Author Topic: Chickens  (Read 29105 times)

blackpuddinonnabike

Chickens
« on: June 01, 2008, 09:51:58 am »
Not content with growing our own veg and fruit we decided to grow some eggs....








Re: Chickens
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 10:58:04 am »
...but no cockerels I hope, otherwise your neighbours aren't going to like you!
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

no97trap

Re: Chickens
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 01:55:23 pm »
Welcome to the club. We've had six hens since the autumn. We get between 4 and 6 eggs each day, and happily give them away to friends, family and neighbours. Once they've eaten our eggs they never go back to the cruel range battery ones. The difference is amazing.

Hens are great fun to keep, but a word of caution, before you know it you'll have scaled up your operation to one like mine:-



There's a great forum that I use called 'Down the Lane'. I've got a somewhat large thread on there covering the whole process.

Clicky

Your garden looks great - don't be frightened to let them out - they'll keep the grass short for you.  ;)

Re: Chickens
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 09:06:28 pm »
They don't seem to have much space.  My parents have about 8 hens (numbers dependent on foxes killing them - sometimes they even manage to jump the two electric fences) and they have about 100 sq yards to run round in.
Never tell me the odds.

no97trap

Re: Chickens
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2008, 11:16:27 pm »
Mine have the run of a decent sized garden, but at night, or if we go out, they stay in the 12' x 8' caged area. It's a million times better than the battery cage that they spent 18 months confined to.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 11:46:43 pm »
Hens are hilarious. They have proper characters. We inherited three banties but are currently down to one as two dies last winter (no idea how old they are). The remaining one "henie" sleeps in her run and little hen house but gets let out to roam the garden when we are home. She is really tame and comes hurtling across to see us as soon as we go outside. I am planning a bigger hen house and the we will get some more to keep the old girl company.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2008, 11:52:30 am »
We've wondered about hens.  Read several books and articles but none of them tell you the minimum amount of room you need per hen.  Would be grateful for anyone's views on this. We weren't going to have any, just two or three but our bck garden isn't exactly massive.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 12:16:34 pm »
Aren't they lovely, Anth. Any names yet?

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Chickens
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2008, 12:49:43 pm »
The house and run are bigger than they look in the photos, they can really have a proper run about in there (as they did yesterday fighting over some blueberries). But they're definitely not going to be confined to there permanently. Once they are settled in and know it's 'home' (about five days apparently) they'll be out whenever we're around. The garden is probably around 100 sq yds (if not a bit bigger) with grass, veg patches for dust bathing and getting grit and bushes and trees for them to root around about.

We definitely wouldn't be keeping them in any conditions that had been shown to be 'inhumane'.

The personalities are already starting to come through, and they're definitely very different from each others.

So. Names. Mel and I each came up with two, and we went with one of each. Mel had the girls from the Good Life (Margot and Barbara) while I played the movie nerd with Princess Layer and Miss Hennypenny (Princess and Missy for short). We settled on Margot (who is bigger, lighter coloured and likes staying outside) and Miss Hennypenny (so called Missy by me, but Henny by Mel) who is smaller and darker, but produced our first egg yesterday, before clucking proudly to let us know....





And yes, the grass needs cut, and the undergrowth cut back, but we were focussing on getting the fruit and veg all up and running properly before turning to the 'aesthetic'....

Re: Chickens
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008, 12:59:47 pm »
How much daily 'attention' do they need?  I might be interested in keeping some sometime, but I'm only at that home two, maybe three, nights a week.  How long can you go away and leave them?

Re: Chickens
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2008, 12:06:35 pm »
So long as they have food and water you can leave them to themselves really. Daily we just check the water and food. Weekly I give them a quick clean out (shovel out the obviously pooiest sawdust) and monthly give them a proper clean out ie remove all sawdust and hay and sweep out thoroughly.  I wood say if you have three hens its 5 minutes a day and 15 at weekend.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

no97trap

Re: Chickens
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 11:30:26 am »
So long as they have food and water you can leave them to themselves really.

That's pretty true. Fresh clean water is important - with a clove of garlic added as it keeps them healthy. They do tend to eat whatever food you put out, so if you left them two days food they'd eat it all at one sitting.

