Since moving to this house approximately six and a half years ago, we have dreamt of keeping chickens. Well what started as a tiny little
chick chink of a thought inside my head has now expanded and it looks like it will become a reality – and I am more than excited!!
There are so many things to consider before taking the plunge and I thought I’d share the decisions that we are having to make at the moment and the things to bear in mind, if you too are thinking about the very same thing.
It is perhaps worse for me being an ‘over-thinker’, maybe ‘normal’ people would think ‘hmm I think I will get chickens’ and then a week later are happily settling their feathered friends into their new home. That’s not how things work for me though … although sometimes it might not be a bad thing as I am pretty thorough with my research before buying ANYTHING.
So what is there to think about before buying chickens?
Well for starters you need to think about the size of your garden and what size you are able to allocate chickens. We are quite fortunate that our garden is a decent size so my dream is for a walk-in run (tall enough for us to tend to the chickens while they are in there) and then a separate coop with it’s own run that joins onto the larger walk-in run.
I have done my research and my personal opinion now is that I would prefer to get a plastic chicken coop as they seem to be so much easier to clean and are also less prone to getting infested with red mites, which are quite a common problem with chickens. I do appreciate that plastic can be considered as less eco-friendly than wood, however if the products last much longer, I believe this is the right decision for me.
The next thing to consider is a run for them. Ideally chickens could be left to wander free range and have the luxury of the whole garden. However because I have lively spaniels and am not sure how they will react, plus we frequently have foxes visiting, I’m thinking of a walk in run would be safer, perhaps about 3 metres by 3 metres with lots of interest inside to keep the chickens occupied. I want happy chickens and to be responsible for giving them the best life that they can have.
There are many accessories to also choose from; feeders and water containers, swings, ladders and so much more to look at too!
My next consideration is which chickens to buy and how many. I think, based on the size of the run we are looking at and the fact that this is a completely new concept for us, we should get maybe 3 or 4 chickens to start with. The ideal space per chicken is approximately 2 square metres. There are a vast variety of different breeds to consider too. We are looking at breeds that are quite hardy and suitable for beginners, perhaps Warrens or Sussex Chickens or maybe Orpingtons. Overall I think we should go for medium sized birds that will lay eggs yet still be friendly and sociable and enjoy an enriched life in our garden.
I’m really looking forward to this new chapter in our lives! Do you have chickens? If so please can you let me know anything else that we should consider and also would there be any particular breeds that you would recommend?