scooping up the pup in the hen’s house and throwing it onto the compost heap.
I’ll tell you the bedding that I use and why a little later on this work is an absolute breeze!
Feeding your hens
Through feeding on grasses and insects you can produce up to 25 percent of your protein and add (non-meat) kitchen scrap to your diet. (All you should offer your hens as food like remaining cooked rice and pasta or vegetables and berries. Just avoid citrus fruits or something oily, sugary or fatty.)
Your hens should however still be served a whole pellet or meal of chicken to keep them in top shape. The hen averages 100-150 grams of full food per day. So when you start 3 hens, it is predicted you can move a 20-kg bag per 40 to 50 days of pellets. This would make you get about £10 a bag in the city. (You can buy their feed online – feed shop or even high street animal markets, here and from local farmers.)
You may also add around 20 grams of grain or maize per day per bird. But a little tip is not to feed them in the combination of grain and chicken feed or in the morning.
The chickens can only take out the sweet grain like a little girl with chocolate chip cookies, fill their crop and minimize consumption of more healthy whole food.
An unstable diet will influence the development of eggs negatively such that grain is offered as a reward, maybe in the afternoon, when fresh shots or pellets come from the day.
It’s a must get a mixed maize ‘treat bag.’ My daughters were desperate when we first got our girls to get them to feed out of their hands and stroke them, but after almost a week of peacefully waiting on their run with them, they still cared for us and gave them a few organic pellets. Then a friend proposed that I strive to use mixed maize and kindly gave me some large scoopfuls.
The next time I went to them I sat still as ever and tossed a few handfuls from the grain in close proximity to the hens. It was initially to spread (I think from my abrupt movement of the hand) but it took them just a few moments to know that I wasn’t dangerous and they almost charged the floor and had picked every last grain in seconds.
You will never believe they were feeding! This time, I put a few more handfuls down and finished it off too. The next day, I repeat this procedure and will the distance between myself and them. They fed out of our mouths on the third day.
It is a nice way to get them back into the hen if desired or bribe them to really do something. So this is your sleeve ace up!
But merely to repeat – mostly pellets or food/crown ought to be eaten, and the best time to feed is in the morning. No therapies in the evening until later.
The Importance Of Water
Water is important to your hen wellbeing – an egg contains 65% water – so that your chickens have a chance to have access to freshwater.
Unfortunately, then you’ll learn the chickens don’t do anything to keep their water clean and they’ll stick it up with droppings or litter if it’s left on the field.
When the water is filthy, the drink is not normal, so that the water dish or feeder is higher than the ground and positioned near the entrance of the cabin so that they can easily reach the dish.
Some people hang the drinker and feeder out of something, so it’s at the hens’ shoulder – we have terracotta pots on the back, with the drinker and feeder on top.
You will probably find that their water will still get somewhat polluted, even though you do so.
What happens is that their beaks get soaked when they drink. You then peck in the dirt, return and take a few additional sips to wash everything you got, and deposit the soil that is attached to your beak!
The alternative should thus be to invest in many plastic gravity feed drinkers that are spread across the garden or run area and thus a clean supply of water is still available.
On a hot day, a single hen will drink as much as half a liter! Water is important to the health of your hens.
Why You’ll Need Grit
Hens don’t have teeth, so they eat grit in their gizzards (the word, rare like hen’s teeth). They help break down their food. If your chickens don’t have access to the natural gray on the planet, you can provide some. (It’s the same reason you see birds pecking along the edge of roads.)
Grit in an oyster coat has the advantage of greater calcium content, thereby leading to the production of better egg coats.
Any of them may be placed in a small container near the feed or combined with the feed. When it is desired, the hens tend to peck on it.
A Bit About Bedding
Bedding is typically laid on the chicken store floor where moisture, droppings, and smells can be consumed. This bedding pad also serves as a mild surface in the winter for the feet of the hen. In the nesting basket, bedding should also be put to secure the eggs and to make the gens more comfortable.
Strong linens consistency can dry too fast since a refuge for parasites, molds, and bacteria is wet linens, none of which will benefit your hens. The chicken bed can all be constructed from chips made out of wood, chopped straw, and shredded paper.
