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Have you got chickens in your garden?


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#1 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:19 PM

I am considering having chickens in my garden to get some eggs .... has anyone else got them? Tips?

Cheers
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#2 gekko

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:39 PM

My folks have about 20 chickens so let me know if you have any questions and I can get some advice from them for you. The eggs taste amazing, like nothing I've ever tasted even from the ones we get from Abel & Cole. I've even had them posted down to me, they are that good although it's a pretty expensive way of getting tasty eggs!

My dad subscribes to Practical Poultry magazine, which I believe is very good. There are good forums and advice sites around the internet though as well.

Beware though, some chickens have an independent streak and do like to escape. I spent Christmas chasing a couple around trying to get them back into their pen and they are quite devious :D . My parents' neighbour even had one sitting on his dining table once - that chicken must have had a death wish!!

Oh, any they'll eat all your grass and then start on your plants. They have a particular fondness for Sweet Peas.

Edited by gekko, 12 February 2009 - 12:40 PM.

Mel, Forum Moderator

#3 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:43 PM

I used to have them when I was a kid (together with rabbits, vegetables etc etc) but clearly was my dad and mates looking after them rather than us kids .... now that I have a little garden I thought to go back to my roots and make good use of the "land" ...

two points:

1) where to get the hens - I ahve found dozens of places outside London (a couple in kent) but I do not want to be fooled by their nice websites so I would rather go for recommendations

2) where to get the Coup/run, as prices vary enormously and I do not want to buy one of the cheap ones cause they seem to collapse quite easily due to the materials used therefore, as per point 1 I would rather go for recommendations


Cheers
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#4 Sylvester

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 01:46 PM

1) where to get the hens - I ahve found dozens of places outside London (a couple in kent) but I do not want to be fooled by their nice websites so I would rather go for recommendations

My friend in nearby Kent has hundreds of them in the rescue centre at the back of her garden. I can ask if they can spare a few!
aka Pie

#5 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 01:59 PM

That sonds great, I am still "looking into this" but if there is availability then I can tick a box on the "to do list" .... as long as the hens are healthy and lay eggs than I am good ...
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#6 Willy

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 03:46 PM

this is something I also want to do but am a bit concerned about how much space they need for a nice life and the abundance of fox activity I seem to have going on in my garden, any tips most welcome

#7 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:20 PM

if you google it you will find LOADS of info:

Re foxes, the House/Runs are pretty much fox proof - apparently I ahve read that if the male of the household urinates in the garden it will repell foxes ... I have not tried that yet and if I get arrest you know what I was doing in the garden late at night ...

I am looking to get a house with run that can accomodate 6 hens but only get three hens inside so that they will double the space recommended, I have seen a product which is something like 10 ft long and would be sufficient for 3 hens.

You can only let them run freely in the garden daytime if you are around as there might be the chances that predators might spot them.

Also, they eat/destroy your garden plants so you will have to sort something out (I have seen a place that sells these foldeable/rolled nets that you can put around your borders so that the hense won't destroy your hard work.

With 3 hens you will get roughly 20 eggs a week (you might see me opening a stall at the Alma market!!!) which I think is MORE than enough for a small family + I am sure neighbours will appreciate little presents ....

You have to lock them in the house at night and open the house in the morning so that they can stay outdoor in the run or in the garden if you are around!

I am still gathering information

Shall we have a VN loves Chickens Social Club????
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#8 gekko

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:45 PM

A top tip re bedtime. Get a timer that opens and closes the door at dusk and dawn. Chickens are pretty clever and will put themselves to bed before the door closes. That way you don't need to worry if you are out.

Also, if anyone reading this thread currently keeps chickens and has eggs to sell on a regular basis, please send me a PM.
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#9 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:58 PM

If I am not around I would be very skeptical in leaving them runnign around as foxes could get into the garden ....

I have decided to go for the rescued ones and I might have found a decent (although bit pricey) house/run ...
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#10 gekko

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:16 PM

Yes, not such a problem for my parents as they only really get foxes at night but in London you see them quite often during the day too. The trouble is even if you are at home you can't watch them constantly and with the best will in the world you will lose the odd one to the foxes.
Mel, Forum Moderator

#11 Retired Member 1

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:35 PM

If you see me in a nice furry red coat then you'll know what I have done to the foxes.








Note *** this is intended to be a joke, I am not suggesting I am in favour of fur coats (I am against it) or in any way will harm an animal ***
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#12 Ziwa

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 11:12 AM

I would love to have chicklins in the garden, so I'm very interested in how your experiment turns out! I've spent ages reading about Eglus (the Masserati of chicken coops) and other alternatives.

I'd love to hear more - at the Shop meeting today or the VN social next week?

#13 anopheles

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 06:52 PM

I am about to get some (more) too. My last lot which I had housed in the famous Eglu (they have an excellent website called Omlet) were taken by the fox when I darted indoors to answer the phone and they were loose in the garden. I had misunderstood that my presence in the garden did not mean popping in and out. And we live on Fox Hill. They are lovely things, have cute personalities, make delicious noises, eat bugs and baddies and give you wonderful eggs. So the moral of my tale is to get a very safe house (and remember foxes can burrow in), preferably one where there is room for them to be without being too crowded (see The Domestic Wildfowl Trust website for ideas). They will see off any resident pets like dogs or cats, become very tame (will sit on your lap) and love nothing better than following you round while you garden. They greet each day with the exuberance of lottery winners and are always pleased to see you - though having cabbage leaves in your hand helps ! Don't delay, get some today. .

Anopheles

#14 Retired Member 1

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 08:35 AM

I will indeed
Waiting to finish sorting out the garden and then will get the coop and chicks ...... And a sword to fence off the to foxes
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#15 charlie

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 01:21 PM

They will see off any resident pets like dogs or cats, become very tame (will sit on your lap) and love nothing better than following you round while you garden. They greet each day with the exuberance of lottery winners and are always pleased to see you - though having cabbage leaves in your hand helps ! Don't delay, get some today. .
Anopheles


Hi Anopheles - You make a very compelling case for keeping chickens but I wondered what your experience is of rats. Doesn't the food you put down attract rats?