Friday, 17 May 2013

Chickens

I don't make much secret of the fact that I would like a couple of chickens. With the garden being a fairly small size & being my veg plot I have had to think long & hard. By the way the chickens would become my much loved pets & the egg production would be a secondary consideration.  Though they will have to lay eggs as it was my way of persuading Mike round to the idea.

I had thought of some bantams but apparently they don't lay many eggs. I had also thought of ex-battery hens & while I haven't dismissed the idea in full,  from my research I believe they are let in batches of three. Ideally for the space I have I thought two would fit in nicely, though & don't think of me in a bad light, battery hens wouldn't be offended at the lack of land I can offer. The other sensible option & I have far far more not very sensible options believe me are some hybrids. Hybrids have the best bits bred into them -higher egg production being one of them.
The small greenhouse is being removed to make way for the chickens. Ridiculous idea to have two greenhouses in such a small patch, however useful it is. I will be creating a fenced area above either with chicken fencing or more than likely (to make it look nice) picket fencing with a gate. In all it should give me a 9 ft by 7 ft space.

I have decided on a plastic chicken coup for two reasons. The higher quality wooden chicken coups are hugely expensive, the second reason is when cleaning the chicken coup in the winter, plastic dries quicker than wood.

More than  likely I shall be making my purchase from Omlet While I would like the Eglu cube I will in all likely hood be going for the Eglu Go as I will be able to fit it in my chicken area on an angle with the run attached. The run being essential as they will be able to spend the day in that if I am in the office & not logged on at home. Also there used to be a fox in the area but I haven't seen or heard about the fox for a couple of years now.

I have a lovely book on the subject which as helped me no end over the problems of having chickens & a veg patch. Another  issue with Mike. With a bit of jiggery-pokery I will be able to manage just fine. Chicken Runs & Vegetable Plots. is the book you need.

Anyway in all likely hood this will not be happening until next year, the greenhouse wont be going until the end of July, & it will take a couple of months for me to get the space sorted. I really don't want to start keeping chickens at the onset of winter so I would like to think that this time next year I will be up & running.
It also gives me time to research suitable vets. Enjoy your day

29 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I can see the appeal of keeping chickens although it's not something that I'd do.
    Thanks, you too. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, I have wanted to keep a couple for a few years now & the time just feels right.

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  2. Chickens are fab :-) You will enjoy having some :-)

    Most places would not be very happy about selling you just two chickens, as if one dies there would only be one less - I would get three as that is a minimum number for a small flock :-)

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    1. Perhaps that's why the battery hen rescue only lets you take a minimum of three, three it will be then.

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    2. :-)

      If you want ex batts, get a copy of Jo Barlow's book :-)

      or just get a copy, anyway, as it is really good :-)

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  3. keeping hens in the garden is one of the most rewarding things to do! they are wonderful to have around and the eggs are a great bonus. I've bantams and large fowl, my favourite are the pekin bantams, they lay all year except in winter, they do go broody too. so no eggs then as well. but they are the best pets. I have to check out this book you posted. looks good!

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    1. The book is great. I do think keeping chickens will be great fun.

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  4. Three chickens is THE way to go, and yes they will be happy in that amount of space. You should never get just 2 birds, if one dies you will be in a real fix as it is hard to bring in another without lots of squabbling, and you should never keep a chicken living without a companion. You could of course get two full size and one bantam or vice versa, my mixed sized birds live very happily together.

    Or get ALL bantams, Hybrid bantams will lay all year round the eggs are just smaller.

    I currently have my three new girls AND my rescued battery hen in the older version of the Eglu Go complete with run, although they do free range with everyone else in Chicken World during the day now. They love their cosy Eglu and are showing no desire to want to move in with the others.

    It's exciting that you are a step closer to keeping chickens, they make THE most fantastic and productive pets.

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    1. It does look like I will have to have three, as long as the space I have is big enough I will be happy with three.

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  5. Someone on our allotment site has adopted battery hens.

    Have you sorted our chicken sitters for when you are away?

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    1. Next door neighbour has a few chickens, he will be more than happy to have them at his or come round to my garden.

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  6. I have often thought about keeping chickens but certainly don't have the space at home and I was more interested in having bees though and there aren't any bees on the plot but there are plenty of chickens and because the bees are struggling so much and I love honey it swayed my decision!!

    Looking forward to hearing all about your chickens though and it's not an idea I have totally given up on yet!

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    1. This time next year I hope to be posting lots about them. I have mentioned bees to Mike but he looked horrified.

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  7. I've wanted chickens for a while, then I worked in the school garden that has chickens and their feet freaked me out. I'll be interested to see how you get on and wish you luck with it. X

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    1. Haha loved what you said about the feet. I rather enjoy watching my neighbours chickens at play.

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  8. How lovely. I'd love to keep chickens but now just isn't the time so I'll read all about yours, when you get them, with interest.

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    1. I have wanted them for a few years & now just feels right or will do when the greenhouse goes.

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  9. I've kept chickens for many years now and have had different breeds (although never bantams). I've found the hybrids lay better throughout the year but don't live as long. I also found many "small animal" vets (including the one I use for my dog) don't know about chicken-care but I did find one locally who had done some training. Chickens are definitely worth keeping. Truely fresh eggs are wonderful.

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    1. There is a vet fairly close by that does have experience. It is interesting what you have said about the hybrids.

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  10. I can't wait to see your future adventures!

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    1. Ha, I shall be posting photos of me attempting to build the coop & run.

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  11. We have raised backyard chickens for over thirty years. They are great fun and their clucking is so peaceful when working about the garden. I would fit in three if you can manage in case of loss.

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    1. Looking at the comments I have had, it will have to be three. I love hearing my neighbours chickens clucking & I also find it relaxing.

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  12. I can remember how excited I was when I got my first chickens and like you I had been waiting a while.They are so much fun to watch,I have never had a problem when away as neighbours are always so willing when they know they can collect the eggs.

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    1. I think I will be doing cartwheels when they arrive. I also have a chicken sitter ready too.

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  13. Oh I am jealous! I would love chickens but worry about what happens to them if I go away....I'd have to persuade my neighbours to care for them.

    I can't wait to see how you get on, I'll look forward to hearing more.xxxx

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    1. I'm lucky you see, my neighbour keeps a few hens. I wouldn't have any hesitation in roping my sister in to help. Tee hee I would love to see her squirm.

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  14. I went on an Omlet one-day course on chicken keeping, it was great really helpful and informative. If the day dawned that I had enough room I'd plum for the Eglu too as they're so easy to pressure wash and keep clean. I'm a little bit green with envy, but happy for you too!
    Rose H
    x

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    1. I'm going to go on a course, there a several close by. That is one of the plus points of a plastic house, well for me any way.

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