how many chicken can i keep in my garden

how many chicken can i keep in my garden

Considering of maintaining chickens in your again backyard?

Thinking of keeping chickens in you back garden?

Till just a few years again, there have been 5 ‘typical’ British household pets: canines, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters (in no explicit order). However there now appears to be a sixth on the listing: chickens. Conserving chickens is now a reasonably widespread apply in suburbia, and the common-or-garden hen is a daily inhabitant of the UK’s again gardens. The good thing about maintaining chickens is evident: not many different pets lay you an egg most mornings!

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Additionally they make pleasant pets: there’s one thing very endearing a few free-range hen racing throughout the backyard to greet you, with a stage of enthusiasm that solely a canine might equal. The clucking of contented hens additionally provides a brand new stage of homeliness to a again backyard.

Which henhouse is greatest for maintaining chickens?

The rising recognition of again backyard chicken-keeping has been fuelled by the rising vary of henhouses in the marketplace, specifically, the plastic ‘Eglus’, obtainable in a number of colors from Omlet. The compact designs match simply into even small-ish again gardens, want minimal upkeep, and are straightforward to scrub (that is necessary for maintaining the hens parasite-free). Costs begin from £235.

Typical back garden chicken coup (henhouse)

In the event you’re not a fan of brightly colored plastic, and need a extra conventional timber henhouse, the identical shopping for ideas apply as with all timber backyard constructing. Take a look at the standard of:

  • the timber – you need dense, sturdy, slow-grown softwood timber for further insulation and longevity (or if the funds permits, hardwood)
  • timber remedy – be sure that the timber is handled with a pet pleasant wooden preserver to boost its lifespan
  • the fittings – you need them to be strong and rustproof
  • the development – search for pressure-treated basis joists, a robust construct and a good-quality roof

You must also take note of air flow: chickens are weak to respiratory issues, and ammonia can construct up from their droppings.

How a lot area do I would like for maintaining chickens?

In keeping with (a fantastic supply of recommendation for would-be hen house owners), every rooster ought to have a minimal of 1 sq metre within the run, although 2 sq m per chicken is preferable. If area in your backyard is proscribed, it’s attainable to purchase high-rise runs, equivalent to Omlet’s Eglu Go Up coop, the place the run is beneath the henhouse.

Conserving chickens in a again backyard; do I would like permission?

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Within the UK, you don’t usually want permission until you need to preserve 50 or extra chickens (through which case, you want permission from Defra – the Division for Atmosphere, Meals and Rural Affairs). Nonetheless, it’s possible you’ll be topic to byelaws, lease circumstances or the deeds to your home stopping you from maintaining chickens, and there are guidelines that will apply to back-garden poultry keepers. Attention-grabbing, legal guidelines referring to livestock additionally apply to chickens, and there have been cases the place native councils have been concerned in circumstances with ‘nuisance’ hens (extra on that beneath).

Within the first occasion it is best to all the time additionally seek the advice of neighbours. Chickens may be noisy (eg when laying eggs, or when eager to be let loose of their henhouse on gentle early mornings); smelly, if their henhouse just isn’t cleaned weekly; and damaging to neighbouring gardens in the event that they repeatedly escape. In case you have neighbours who’re pleased with their immaculate backyard they are going to be removed from joyful in the event that they see escaped hens digging up their meticulously planted flower beds!

Chickens in the back garden

In case your hens do commonly escape will probably be your accountability to cease this from taking place, and you are able to do this fairly just by operating rooster wire or plastic trellis across the backside of your fence or hedge. In case your hens are in a position to fly over boundary fences then you’ll be able to clip their wings, maintaining them on terra firma. It truly is value doing each of these items as persistent injury to a neighbours gardenscan shortly flip even the most effective of relationships bitter. In an article on downside chickens David Fleming (head of the property litigation division at William Heath & Co.) outlined that below the Animals Act 1971 that individuals who preserve chickens in suburbia are chargeable for “injury brought on by trespassing ‘livestock’”. If issues flip nasty between neighbours motion may be taken by the use of the Council Environmental Well being Officer, and rooster house owners are chargeable for injury brought on by escaping chickens (in addition to prices incurred).

