Self Sufficient Living

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Chicken Questions

People are surprised when they discover we keep chickens in our back garden and over the last couple of years it has become more popular.

In most cases you probably could keep chickens,( best to check with neighbours and the local council first). They are quieter than dogs, don’t bite people, don’t need walking and if you cut the lawn regularly their droppings are no worse than a dogs. Space is a requirement as the minimum number of chickens is two as they don’t like being on their own.

Chickens are really easy to keep and make excellent and extremely interesting pets and you get eggs as a bonus. They are inquisitive, friendly, and quite comical at times and soon become loved members of your family.

Black tailed columbian hen

What will I need?
You will need a hen house and a run.
The house doesn’t need to be a large affair, ours is quite small but large enough for four hens and their feeder and a perch for night time roosting (chickens are a descendant of the jungle fowl which sleep on the lower branches of trees, they naturally put themselves to bed as dusk approaches so need a perch for roosting on)
You will need a feed and water hopper see below.

Black Tailed Columbian

Hen house inside

Chickens like to scratch to find their food, they will eat almost anything particularly bugs and grass and small stones for their crop which acts like a stomach grinding up the food so it can be digested. To begin with we let the hens roam around the garden all day every day, however the grass took such a hammering that we now keep the hens in until at least midday and let them out if dry in the afternoons which gives the lawn a chance to recover and regrow.
We took protective measures right from the start to ensure the veg plot didn’t get ravaged, by using a frame with netting it all around and above. However the hens managed to find away of jumping up to peck the leave that grew against the netting pulling it through, (I hate being out-smarted by a chicken).