Woodcuts are common because they are inexpensive and help reduce the scent of ammonia. The hen house is isolated well and it has a soft surface. However, make sure that it is ‘dust-free’ or ‘dust removed’ if you intend to use woodcuts as your bedding option otherwise the hens can be breathable.
Straw is what I have always used in nesting boxes, but I do not think woodcutting is as successful now. It is not as absorbent as cuts and has to adjust more often.
If you have a shredder and have access to a lot of paper, shredded paper is the cheapest choice. But it gets soiled easily and you have to change it more often.
The bedding I use and the hands I prescribe are made from hemp that was trimmed and dried. Keeping Chickens It is super absorbent which makes it really easy to pick poo because it sticks with you you can only pick it up. Keeping Chickens It is 100% natural and readily composted.
It’s costlier than most – it comes with a bale of 20 kilograms, which sets you back from £12 to £20, depending on the destinations.
Keeping Chickens I find it’s age-old though – and it’s definitely saving for me over a month as it’s super absorbent and easy to deal with. Aubiose and Hempcore are two brands to watch for.
Housing Your Hens.
You have to consider when and how to house them before you run out to get hens. This is potentially your largest cash outlay, so you’ll want to get things right.
It can sound a little daunting when you start out with too many chicken coop vendors both on- and offline. I hope you will know what to look for and what to stop in this portion of the guide.
The Basic Function of a Chicken Coop.
The basic purpose of a poultry store is to give your poultry a place to lay its eggs and roast safely in the night. Everything they do in the coop – lay their eggs and rest at night comfortably.
Chickens are natural foragers who want to be out and scratch for food from sun to sun. They should then be permitted to scratch across well-drained fields. You must make sure that you can supply them with this.
Now I’ll not fib – chicks left to free will affect the esthetics of your garden somewhat badly all day long. At first, we left our garden free, but after several months they managed to totally rid it of weeds, which was awesome but also much of our beautiful plants. Even our nice pelvis looked a little worse for wear.
I was stunned by how aggressive they would be, grabbing holes that would embarrass the majority of dogs and “take off” a large amount of leaf!
Now with this discovery, you might well have second thoughts. “What’s my yard, my lawn, my patch of veggie? “The truth is that you have to give your chickens a bit of space. It’s up to you if you do this.
We sell chicken coops that have extensible runs that take up just a few meters of room in total. This gives them the freedom that they have access to the enclosed outdoor field to roam in a designated area for your chickens.
That said, I also would suggest that your hens leave the scene late in the afternoon. It helps them to punch and grind around their garden for an hour or two for delicious shoots.
I prefer the late afternoon so they are more open to the possibility of returning to their coop as night approaches without you having to sweat to convince them!
Knowing what to look for in a chicken coop.
1. Does the chicken coop have sufficient room for the number of hens you wish to keep?
The requirements for bird minimum space are, as you would expect, 1 sq foot per bird in compliance with the Department for Atmosphere, Food and Rural Affairs of DEFRA. The UK Poultry Club, which has been around since 1877, also offers a minimum of 1 square foot per bird or 8″ for bantams.
However, this is a MINIMUM, because the more space you can give your chickens, the safer and healthier they are, from the many people who still hold hens.
If you permit your hens to be free during the day and lock them only at night in their houses, you can quickly get out of the smaller area laid down by DEFRA.
But, while hens stick together at night, bear in mind that keeping too many hens in a cottage will lead to health issues and much cleaner!
An insight into the internally determined slept/roosting area of the co-op on the square foot, whether online or in a supermarket, is a trick, not to forget about allowing at least 1 sq foot of square foot per pet.
You should know that certain vendors inflate the number of hens they will keep in their co-ops. I’d be cautious for people who sold 8 hens in £90 co-ops. If you look carefully, you see that the nesting box space is also taken into account and that the “hold” is bantams! Build your own inner space and take your own mind as the minimum on the basis of common sense and 1sq foot law.
When the calculations have been in cm make the same thing to quantify square centimeters and visit such a place to figure out the square-foot space that your hens have). (To get the area: multiply the length and width.
It’s vital that your hens have room to play, but you might invest in a chicken coop with a run (sometimes not in realistic circumstances in a suburban garden).
The more room you owe them the happier they are as a general law on the thumb. Cramped environments lead to boredom, boredom, and a growing probability of pests and diseases.
