This guide has been created for you, with a basic introduction into keeping and caring for your chosen chickens and getting it right first time!
Choosing your chickens
There are many different types of breeds of chickens, so it is important that you choose the breed that is best suited to you!
If you are looking to keep chickens as pets in the garden, we would suggest that hybrid chickens would be best suited. They are easy to keep and are relatively docile, so therefore are good for families. They come in lots of different varieties and colours and are normally cheaper to buy than pure breeds. Hybrids can lay between 300-350 eggs per year.
If you are looking to keep chickens to breed, exhibit or want to keep a different type of bird than the hybrids, then you need to consider pure breeds. These can be a little feistier than the hybrid birds but they are still easy to keep. There are so many colours and varieties; you will definitely need to do your homework. Pure breeds lay approximately 280-315 eggs per year. They are also larger than hybrids and this will make an impact on what size chicken house you keep them in.
It is always best to discuss the chickens that you are buying with the person that is selling them as they will be able to give you further guidance.
Chickens will live on average for five years, so they are a long term responsibility and definitely not just for Christmas!
It is imperative to know how many chickens you are going to keep and which breeds as this has a direct impact on the type of chicken house that you buy. It is important also to have a budget in mind and be aware of the setting that you are going to put your chicken house in.
DEFRA (Dapartment for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) guidelines state that chickens should have at least 1-3sq foot of space per chicken in the house and at least 3sq foot of run space. But obviously the more space the chicken has to range the happier the chicken will be.
We offer two different ranges the Express range and the Deluxe range.
Both ranges have different styles and sizes.
The express range houses are made of fir wood (which is equivalent of our pine wood) and imported from China. They are delivered to you flat packed and are easily assembled.
The Deluxe range of housing are manufactured on our premises and made from a much harder wood and therefore is much more durable. They can be made to your specific requirements and have been designed to not only serve your chickens well but to look attractive in your garden. These chicken houses are a lot more robust and would probably be better suited for farm use rather than one from the express range.
General day to day upkeep
The chickens will be fed on layers pellets, which comes in sacks ranging from 5-25kg.
You can give your hen’s food scraps but these should be kept to a minimum and should be considered as treats.
It is imperative that your hens have a constant supply of fresh water as hens can drink a lot (even more than they eat!).
It is a good idea to put a few drops of liquid calcium in their water to keep their beaks and egg shells firm.
Things to look out for are: Bright eyes, a clear vent, clean nostrils and smooth legs.
If you do notice any of these things that aren’t how they should be then contact us for advice or your local vet.
Red mites can be a big problem for hens, especially in the summer. Prevention is better than cure, so we would suggest that you purchase some red mite powder or liquid and treat your chickens regularly.
- A chicken house & run
- Drinker & feeder
We wish you the best of luck with your chicken keeping; it can be very rewarding and fun!
If there is anything further that you need to know or help choosing your products please give us a call on 01635 34920 and we will be delighted to help.