A Basic Introduction to Keeping Chickens
Why keep chickens?
Chickens are curious and intelligent creatures. We love our feathered friends and encourage everyone with a garden, or allotment to keep their own small flock for fun and for the eggs! Chickens are very easy to look after and don’t necessarily demand much of your time or money.
Can I keep chickens?
Before you shell out on a fancy coop, there are some important things to consider. You will need to:
- Check your tenancy agreement or house deeds, to establish whether you are forbidden from keeping poultry on your property
- Consult your local council, to establish whether there are any laws which may prevent you from keeping poultry on your property
What do Chickens need?
Whether you intend to keep chickens as pets, for their eggs or for the table, as a flock owner you’ll need to ensure that your birds are healthy and happy. To do this you will need to provide them with:
- Spacious and secure housing
- A spacious and secure outdoor enclosure
- Rounded perches and suitable nest boxes
- Quality feed and mixed grit
- Plenty of clean, fresh water
- A dust bath
- A basic chicken first aid kit; including mite and lice treatments, a wormer and blue anti-septic spray
You will also need sufficient time to care for your hens. You will need the time to:
- Let them out in the morning
- Lock them into their coop in the evening
- Clean the coop on a weekly basis
- Perform regular health checks
Which Chickens are right for me?
There are many different breeds of chicken and each have different purposes. To make the most of your flock, you’ll need to decide what you wish to get from your chickens before you seek a poultry breeder. Chickens can be kept for eggs, meat, to show or as pets. Some breeds do all of these things!
The Chicken Checklist
This is a basic list of what you will need to produce, or purchase, before buying your chickens.
- A spacious, secure Chicken Coop with rounded perches and suitable nest boxes
- A spacious, predator proof run
- A poultry feeder and drinker
- Quality feed
- Mixed grit
- A dustbath
- Coop cleaner
- Suitable bedding (such as shavings)
- First aid kit; including lice and mite treatments, wormer, blue anti-septic spray and cider vinegar