Have room for two hens

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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ladykathryn
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Have room for two hens

Post: # 53904Post ladykathryn
Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:13 pm

What type would anyone suggest. Would love to have them for the eggs, and not to eat them. Don't want a cockrel they are too noisy and the neighbours would complain I'm afraid.

What about housing, something simple pratical and inexpensive would be brilliant.

I have a garden that is enclosed and I would like to give them room of thier own to wander a little.

I was a veterinary nurse in my previous life, but know very little about raising chickens. I do know that you can buy them ready to lay rather than as tiny chicks.

Helpful suggestions would be brilliant. Am checking my land deeds now to see if there are problems related to keeping "pet" chickens. Of course they will be pets...is there any other kind? :lol:
Gardens are like people, they need love, warmth, food and care, and always are their best when shared with others!

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Post: # 53918Post Shirley
Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:35 pm

We've got light sussex - buff sussex - silver sussex - and a silver dorking cockerel!

They've been absolutely great - they didn't lay much over the winter though but are laying one a day now.

Housing doesn't need to be expensive - you can buy ready made or knock something together easily enough.

If you are looking to buy point of lay chickens (pullets are females) then you will pay more for them, but you will reap the rewards of yummy fresh eggs all the sooner.
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flower
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Post: # 53920Post flower
Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:46 pm

try here......
www.omlet.co.uk

whether or not you decide to go for an eglu (about £250 second hand but well worth it) the site has a lot of information on 'backyard chicken keeping'

I have five hens, two medium sized hybrids and three little bantams.

Hybrids are tough. they never go broody, they tend not to go far from home and they'll lay you an egg six days out of seven (or five a week in winter)
they do however pay a terrible price for their productivity, they die young at about three years old.

purebreeds vary in the amount of eggs they give....but it's less than a hybrid.
they vary in all other respects too....and that is the beauty of them.
the site above gives details of a whole range of birds.

knowing what I do now, I will never again buy a hybrid chicken.
another option would be to give a home to some rescued battery hens. there should be a link from the omlet site...but if not, say and I'll find it for you.
you'll not regret pet chickens,
blimmin things are completely addictive :lol:

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Post: # 53951Post techno_bob
Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:04 am

We keep Light Sussex. A really hardy pure bred, and they are brilliant. Not many eggs during the winter, but loads during the summer... we hatch our own, and eat quite a lot of top quality chicken.

I am thinking of get some Rhode Island Reds, but if I had to choose one breed then the Light Sussex would win every time... and they talk to you as well :lol:
"The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves" - Sophocles

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Thomzo
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Post: # 53954Post Thomzo
Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:53 am

Hi
I recently gave a home to 6 "ex-bats". Here is the link to their site:

http://www.thehenshouse.co.uk/

So far I have got an average of 4 eggs per day from them which I gather is quite good for this time of year.

Apparently, I was really lucky as my hens were all in very good condition for ex-battery girls. Their claws needed clipping but they had most of their feathers and were laying the very next day.

They are officially "free" but they do ask for a donation to their charity. I don't know how the cost works out compared to buying point of lay, but I felt good helping a charity out.

I am delighted with my new family and am really glad I got them. The only problem is that they can't lay fast enough to satisfy demand from friends, colleagues and family.

Cheers
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ladykathryn
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Save The Chickens!!

Post: # 53958Post ladykathryn
Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:06 am

Super stuff everyone!! I am now checking out how to save poor wee chickens and give them a better life. Cheap cheap cheap housing is good as well. I love animals and can't stand to see any of them have a life that is not filled with love and sunshine. It's just horrible to think of.

My grandmother used to have reds in her house...yes I mean IN HER HOUSE, they would come and go through her kitchen door sometimes you would find an egg or two in the spare room on the bed.

My mum thought it was messy and unhealthy, but I woke one morning to find Mrs. Tingle sleeping at the foot of my bed the cat was on the floor looking very miffed!! I have a pretty good idea what happened during the night :lol:

Nothing like breakfast in bed eh??
Gardens are like people, they need love, warmth, food and care, and always are their best when shared with others!

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Post: # 53962Post Karen_D
Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:27 am

Go for it, but it is addictive. We had four friesian fowl last year who are cheeky and lovely but every time my other half gets the new poultry mag he goes "Those are nice, I wouldn't mind some of those"!

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Post: # 53978Post Millymollymandy
Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:54 am

I have a hybrid who went broody 3 times in her first year of laying! She hasn't gone broody since though.