In the event you’re pondering of maintaining chickens in your individual again backyard then you really want to test together with your neighbours first, and likewise be sure that your hens can not escape. Lots of the different related issues may be minimised – for instance, there’s good recommendation on lowering noise on this PDF. The occasional present of freshly-laid eggs may preserve neighbours properly disposed in the direction of the hens.

What number of chickens ought to I purchase?

Chickens are gregarious birds and wish firm. Frequent recommendation is to purchase three – because of this if one dies (and, sadly, chickens are weak to a spread of issues, from respiratory issues to foxes), you aren’t left with a depressed, lonely hen. Additionally, should you intend to purchase younger chicks it’s greatest to take action in summer season; younger chicks can’t deal with chilly and may be killed if the temperature drops too low at evening (for example, if there’s an sudden frost late in spring).

Ought to I purchase a cockerel?

No! In case there’s any confusion about that, no! Until you reside in the midst of nowhere, don’t have any neighbours and intend to breed chickens, then there isn’t any want to purchase a cockerel. Hens are completely joyful with out a cockerel, and cockerels don’t lay eggs however they do eat simply as a lot feed (which can push your upkeep bills up).

Do you really want a cockerel in suburbia

In summer season, when days are longer, cockerels can crow from as early as three in morning they usually gained’t cease till midnight (and treble glazing and ear plugs aren’t sufficient to dam out the sound from some birds)! Conserving a cockerel in suburbia is the quickest strategy to lose buddies and alienate individuals (to not point out the specter of visits from the Council about noise air pollution and attainable authorized motion from sleepless neighbours).

The place can I purchase chickens?

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Boards and recommendation boards on websites equivalent to Omlet and ought to have particulars about the place you should buy hens regionally. Usually, search for birds with clear eyes; and an higher and decrease beak that meet within the center. Indicators of poor well being might embody plenty of muck on the feathers across the vent; or raised scales (eg protruding at 90 levels) on the legs and ft.

Will chickens break my backyard?

Greater than possible! Chickens do scratch up the bottom with their ft, which means they’ll shortly cut back the grass of their run to a mud bowl or bathroom (relying on the climate), they usually can depart droppings on paths, patios and decking areas if they’re allowed out of the pen.

In case your hens are free-range, one can find they’ve a selected affection for scratching round in window containers, posts, containers and newly-planted beds (they usually can simply dig up flowers you will have simply rigorously planted). Stones on the base of vegetation or in pots can assist to forestall this, nonetheless some hens will gleefully dig up slate and gravel paths in seek for worms (spreading stones in every single place).

Fresh free range chicken eggs

They could additionally lay waste to your vegetable patch (until you fence it off), so though you should have beautiful contemporary eggs to cook dinner with, your veg might not look as much as its regular commonplace. You’ll be able to examine which vegetation chickens eat, or will keep away from. In the end, should you don’t need your hens to make a multitude of your good tidy backyard they may should be penned in.

The place ought to I place the henhouse and run?

Chickens can overheat simply, so want the choice of shade. However in addition they appear to take pleasure in sunbathing, so a mixture of solar and shade is good. Some poultry maintaining web sites advise placing the run in opposition to a backyard wall, because it supplies the chickens with shelter and a way of safety. The bottom across the run needs to be even – each chickens and foxes are professional at discovering their approach beneath rooster wire.

Apart from that, it’s a query of backyard design and particular person choice – whether or not you favor to have the chickens someplace you’ll be able to see them out of the home windows or from a patio, or extra hidden away from sight.

Lovely fried free range chicken egg

No matter you resolve to do, in relation to maintaining chickens all the time test with neighbours first, and should you plan to permit your chickens to roam free-range, be sure that the boundary of your backyard is safe. You’ll be able to then sit again and benefit from the firm of a loving pet while tucking right into a scrumptious, contemporary, free-range egg!

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