Did you know that chickens were one of the very first animals domesticated by humans. Chickens are unique in that, not only do they make great pets, but also offer the benefits of free produce, eggs!
Things to Consider
- You’ll need to register your flock if you have over 50.
- Can destroy flowers and lawns if left to roam around for too long.
- Cockerels are quite noisy.
- Check clauses in your deeds as they may forbid you from keeping poultry.
- They need daily care, they cannot be left to fend for themselves while you’re on holidays.
- Chickens usually live around 4 – 7 years.
- There are a huge variety of chickens to choose from, but if you’re looking to keep them for their eggs, you should go for larger breeds or hybrids.
- Most gardens will be suitable to house chickens, as long as it’s not tiny.
Chickens are very hardy animals and so are very happy to live outdoors. However they should always have appropriate housing otherwise they may be vulnerable to predators roaming around such as foxes and badgers.
Any coop you buy should of course be waterproof so that your chickens stay dry and warm. If your chickens don’t feel safe and comfortable this will effect their egg laying. Any housing you do get should be as big as you have room for/can afford, as is the general rule for any pet, the more space the happier they are. A good general rule to follow is to allow 50cm square per chicken. Big access doors will make cleaning a lot easier. Nest boxes will provide somewhere for them to roost, and try to get coops with a droppings board beneath the perches, which make cleaning a lot easier.
As well as housing, your chickens will need a run so that they can roam around and explore. You should move the placement of the run often, as being in one place for too long can cause damage to the grass or encourage the build up of parasites.
Chickens are constantly grazing around for food and are most often fed on pellets or mash. They contain all the nutrients that a chicken would need. As with most animals, fresh water should always be available to your chickens, but be sure to check it during the winter to make sure it hasn’t frozen! Chickens need different kinds of food depending on their stage of development, chicks up to 8 weeks old should be fed on chick crumbs, those between 8 and 18 weeks should then be fed on growers pellets, and then finally layers pellets once they start laying eggs.
Mixed corn can be fed to your chickens as a treat, and should be scattered around for them to scratch and find it, keeping them busy.