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Post: # 54072Post CrazyParrot
Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:34 pm

chicken keeping is great fun, and not too hard! but be warned - they can wreck a good garden in days!
for the housing, you can get good quality hen huts over the internet. an eglu is a great thing for just two chickens, although quite expensive. have a look at www.omlet.co.uk for more details. for bedding, straw is best as it's comfy, cheap and easy to clean out. cardboard chips are also good, but be careful about using sawdust as some has been sprayed with chemicals that are not good for hens.

feeding is also straight forward - have good quality 16% protien layers pellets (available from most livestock and country stores) available to the chickens all of the time. they wont need anything else, but a handful of mixed corn in the evening is enjoyed by most. keep it in a tin and shake it before you feed them - they will soon learn the sound and come running. this is a great help for catching them to put them in their run if you go out. have clean water available at all times, and leave a small pot of poultry grit (you can buy it mixed up to the right quantities of oyster shell ect. which is easier than mixing your own if you havent kept chickens before) out at all times, although you should take it away if they start eating too much (offer it every week instead).

apart from that, there isnt much else to say. just remember to shut them in at night and shut them in a run if you go out for more than a few hours.

its best to get hens about 20 weeks old. they are easy to look after, should start laying soon and are not too expensive (depending on breed) - £7 is the usual price for a good hybrid.
enjoy your new hens!

fenwoman

Post: # 55137Post fenwoman
Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:17 pm

Before you go out and get chickens I strongly advise you to buy yourself a book entitled 'starting with chickens' by Katie Thear. It will explain things like worming, delousing, redmite in housing etc. Keeping chickens involves a bit more than chucking a handful of food at them once a day. Sadly too many people think this is all they need to do and the fowl suffer as a result.
Do not get 2 birds, get 3. 3 is the minimum you need because if one dies or goes broody, you haven't got a single bird left alone. Also, try to get them from the same place to avoid pecking and bullying.
I dislike straw in houses and use only shavings. It is easy to clean out, absorbs wet better than straw, doesn't harbour mites and will compost well.A compressed pack sold as hamster bedding is fine for the amount you have. Also hens make noise. When they lay an egg they make as much noise as a cockerel does.
I breed and show poultry and am poultry crazy and it bothers me to see the sort of minimum standards some are keopt in. People will do some research about dog breeds and source their pup carefully, they do the same with other types of pet but for chickens they don't bother :cry:

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ladykathryn
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Thanks for the advise :-)

Post: # 55229Post ladykathryn
Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:35 am

I will look for this book. I spend 8 years as a veterinary nurse in the USA often working with large farm animals and birds such as chickens etc. But a book is always a good reminder and excellent reference if you get stuck. Besides medicines are called different names here in the UK so that part has been admittedly a bit of a struggle. Thanks for the suggestion. I am still checking this out slowly, want to make sure I'm doing the right thing for them and for me.

I do love chickens, pigs and cows. Pigs are brilliant!
Gardens are like people, they need love, warmth, food and care, and always are their best when shared with others!

fenwoman

Post: # 55236Post fenwoman
Wed Apr 25, 2007 11:01 am

if you need any help or advice I will be more than happy to help if I can. The easiest way to find out about medicines over here is not to use the brand name. Do a google search of the generic name and often it gives you all the alternatives. I know that what we call 'stronghold' over here is called 'revolution abroad. Exactly the same brilliant drop on flea treatment (which also does ticks, lice, mange, earmites and roundworms) but a different name.

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ladykathryn
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Thanks much Fen!

Post: # 55316Post ladykathryn
Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:35 am

Thanks so much Fen...If I have any more questions I will certainly ask animals are too precious to make silly avoidable mistakes when it comes to their welfare. I do like the idea of adopting battery hens. Do you see any issues related to this? I have a web site that looks good, but I do wonder about their history and trauma and what this might have done to their ability to behave like normal hens.

Cheers! :cheers:
Gardens are like people, they need love, warmth, food and care, and always are their best when shared with others!

fenwoman

Re: Thanks much Fen!

Post: # 55319Post fenwoman
Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:47 am

ladykathryn wrote:Thanks so much Fen...If I have any more questions I will certainly ask animals are too precious to make silly avoidable mistakes when it comes to their welfare. I do like the idea of adopting battery hens. Do you see any issues related to this? I have a web site that looks good, but I do wonder about their history and trauma and what this might have done to their ability to behave like normal hens.

Cheers! :cheers:
Whatever they have been through they soon learn to behave like normal hens. When you get them you have to give them some time. They have not been used to space nor outdoors, nor ever felt the sun or wind on their featehrs (if they have any). However, within 6 months you will not notice anything different about them. Even if they did have 'issues' it isn't like a rescue dog which potentially can bite, soil the house or cause damage. They are only chickens after all lol.
Any animal, no matter whether an abused dog, starved cat, beaten horse, soon adapts and responds to good food and kindness.

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Post: # 55328Post Thomzo
Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:40 am

Hi
My ex-bats were very nervous when I first got them. They huddled in the corner of the hen house and didn't like being picked up.

The only real problem apart from that was their claws which were very long and curled. I was lucky with mine that they had most of their feathers.

They have really blossomed now and are very friendly. They follow me about the garden and get under my feet all the time. They peck my shoes, keep the cats under control and constantly bug me for food. In fact they are turning into right little cocky whatsits.

As for the important bit well, I can't fault their egg production. I got two eggs on their first day with me and have had an average of four a day since (from 6 hens).

I'd recommend them. :cheers:

Zoe
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