Keeping chickens

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Keeping chickens

Postby craftyprincess » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:26 pm

For a few months now i've been to'ing with the idea of keeping chickens. The only problem is that my house backs onto miles and miles of fields and i'm concerned how much of a danger to the chicks that will pose. Although we've never seen any there are bound to be rats and fox not too far away.

I just feel in a bit of a dilemma.

Any thoughts, opinions or experience would be appreciated.

Thank you
xx Sara xx

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Re: Keeping chickens

Postby Net » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:22 pm

The main thing you need for your chooks is proper housing. I personally wouldn't touch an Eglu - they're very expensive and tiny! You need a decent shed for them with boxes for them to lay in, perches to roost on and one that can be safely locked at night to keep Mr Fox out. Like wise your run needs to be fox proof too. The wire ideally needs to be buried as foxes will dig to get in. A top on it too as foxes are very agile and can easily climb up wire or even jump it! Lack of roof will also mean your chickens can get out, whilst they aren't good fliers a few flaps can get them up and over.

You might have thought of having them free range in your garden. That can bring other problems; getting them back at night, keeping them just in your garden and stopping them trashing the whole garden which they will!

All that said they can be great fun - Sue on here has chooks. I think she recently got new ones.
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Re: Keeping chickens

Postby Charliecat » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:56 pm

I don't have chickens myself but my friend got some back in November - 6 lovely girls. They bought/built a really nice chicken house with perches for each hen and lockable doors; even though we don't have foxes or mink here they still want to keep rats out. Also, they have 2 Jack Russells which they introduced slowly to the hens and the dogs seem fine with them.

The only mistake they made was not making the wire high enough around the run. It was only about 3 foot high and the chickens got over that on day one - luckily they haven't run away and do tend to head back to the house at dusk but I think they are going to extend the height.

My friend held a 'Name the Chicken' raffle - each person wrote down a name and put it in a box -

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Re: Keeping chickens

Postby RachelB » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:16 pm

I say go for it but be aware they completely trash the garden IF you let them, but are very good at eating slugs and vegetables as well. We have a proper hen hut and run but find the run small and out chicks are bullies but not entirely sure why. We have just introduced a cockerel and its not going well at the moment - he may have to go back as they are bullying him as well - he is still quite young and used to nice mum and is face with 4 Hells Angels Chicks!!!

The eggs are good. The do roam and if let out into the open or escape (they are very good at this) will go quite far and are hard to catch. However we have found ours know where they live and head home!
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Re: Keeping chickens

Postby Sue » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:09 pm

The plus side of having the plastic type eglus is there will be no red mite - however I do agree with net the wooden sheds are nicer

IMHO foxes seem to be more prevalent in built up areas as far as chicken are concerned - I guess because food isn't readily available as it is in the country

We had a run built - its huge made of chicken wire and at the bottom we also added a fox proof wire that went underground and turf laid ontop - foxes can gnaw through chicken wire

We do not have a top on its too big - the side were just over 6 foot and flexible at the top so if a fox climbed they would wobble at the top and fall - sadly in spite of this we lost 9 chickens

We now have gone up another 3 foot and we now lock them away EVERY evening. In our area foxes have been seen during the day so we only let them out in the main garden when we are mooching around at home at the week ends

In saying that the run is massive and they are classed as free range and there is nothing so nice as fresh eggs with bright yellow yolks
Sue xxx
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