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Keeping Chickens

Find out more about the practicalities of keeping chickens

Keeping Chickens

livestock | smallholding

If you have never kept live stock before then Keeping a couple of Hens is probably the easiest way to get started. Housed in an appropriate Chicken Coop, your hens will be very easy to look after, cheap to feed, and will provide you with an egg a day until you can hold off no longer and have to roast them for Sunday lunch.

The parts of a hen

Keeping hens is not just something for green-minded people - it will even save you money. An average hen will lay around six eggs and eat just under 20 pence of feed each week. With half a dozen free range organic eggs costing over 1.50 in the super market, you will save up to 70 per year from your current egg bill. Even greater savings can be made if your chickens are fed some of your vegetable waste (from vegetables prepared in the garden NOT in the kitchen as that would make it catering waste which must not be fed to livestock) rather than putting in on the compost heap. By the time it has passed through a chicken, chicken poop makes excellent fertilizer and it can be added to your compost to increase the yields of your crops.

Keeping happy chickens does not require much work on the part of the owner. Each morning the hens should be released from the chicken coop to have a run around during the day before being put back into the chicken coop before dark. Eggs should be collected daily, drinking water and feed should be refreshed every couple of days, and the droppings tray should not be allowed to get full. At least once a week each hen should be picked up and its state of health checked and every few months you must also trim your hens' flight feathers so they do not fly away.

Eglu urban chicken coop

Many people, particularly in an urban environment, worry about the smell generated by chickens, and vermin being attracted by feed. It is true that a chicken coop can get a bit smelly, but if regularly cleaned will not bother the neighbours at all. Similarly if you keep your chicken coop clean and ensure that the chickens' food is protected, vermin will not be attracted any more than they are to a normal compost heap.

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chicken coop

Article Published: 13:01, 23rd Feb 2009

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