Most of our coops have runs that can be expanded to allow your birds more room if you need them. If you have your chickens in running for much of the time, you can permit about 1 square meter of room for each bird as a rule of thumb.
You should assume that the grass in this field will quickly wear slender and turn into a little dumb when it rains if you intend to keep your hens permanently closed.
This is why some people choose to hold their co-op and stand hard. Which has the advantage that when it floods, there is a little less mud; it can be sprayed and frequently washed with a hose or hot pressurizer and there is often less risk of a certain fox tunneling.
But it does build for them something unnatural. Then you must give your hens a really nice bark layer if they do go down this path so that they behave instinctively and scratch.
This should be roasted and replenished on a daily basis. The alternative of using rubber chips is also available, which are initially more costly but can be cleaned, disinfected, and normally take longer.
Your hens must also be able to take daily dust baths in a dry region of the soil. Hens will have a daily dust bath to get rid of their parasite and insect feathers and to take them out.
You can send them a handful if they don’t have access to a region of dry land. This can be achieved by filling a large pot with soil and sand with a deep cat litter dish. They usually would find in the garden a seclusive place to dig their dust bath if they were allowed to free space.
Free birds are very abundant to keep them active, but hens permanently housed in a run ought to support them. Some people hanging CDs on the run, which give them something to pinch, they tend to clamp down at various heights and hold on to them. You may also use the chicken wire to drive leafy greens for food.
You may also think about using a poultry electric netting package to provide your poultry with a comfortable and protected place to fly, but consider whether you have all of them with the room and budget (€150-200).
Before investigating which co-op is ideally tailored to your needs, whether you intend to keep them in a co-op full-time or to let your hens have freedom of space to narrow down the hunt.
We allowed our hens to enter the garden entirely when we began, but later we agreed that it was the best decision to fence a small unproductive part of our veggie patch to do it without wondering if they would eat the sweet peas or dig the pond.
We let them wander around the rest of our garden late afternoon. They help to keep the weeds down, to discover and change the scene, and to survive our yard.
You have to take precautions to ensure foxes can’t reach their run by easily jumping over or tunneling below when you plan to fence a section in your back garden for your chicken.
Much like we prefer chickens and eggs as a nutritious dinner, so do predators like foxes, regrettably. Continue…
2. Will it be easy to clean and collect eggs?
Keeping Chickens When you gather goes almost every day, it is wise to pick a chicken cottage with the least disruption to your hens, Keeping Chickens provides a way to reach those eggs quickly. In order to keep your chickens well in order to clean quickly, your hen house will require daily cleaning.
Keeping Chickens Look for henhouses that have convenient access to the nesting area and remove gates and bars. Keeping Chickens Regular washing not only stops droppings from piling up but also decreases the chances of damage and illness being avoided. Keeping Chickens Weekly cleaning in a well-made, well-kept hen’s house could only take about 15 minutes.
3. Is it well ventilated?
You may not understand this, but the air inside a chicken cottage may become poisonous easily because of the high ammonia that chicken droppings contain.
Inadequate ventilation will cause breathing difficulties in your hens, so maintaining fresh air circulation is vital.
You may also have learned that chicks do not withstand drafts so that airflow does not occur. To my knowledge, the chickens are sturdy and well shielded from the elements and as long as they do not get a constant eruption of freezing air in their ears, then there is air ventilation inside the coop.
Our coops have been built to guarantee that the ventilation troughs are close to the top of the coop. In this way, you can avoid the polluted air without getting your chickens pulled in.
4. Will the coop keep your hens safe from predators and does it provide adequate protection from the elements?
Your chicken coop must be protected from depredation and to a lesser degree from foxes and rodents. A home area elevated off the ground provides greater protection from animals that seek to dig in.
Take a look at your cottage and ride for any harm or gnawing signals as you pick your chickens. Keeping Chickens Both are evidence of possible predators seeking to penetrate.
Keeping Chickens Your hen house should also be appropriately weatherproof for the UK weather and should be handled preferably once a year if you invest in a wood coop?
5. Are the perches correctly made?
At night, hens tend to stay above the ground as far as possible because it gives them a feeling of protection from predators. Plastic and metal tube perches cannot be used by chickens, so they cannot keep the perch correctly.
