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Chicken basics

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monsterm
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Chicken basics

Postby monsterm » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:15 pm

So dh came home with a coop today :yahoo: . A customer had a spare & he bartered for it. We are very excited but I'm panicking a little because we know nothing about looking after chickens & I'm getting overwhelmed by google.

So we have the coop & the run covered but what else do we need for chickens? I assume something to hold water. What about feeders? Also, we don't have a clue about what breeds to get & number of eggs to expect. We eat a lot of eggs. So basically any information you can give me would be gratefully received :D

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Shaunie
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby Shaunie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:42 am

I've no idea but how exciting. We use lots of eggs too so maybe it's something we may do one day. I think @happytails recently got chickens and they are producing a fair number of eggs.

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Louise
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby Louise » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:53 am

I don't remember reading about happytails getting them but @Allie definitely has chickens.

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Allie
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby Allie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:14 am

I have 5 chickens and we usually get at least 4 eggs a day. We have 2 bantams (small breeds) and 3 ex battery hens. The bantams produce small eggs and a basic rule of thumb is 2 bantam eggs = 1 normal egg.

The best layers for eggs are hybrids, so something like warrens which are basically your brown hens but it's also nice to have some pretty hens in your flock. I have a silkie and a leghorn in mine which are purebreeds and although these weren't supposed to be very good layers they have been fantastic. You can buy pullets which are chickens that have not yet started laying or POL "point of lay" which are chickens which should have already started or be about to start laying. My silkie and leghorn were pullets and didn't start laying for 4 months so if you're looking for eggs straight away it's probably best to get POL. You can also buy chickens that are a bit older sometimes from farms.

You can get feeders and drinkers from ebay quite cheaply. It's probably a good idea to invest in a keeping chickens book, I've got quite a few but don't worry about doing it strictly by the book :wink: . Layers pellets are the best food to give them and you can buy a 20kg sack quite cheaply between £8 and £10

I use shredded paper in the nesting box and just throw it in the compost bin when I clean them out and I use newspaper and wood shavings on the floor of the coop. The newspaper under the shavings just helps to keep the coop a bit cleaner and makes for an easy sweep out once a week.

I use childrens play bark in the run which if you read on the internet you aren't supposed to use bark but it's been fine for us and is cheap.

My daily routine if it helps is:

Morning - about 5 minutes max
Fill up feeders
Let chickens out
pick droppings out of coop and nesting box

Mid morning if I'm not at work or late afternoon if I'm at work
pop down to coop to check for eggs

Evening/at dusk - about 2 minutes
close coop up (chickens have already taken themselves to bed)
Refill water
empty out any old food

Weekly:
Lime the run and turn over the bark chippings (basically a handful of garden lime chucked on the run and raked in). This dessicates the poop, dries up the bark and stops smells. I usually do it at night when the chickens have gone to bed to give it time to work
Sweep out the coop and replace all shavings and nesting material.

Monthly
Disinfect the coop and remove and wash down perches and nesting box - I use Jeyes fluid

Hope this helps

Happy for you to pm me for more information and have fun, keeping chickens is very rewarding :D

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zanush
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby zanush » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:25 am

If you have a nice garden, try not to let the chickens be too free range. They eat and destroy everything? Literally. Mine are free range all day, only get put back in their runs at night, and I barely have a shred of grass left. And the plants are mostly gone too!

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sophie2198
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby sophie2198 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:37 am

this is our biggest concern as we do have a nice garden and spent £1300 getting the back garden dug and turfed just 2 years ago!

We were thinking of getting 4 chickens....is it ok for them to be in the run most of the day then? Obviously we would let them out sometimes as what's the point otherwise , but im assuming the run would need to be fairly large in that case?

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Re: Chicken basics

Postby Allie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:45 am

sophie2198 wrote:this is our biggest concern as we do have a nice garden and spent £1300 getting the back garden dug and turfed just 2 years ago!

We were thinking of getting 4 chickens....is it ok for them to be in the run most of the day then? Obviously we would let them out sometimes as what's the point otherwise , but im assuming the run would need to be fairly large in that case?


Ours are in the run most of the time, they only free range when I'm around to supervise them as we do get foxes on our garden, so it's mostly weekends when they get to free range.

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sophie2198
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby sophie2198 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:48 am

fab! Yes we get foxes too although its mostly babies who venture out.

What size run would we be looking at then for 4 chooks? Well I want 2 chooks and 2 ducks but need to persuade dp first! :lol:

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happytails
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Re: Chicken basics

Postby happytails » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:53 am

Yeah we have 6 chooks and 2 ducks :) they've just come into lay (the ducks havent they are babies), and we are getting about 3 eggs a day ATM!

Will write more when I'm home as in asda car park :giggle:

Ace pets but have eaten all my grass! Lol

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