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Chickens
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2008, 10:59:33 pm »
The girls enjoyed free ranging almost the whole day today. Margot now comes running whenever she thinks you have something in your hand - which included close inspection of me screwing in hooks to the raised bed when creating a barrier to stop her getting in there.... Missy is still very very timid.











On the food thing the feeders with the Eglu apparently hold food for four days - we haven't been finding them (so far) eating all the food put out for them at one sitting....

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Chickens
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2008, 11:06:50 pm »
Hens really are amusing creatures. My dad always had some, from a dozen or so when he was teaching, but expanding the empire to 200 when he retired, selling eggs at the door. He bought the hen-houses from the widow of the local farmer who had previously been the main-stay of the village egg supply.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 11:12:06 am »
I have been trying to persuade Alan to have some chickens but he isn't keen, he seems to think our garden is not big enough (about 60' x 30'). How much room to they need, can I let them roam around the garden in the day.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2008, 01:38:32 pm »
Definitely big enough. If you think chickens are too big get bantams (miniature 1/2 size chickens). You will need a shed/shack/coup of at least three feet by two feet for a couple of bantams. You can have a bigger coup if you want more or need them to be inside more but if its just for the night they huddle up together anyway. They need a perch about two inch square and long enough for the number of birds you have (to sleep on) and some nest boxes.
They don't need much outside area but its nice for them to have a bit of an outside run. When your at home you can let them wander round the whole garden but not otherwise or local dogs/foxes will have them. Keep them protected in a meshed run when your away and on a night,
Loads of info here
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Chickens
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2008, 05:40:20 pm »
Wot 'e sed!

You won't regret it, as Wow says, they're incredibly amusing to watch.




Re: Chickens
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2008, 10:55:18 am »
Oh yes I forgot as blackpuddinonabike's picture shows chicken can fly. Badly and without much directional control it is true but they can get airborne so just be aware of that when planning runs etc (put a roof on) or clip their wings. Clipping doesn't hurt you just cut some of the primary flight feather in half to stop them flying, its more like cutting your nails than anything else. You can do it home with a good pair of scissors but we don't bother. Our hens have always looked extremely surprised on the occasions that they have found themselves in mid air and have landed again very quickly.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2008, 01:44:28 pm »
...Our hens have always looked extremely surprised on the occasions that they have found themselves in mid air and have landed again very quickly.

Shades of Chicken Run. ;D
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Chickens
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2008, 01:42:45 pm »
We are seriously thinking chickens. The plan is to repurpose the kids playhouse (that they find too small) which is 6'x4', and to build a run for them.

So I am currently woking my way through plans for nesting boxes and thinking how best to modify the playhouse to accommodate a number of chickens. (I think we'll end up with 4-6 overall)

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Chickens
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2008, 03:14:30 pm »
If you live in the sticks, don't underestimate the threat posed by foxes.  They've jumped the electric fence and killed scores of my parents' chickens over the last decade.  The neighbours' dog (a psychotic Jack Russell which also savaged one of my cats and should have been put down years ago - thankfully it's getting old now) has killed almost as many, along with all the geese in its own garden.
Never tell me the odds.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Chickens
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2008, 03:21:30 pm »
If you don't live in the sticks, foxes are still common.
We have them breeding at the end of our garden.



I have seen a fox in central London.

Re: Chickens
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2008, 03:29:46 pm »
I have seen a fox in central London.

Yep, stacks of Foxes around London.  I'll often see them when I'm cycling home, and frequently they are quite blatant and not really phased by humans at all.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Chickens
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2008, 03:36:38 pm »
I have seen a fox in central London.

Yep, stacks of Foxes around London.  I'll often see them when I'm cycling home, and frequently they are quite blatant and not really phased by humans at all.

Hardly surprising when they leave them loads of food, either deliberately (man next door buys dog food for them) or by 'mistake' -something has to eat all the takeaway leftovers!

blackpuddinonnabike

Re: Chickens
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2008, 04:56:31 pm »
Definitely don't need to be in the sticks for foxes.



We've had a few visits recently, gets the chooks going a bit mental - never let out to free range without us there.