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Have you got chickens in your garden?


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#16 Retired Member 1

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:02 PM

I have read widely about the topic and I understand that the problem stands when you leave the food on the floor and mainly outside the coop as that's what the rats can reach - however some chicken feeders are done in a way that rats cannot have easy access and you are safe®

I think
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#17 anopheles

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:54 PM

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?


Good question, but like the fox, they have to get into the chicken house/run and I cannot say I came across any evidence of their attentions. What I did find however, was that an enterprising squirrel on the make darted into the chicken run while they were happily rambling round the garden and made free with their food. I shut him in to see what would happen and he went beserk and thinking he might eat a large hole in the heavy enmeshed steel wire, let him out at once. Also sometimes when the chickens were shut inside their run, assorted wild birds - clearly consumed with curiosity - would perch on the run and peer in at the 'prisoners' below.
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#18 moc

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 09:55 AM

We are getting 3 chickens for the back garden this weekend I believe. Is my other half's pet project (pardon the pun). Their living quarters are due to arrive today or tomorrow. Have been watching Chicken Run dvd to make sure I am up to speed on chicken behaviour... I'm also interested to see how my cat will get on with them. Watch this space! In fact the most difficult part of the whole process is.. thinking of names for them! :D
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#19 moc

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:58 PM

3 beautiful chickens are now exploring the back garden as i write! they are a lot quieter than i expected and also a bit bigger. am enjoying watching them settle in. catdoesn't seem too interested in them. neighbours cat is entranced so will have to keep eyes peeled. they are 18 weeks so almost at point of lay and from then on we can expect an egg a day from each. the farm we got them from said they are docile and will love to be picked up and cuddled but at the moment their claws look massive :-)
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#20 syenite01

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:52 PM

Mrs Syenite and I just picked up a fine pair of ex battery hens. they are extremely interesting to watch and are pretty smart (and able to avoid some of my tactics to keep them out of the veggie patch). So far there is no sign of foxes although i know they are out there. We are employing one of the alternative methods for fox deterrant (it involves me 'marking my territory') and so far so good.

they are nice and quiet too which should help appease the neighbours (as should a few free eggs)

#21 moc

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 08:15 AM

Glad to hear you got some chickens too - be warned they can be quite addictive (my other half is getting 3 more next weekend!)

I love the gentle clucking sound they make as they busy themselves around the garden. I love how they follow me around. They all let me pick them up now. Cat is not in the slightest bit interested in them - yey! I named them Henrietta, Rosemary and Clara :lol: Haven't started laying yet - should be any day now!

Mr Fox has already come our way - initially we had an arc in the garden where they sleep at night, and then we let them out in the garden when we're there. We found it covered in fox-footprints the other day... so this weekend, we converted one of our sheds into a large coop for them, which in hindsight we wish we'd done initially - they have so much more space now, and chickens are thoroughly safe, secure (shed has a concrete fllor so nothing can burrow under it), and happy.

Late last night just before bed, glanced outside and who should be sitting ON TOP of the shed, but Mr Fox!! Unbelievable. I chased him away with the bbq thongs. And I am happy to say that I marked our territory too (having read Syenite's post last night). When the fox first came last week, we ordered a device called FOXWATCH, which should arrive today, which emits a sound pitched only at a frequency foxes can hear and is triggered by motion sensors, and this will keep the fox away, if the marketing is to be believed. If that fails, we will get some barbed wire for the garden wall at the back, which is where Mr Fox enters our garden, via a neighbours.
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#22 gekko

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:42 PM

I chased him away with the bbq thongs.


Gosh, your BBQs must be interesting moc :D .

On a more serious note, hope you manage to deter Mr. Fox. It really comes down to a battle of wits and it helps not to become too attached to individual chickens as sadly foxy will always get his way from time to time. Sounds like you are having a great time and sheds make great homes for chickens. My dad uses a shed for some of his. They house quite a few chickens and he built individual roosting boxes for them plus a chicken door. Mr. Fox hasn't managed to get into the shed so the only time they've lost any is on the rare occasion when he comes snooping during the day (they are free range in daylight and put themselves to bed before the light sensor shuts the door to their house at dusk).
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#23 moc

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:36 PM

Hi Mel, yeah I think I'm already attached to the two most friendly of our 3 chickens (Clara and Rosemary). When I saw the fox, I just grabbed the first things to hand, which happened to be the bbq thongs. Fox isnt on the menu for bbqs tho! I understand is a battle of wits, and am on guard all the time against Mr Fox - I wont leave the garden in the daytime if I've let them out, not even for a second. I'll try and put up a pic some time of the shed that's now the chicken coop - is quite unique with a massive tree growing up thru the middle of it! Just need a few nesting boxes for them now and we're complete. They're very easy to manage - to get them back into the coop, all I need do is shoo one in, and the rest will follow, hooting. Hilarious to watch!

The neighbours are all very interested in our chickens and chat to us a lot more now, which is nice (hmm maybe they are just fishing for some free range eggs) - one bought her boyfriend to come see them over the fence on Sunday, just as I happened to have Clara tucked under my arm for a cuddle - couldnt have timed it better!
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#24 Sylvester

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 05:02 PM

Gosh, your BBQs must be interesting moc :D .

Love it, ha ha!! :lol:
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#25 moc

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 03:19 PM

Had our first egg on Saturday - i was reading in the garden, sitting on the bench leaning against the wall, and one chicken practically jumped up int my lap, then it sat by my side, then crawled into the space between my back an the wall and started making a purring sound - I knew an egg was on the way, and sure enough 5 mins later, one popped out!! Then yesterday we had two more, one from the same chicken, and one from another - again, I knew they were laying as they were scratching and you could see their bottoms 'contracting', in and out, amazing to watch. And out popped 2 eggs. Then we introduced the 3 new hens and they're all getting on okay, but need to be supervised as the original ones tend to peck at the new ones - so they are sleeping separately for a week or so until they get used to each other. And then this morning we woke up to 3 eggs - 2 from the newbies, and one from one of the originals - our first half dozen! :D We get such a thrill when we open up the coops and see the eggs - dont think we will ever lose that :)

Edited by moc, 04 May 2009 - 03:20 PM.

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#26 gekko

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:07 AM

Congratulations Moc! How were the eggs?
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#27 moc

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:50 AM

They're actually quite small - teeny eggs - and havent tried them yet, as soon as we do, I will post as to their quality!
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#28 moc

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:19 PM

So we've had our chickens for a few months, and it's like they've always been there now. We've trained them well - they will do anything for a handful of corn or sunflower seeds. Getting on average 5 eggs a day - we use as many as we can, and have started swapping some with our neighbours/friends for things like veg plants - really enjoying that, our back garden has become al allotment! Mr Fox still sniffs around late at night and early in the morning (when they're locked up securely), but our Foxwatch device keeps him at bay.

Here are a few photos: http://www.photobox....album/138376793

Any other chicken owners in VN area? Would love to see some pics! :D
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#29 gekko

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:38 PM

Really great photos - love the one of your cat watching the chickens.

Let me know if you are selling any eggs!
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#30 Ziwa

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 04:39 PM

I'm beginning to see how Crystal Palace works - a bit of chicken farming in your bbq thongs in the morning, then off to the lunchtime cabaret at Los Torreros? ;) (see the current thread under restaurants for context, with Tapas and Drag)

Moc, I'm still having a chuckle about the BBQ thong...and wondering if that goes with the tongs or if its just Mankini Gardening Gear :P