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Keeping Chickens


Citizen1546081298
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Hi there, my partner and I keep chickens, and we just wanted to offer advice and information to anyone on here who keeps Chickens.

We should state it's just Hens, not Roosters, that we might be able to help with.

Also if anyone wanted to look externally for advice, we would suggest Omlet

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This is brilliant! The people next door have some and my dad is getting some so knowing how to look after them would be great! Thanks! +1 :huh:

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This is brilliant! The people next door have some and my dad is getting some so knowing how to look after them would be great! Thanks! +1 :huh:

sure, well any time you have any questions, feel free to ask either on here or through PM.

They are so easy to look after and such hardy little birds. Is he buying some from Omlet or independantly? The great thing about omlet, is that the Runs and Eglu's (Roosts) are Fox and Rat Proof, and are good for 2-4 chickens, then there are the Eglu Cubes which are good for up to 10 Chickens.

It's wise not to mix bantams and normal sized chickens, as Bantams tend to get bullied, also if he's after eggs, Bantams aren't very good layers and tend to go broody.

Chickens can survive in temperatures from -20 to +50 they are found in frozen places and in deserts, so long as they can free-range, even if their owner dies, they will continue to forage and look after themselves.

So long as they are cleaned out once a week, and their food and water topped up regularly (every 3 to 4 days), with some good quality layers pellets and grit (Omlet can supply that too) You'll have some very happy healthy chickens.

The first thing you'll notice is how HARD the egg shells are compared to shop bought ones, as well as how much nicer and creamier the egg yolks are.

I'd never imagined keeping chickens, until a moved in with my partner who had 2, and now we have 4. They're so cute, adorable, and funny, and remarkably cuddly. If they're looked after right, they can live up to 5 years, some a little more, others a little less dependant on breed.

Important things to look out for are Bloody Eggs, Sour Crop, Scaley Leg, and being Egg Bound (Eggstapated) all are quite easy to fix if noticed quickly and dealt with correctly.

Bloody Eggs are normal, but our first chicken "Scramble" tried to pass an egg that was FAR too large and tore herself, we cleaned her up, and nursed her for a week, got her on anti-biotics, and drip fed her by hand, we brought her inside in the warm and made sure she got plenty of rest. Chickens hide their illnesses VERY well due to their pecking order being so fickle, so it can be hard to spot, unfortunately in the end we decided to have her put to sleep as she wasn't getting better and towards the end couldn't even stand. It was awful.

Sour Crops you can tell because their breath will stink, and their crop will be hard, thankfully ours haven't had this (touch wood) but it is relatively simple to solve I believe, but I would have to look it up to remind myself.

Scaley Leg you can get creams and stuff, you will notice because their legs are normally quite smooth, but they will start to go rough and raw looking. Again, thankfully our girls haven't suffered with this.

Egg Bound is simply an egg being stuck, you may have to massage it out or take them to a vet, again thankfully not had to deal with this.

Hope this helps as a starter.

Treats: Sweeetcorn, corn, corn on the cob, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apple. to name but a few, they go MENTAL for these things.

However, don't give them treats early in the day or too much of the fruit, as the fruits acidity can give them diarrhoea, and if given too early will put them off their layers pellets and will reduce the quality of their eggs. They are exactly that, treats. :)

They're so much fun to watch scrate around, and seeing running full pelt mouth open chasing a fly is the funniest thing you'll ever see.

In the Picture are our 4. The Black one is Poach, (the Eldest she was our first, with Scramble)(2 years old), The White one is Miss Pennyapple(1 Year old), The larger brown one is Pecan(1 Year old), and the Bantam with the fluffy Feet is Angua(1 Year old).

You can see purple on Pecan's bum, this is Gentian Violet spray, it's an anti-bacterial stain to cover up blood. You can see she doesn't have many tail feather, this is because she came to have her Winter moult, and Pennyapple and Poach ganged up on her to put her down the pecking order. So we cleaned her up, sprayed her with the purple to a) disinfect the wound, and b) change the colour from Red to Purple, (chickens LOVE to peck Red) and if they get the taste for it, can ultimately end up turning cannibal. Also we use anti-pecking spray. so hopefully in 6-8 weeks, she'll get her feather's back. On the whole pecking is fine, they constantly reinforce the pecking order, but when blood is drawn you MUST intervene.

Also in the picture they are dust bathing, which it itself is quite amusing, and when they're really happy, you'll hear them "purr" it's really sweet. And there's nothing nicer than opening the back door and having 4 excited chickens sprint over to you from the other side of the garden.

Hope this helps as a quick start. All the best. :(

NOTE: OPEN IMAGINE IN NEW TAB/WINDOW, ITS TOO HUGE FOR A SINGLE LEFT CLICK SORRY FORGOT TO RE-SIZE.

post-23820-0-62383100-1307268485_thumb.jpg

Edited by Citizen
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Chickens can survive in temperatures from -20 to +50 they are found in frozen places

Such as my supermarket, yum yum.
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Such as my supermarket, yum yum.

lol yes 180* for 20 mins per lb works well :) When they've got it on them I have threatened them with a salad a few times. :)

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Chickens are also cannibals, they absolutely love to rip any remaining meat off a chicken carcass after Sunday dinner if you chuck it in their coup. There isn't much I have found that my chickens won't eat. I don't feed them potato peelings (only green peelings are supposed to be bad for them but I don't chance it)

Carrot peelings, sprout peelings, apples, bananas, stale bread (not much bread though, just as a treat)

Basically, if you can eat it then it's OK for the chickens as far as I understand. If they don't like it then they won't eat it!

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mine like tinned sweetcorn...rip your arm off for it.

