how to look after chickens in your garden

how to look after chickens in your garden

Conserving chickens within the backyard ought to be no completely different to taking care of guinea pigs or rabbits. They may want housing, meals, care and a spotlight, which can contain spending each money and time, however you may discover the trouble and expense very rewarding.

What Sort Of Coop Do I Want?

No matter form or measurement, coops ought to present a protected haven from the climate and predators. They need to be robustly constructed to face up to sturdy winds and supply shelter for hens who might not have skilled rain earlier than. Nevertheless, the principle distinction between commercially accessible coops is whether or not or not they’ve an integral run enclosed by wire mesh.

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The starter hen coop is an effective instance of a coop that has an integral run. If sited on grass, you have to be bodily in a position to usually re-locate a coop with a run hooked up. If the hen home or coop doesn’t have a run it will possibly stay static however you’ll have to fence off an adjoining space to protect the hens from predation.

How A lot House Do Chickens Want?

Image of two chickens in a chicken coop

The scale of the coop depends on the variety of chickens you will have. The ground area inside a coop ought to be roughly 4sq ft per hen, however it’s all the time a good suggestion to purchase a coop bigger than your current must accommodate extra hens once you turn into extra skilled in retaining them and wish to broaden the flock.

What Options Ought to A Coop Have?

As hen coops are going to be exterior in all weathers, purchase one comprised of good high quality supplies resembling stress handled wooden. Be certain that the coop is weatherproof and the nesting field dry. Though draught free, there ought to be some air flow. Any mesh ought to be comprised of heavy obligation galvanized wire. There ought to be a ‘pop door’ for the hens to go out and in of the nest field and guarantee that the coop is simple to take care of with out having to be disassembled. All over the place ought to be inside attain once you clear and disinfect.

The place Do I Place My Hen Coop?

You wouldn’t have to place the coop on grass, however that is the most well-liked alternative. It should have to be relocated each one – three days earlier than the grass turns into completely worn out. Hens will scratch all of the grass and moss as much as uncover tasty bugs, so it’s unlikely that your garden will stay pristine for very lengthy. On laborious surfaces, litter resembling wooden shavings ought to be used to cowl the ground, these will take up droppings and can usually have to be modified relying on the depth.

What Gear Do I Want?

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A pair of gloves, a small shovel and wheelbarrow / container to move waste bedding materials to a compost heap, a tough brush, torch for when its darkish, meals and water dispensers, disinfectant for the feeders and coop.

What Do You Feed Chickens?

To maintain laying, your hens want be fed a superb high quality balanced weight loss program twice a day. In case your hens are ex-battery animals you have to to wean them off the mash they’ve been fed and onto Layers Crumble or Pellets, these include all of the vitamins they want. On common every hen will devour between 100g – 150g (3½oz – 5¼oz per day all year long).

A chicken

Additional treats within the type of blended corn (wheat and maze) are all the time appreciated particularly to fatten poultry up earlier than the winter and after moulting. Feeding scraps out of your kitchen is now banned by DEFRA.

Recent water have to be accessible always. Grit additionally must be offered to assist digestion and oyster shell items will guarantee your chickens have sufficient calcium to supply laborious egg shells. Apple cider vinegar has a variety of minerals and nutritional vitamins and ought to be diluted sometimes along with your hens’ water.

Do Chickens Eat Backyard Crops?

Sure, and a few are doubtlessly toxic resembling daffodils, foxgloves and sweat peas. Though chickens will eat weeds they may even love your vegetable plot, specific favourites are lettuce, spinach, kale, beetroot and tomatoes. They may devour any herbs that you’re rising, and lavender, sage, mint and different fragrant herbs added to their nesting materials will help preserve it smelling candy.

How Do I Defend My Chickens From Foxes?

To stop foxes accessing an exterior run by digging or climbing you want a fence that’s roughly 5ft – 6ft excessive and buried 8ins – 12ins into the earth. Solely good high quality wire mesh ought to be used, hen wire is insufficient if used by itself.

Electrical fencing is an alternative choice or an electrical wire operating alongside the underside of the fence to stop digging and better as much as discourage climbing. Each of those could be mains or photo voltaic powered.

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For coops with an integral run you possibly can repair a galvanized wire mesh skirt all the way in which spherical to discourage digging. All entry factors in a coop have to be fitted with a latch and the hens secured between nightfall and daybreak by shutting the pop gap.

These are all tried and trusted methods however there may be loads of info accessible on the right way to deter foxes foxes in your backyard, these embody all kinds of strategies starting from chemical repellents to lifelike ornaments.

How A lot Time Does It Take To Look After Chickens?

Caring on your hens doesn’t take lengthy every day, maybe fifteen minutes. Be certain that they’ve sufficient contemporary meals and water, gather any eggs, clear away any detritus and hassle shoot any issues. As soon as every week or fortnight totally clear and disinfect the coop.

An Egg with a feather

How Many Eggs Will My Chickens Lay?

Even rescue hens who’re not commercially viable will lay an egg every or each different day. It will lower as they become old and in the course of the winter when daylight is shorter.

What Illnesses Do Chickens Undergo From?

Lice, and three several types of mite – northern, scaly leg and crimson – can all be handled and prevented by good hygiene and common cleansing. Mycoplasma is a respiratory illness that can have an effect on the chickens’ immune system however is once more treatable. You’ll be very unfortunate to endure avian influenza, and this have to be reported to DEFRA.

What Laws Are There For Conserving Chickens In The Backyard?

There aren’t any legal guidelines stopping you retaining hens, offering they’re taken care of correctly and their welfare is taken significantly. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to test your property deeds or seek the advice of your landlord to verify there aren’t any covenants stopping the retaining of livestock. If in case you have a flock of over 50 birds, you need to notify DEFRA, they’ll additionally give you a wealth of data on retaining chickens within the backyard.

The place Can I Purchase Chickens?

Hybrid and pure bred hens could be bought from suppliers all through the nation however many individuals discover rescuing ex-factory farm hens from slaughter an interesting various. They’re docile, inoculated and nonetheless laying a number of eggs. Contact the British Hen Welfare Belief who’ve varied common assortment factors, there is a donation of £5 per hen.

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