Keeping chickens is really quite easy providing you do your homework and get the right equipment. If you’re trying to decide if keeping chickens is for you, read on.
Benefits of keeping chickens
- Delicious, freshly laid eggs with stunning orange yolks!
- They feast on garden pests such as slugs and snails, providing organic bug control.
- Your children will learn where their food comes from and how to take care of animals – Chickens make great pets!
- They can assist with composting.
- Their poo is high in nitrogen and makes a great organic fertiliser.
Food & Water
Chickens need a constant supply of layers pellets, grit and a supply of fresh water, as they can drink between 500 ml to 1L per day in hot weather. It pays to invest in a quality feeder and waterer that will not only prevent your flock from knocking it over, but also protect the food supply from pests like mice and rats. Hanging the food and water helps to keep the water and food clean.
Dealing with Unwanted Behaviours
Your girls may peck one another when they’re bored; feeding them treats and putting toys in the run is the perfect way to distract from this behaviour. The more space your birds have the less likely this is to happen.
Where to keep chickens
You need enough space in your garden for a chicken coop and somewhere for your girls to exercise.
Your coop should have
- Around half a square metre floor area for each bird.
- A perch for them to stand on while they sleep.
- An exercise space, or ‘run’.
- A nesting box filled with suitable bedding for the hens to lay eggs.
Which breed of chicken should you choose?
There are many breeds of chicken to choose from and different breeds have particular characteristics. Popular “starter” birds include Rangers, Amber stars and Rhode Rocks – they are easy to take care of and produce a lot of eggs. Mixed breeds of chickens, or commercial ‘hybrids’ generally lay more eggs than pure breeds. We also have hens that lay different coloured eggs that are very popular. Blue/Green, white and dark brown egg layers are all standard breeds available every month at The Poultry Centre. The best way to choose is to talk to our experts who can guide you.