In fact, chickens like to hang on a slightly curving flat surface so that their feet are covered by grasping them. The perch should then be around 3 to 4 cm high and its edges angled. We see that coops are sold online with bars, which are not properly manufactured.
Take a closer glance at the bars while inspecting a hen house. The top edges should be big, smooth, and full.
You will need to be able to remove your sticks for cleaning and place them far away from food or water since chicken can produce more than 50% of the waste in the night.
6. The Nesting Area
Hens are actively looking to lay her eggs in quiet, silent, or reclusive locations. With the necessary nesting boxes in the coop, you can give your hens a perfect place for laying, and a clean and secure space where their eggs are known – easy to spot.
Hen houses with a nesting box on the side and entry via a nesting box lid will quickly pick up your eggs in the entire henhouse, with no noise.
You will find they don’t need much space to lay their eggs. We sometimes find two hens in one small nesting box inside, considering the fact that the other two areas are entirely open! Up to three hens will happily share one nesting area, but three hens will give them more choices if you have three.
Nest boxes shall be lined and lifted from the ground by soft dry bedding material. If the nesting boxes are higher than the barks, the hens will sleep in the nesting box since it is the biggest.
This is not a concern but they are going to trample on their laying area (there are a couple of their drops through the night), and lie on the top of it very happily. If you like clean chickens, look for a cottage high up with bars.
Both our wooden coffee houses have been specially built to either line the perches or be higher than the foundation in the nesting box so that it is less likely to occur.
7. Design and aesthetics – does it look good and will it last!
Keeping Chickens Your chicken coop is sitting 365 days a year in your garden, so you should be happy to see that and not your eyes.
Keeping Chickens Perhaps specifically, it’s going to last for you. A lot of chicken-coops are up for sale for £100 or a little more and look like a fantastic value for money.
Keeping Chickens, However, you will find that the wood is thinner and the provider cuts every corner to the lowest price possible and that your time and your resources may well be lost.
Keeping Chickens Budget is, of course, a deciding consideration when buying a chicken cottage. However, personal experience has shown me that more than false economies are the cheapest transactions (especially anything which will be beyond the elements).
I have found fewer frustrations and issues, improved customer service, and overall a better product rather than paying a little bit more.
Predators – what you need to know.
There would most definitely be foxes where there are ducks. Now that urban foxes are as many as your cousins, the urban chicken owner is a major consideration.
Your chicken coop must be both secure and sturdy enough for a firm fox invasion armed with sharp teeth and claws to resist. While it is popularly known, foxes will attack both during the day and during the night, so if you live in an environment with foxes, either leave your chickens in the garden loose when you are with them or face a loss.
The best defense against a fox assault is to return your hens to a secure, robust, and durable hen house at night. Foxes are highly efficient diggers as well, meaning that they can crawl rapidly and efficiently under the coop wall. It is also a very wise idea to lock the hens in the coop’s actual living area during the night.
Another way to stop a fox’s digging is to lay a line of pavers or bricks around the corner. A fox will soon get bored of grabbing a half meter away and hopefully find a quick meal.
Some claim that the scent of human beings around the chicken coop discourages foxes, and we read that it marks ‘your’ territory by urining around the chicken run and discourages foxes. I don’t know what the neighbors’ reasoning is, so it’s a hypothesis…
Please always watch for signs of cracks or tooth marks in your cockpit and quickly carry out corrections to prevent a tiny hole from developing.
Visit this page for a comprehensive section on foxes and the measures to keep your hens safe.
Holding the chickens will also raise the odds of rodents, mice, and other vermin. The concern is not so much that hens attract the vermin, but that the remaining chicken feed and the potential for quick meals attract them.
Rat is more likely to visit the chicken coop when other food is scarce during winter. Rat threatens chickens seldom, however, take half an opportunity for chicks.
Mice and vermin are less of a concern because most chickens often treat them as a meal, so they prefer to stay away or if they know what I say, they hold low numbers.
Rats are opportunistic people who like food, but it is better to keep the fried chicken clean and free of extra food. Rats are opportunists who like free food. Please be careful where your chicken feed is kept. Simply put it high on a rack would not deter mice and rats; hold your food in a safe, galvanized jar, for example.
If you have a big issue with rats, you should be able to support the local government to tackle it, since rats are known as vermin.
* It is just one aspect of our FREE Chicken Roadmap. *
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