I always think, that they being descended from dinosaurs, are looking at me and licking there lips saying, "If I where a few feet higher matey you'd be toast"

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lol they're pretty good with most things, and yes if they don't like it, they won't go near it. We put a yoghurt pot in there to stop them getting bored... they pecked it twice and never used it again lol

They are fascinating animals, and I was really surprised to see their own individual personalities shine through as I got to know them.

But for example, Rhubarb is supposed to be toxic for them, but before we could stop them once they'd downed a whole plant of it, and they were all fine. :S

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What an informative post! Me and my partner are seriously thinking about getting a couple of chickens when we have our own place in a few months! +1 for you!!! :)

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What an informative post! Me and my partner are seriously thinking about getting a couple of chickens when we have our own place in a few months! +1 for you!!! :p

ah, thank you, that's much appreciated, if you have any further quesitons, by all means feel free to PM me or put them in here for everyone to see, and I'll answer as best as I can, and if I can't, I should be able to find you somewhere that CAN. :vom:

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You're welcome - i'll let you know when we move! I would want to keep them 'semi' free range if possible, so not penned in but equally I don't want them having free reign of the garden!! I suppose I could buy the 'Eglu' and make a bit of mesh fencing myself! :D

Out of interest do they make a lot of noise? What about the smell? :whistle:

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What about the smell? :unsure:

They'll get used to it.

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You're welcome - i'll let you know when we move! I would want to keep them 'semi' free range if possible, so not penned in but equally I don't want them having free reign of the garden!! I suppose I could buy the 'Eglu' and make a bit of mesh fencing myself! :aok:

Out of interest do they make a lot of noise? What about the smell? :aok:

The Eglu is really good it's fox and rat proof, and keeps 2-4 Chickens, the standard run is good, but if you add the 1 Meter extension it helps alot, we did and it gives them a good deal more space to scratch around. you could always put the Eglu inside a walk in run (WIR) The smell isn't that bad, or at least we don't notice it. It's only when you clean them out, but we bury it in our vegetable beds as fertilizer. :)

As for the noise, I'm not going to lie, they can be a little noisy sometimes, however, I've spoken to our neighbours and they haven't heard or noticed it. Now either they're just being polite, or it genuinly doesn't bother them. And on the whole they aren't that bad, but occasionally on one day they may just "have it on them" they'll have full fresh food, full clean water, fresh bedding and a clean roost, yet still they'll be grumbly, I make no bones about it they are NOTHING like a rooster, but it is important to understand the difference between what we call "grumbly" and "Alarm Call" and you will KNOW the difference once you hear the Alarm call, they have 2, one for an Air Threat, and one for a Ground Threat.

Our neighbours have cats, and their white tabby would not care less about our chickens, it sits and watches them, or treats them with ignorance and look away, its more interested in sitting on the fence watching the playground nearby or sunning itself on the floor. But if the chickens (Pennyapple in particular) see it, they (more likely she) will go MENTAL bwark-ing away. Now today I picked her up and held her and talked to her whilst showing her the (very disinterested) Cat. so hopefully they'll learn that cats are actually more afraid of them, than they are of it.

So yes, smell isn't really an issue but they do poo EVERYWHERE, you can't train them to do it in a neat corner, and they WILL eat ANY vegetation you allow them access too, do not be fooled they will nom the lot and at great speed! But as for noise 90% of the time they are VERY good, but every now and again they will be a bit louder, but not usually an issue. So long as you don't have a Rooster no-one will mind. :)

Hope this is of some use, I don't want to make them sound noisy because they aren't but I want to be honest and forthright because they're not silent either.

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Just thought I'd show you a picture of my chickens enjoying some popcorn (unsalted) that we didn't eat at the cinema and they are going completely nuts over! :confused:

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Lots of things to notice in this picture for anyone considering keeping chickens.

You will notice that the area inside their perimeter fence is completely devoid of any grass at all. That area was lawn that long ago and the chickens have completely destroyed it and dug holes everywhere including under the fence which is why there are bits of wood plugging the gaps created by their attempts at tunnelling into next doors garden to destroy and eat all forms of vegetation there too.

We didn't use to have that perimeter fence, we too thought that free range was the way to go and let them roam free. We learned our mistake very quickly, chickens are the most destructive creatures I have ever known, and will eat virtually all forms of plant (even if they don't like it and spit it out again! :confused:

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Just thought I'd show you a picture of my chickens enjoying some popcorn (unsalted) that we didn't eat at the cinema and they are going completely nuts over! :)

Lots of things to notice in this picture for anyone considering keeping chickens.

You will notice that the area inside their perimeter fence is completely devoid of any grass at all. That area was lawn that long ago and the chickens have completely destroyed it and dug holes everywhere including under the fence which is why there are bits of wood plugging the gaps created by their attempts at tunnelling into next doors garden to destroy and eat all forms of vegetation there too.

We didn't use to have that perimeter fence, we too thought that free range was the way to go and let them roam free. We learned our mistake very quickly, chickens are the most destructive creatures I have ever known, and will eat virtually all forms of plant (even if they don't like it and spit it out again! :D

What a lovely run. :ermm: Yes they are a whirlwind of destruction, we used to have lawn (for about 2 weeks after moving in lol) they gobbled the lot, and as you say, the stuff they didn't like the still pulled it out and spat it out. hehe It is also worth pointing out to those looking to keep chickens, that you don't have to have grass, even if you have gravel and concrete they sill scratch through the gravel, and so long as you put bark chippings down on the gravel especially in the run, they will happily peck and scratch around in that. We put off getting chickens because our old house didn't have any grass. Although funnily enough, our new house doesn't any more ;)

How long have you had chickens Rocket? and how many have you got? :ermm:

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