Chook chat

Steve Ducks

Banned
@Zoe220615 I am probably more knowledgeable on ducks chickens and bunnies than parrots - even though my time with parrots is LOADS more.... So if anyone wants to get some basic tips - poke me here - ducks and chickens make great pets but have issues apart from our parrtot friends.
 

Zoe220615

Regular Member
I guess as you started this you could give me some more info on the cost of it all an what setup i would need to get me started. Complete beginner an dont no much
 

Steve Ducks

Banned
Ok well assuming you would want no more than 3 chickens i’d say my set up - meanwhile i made you a personal video.


You can see my set up on the videos but I will try to find you the link and give you an assay of running costs
 

Steve Ducks

Banned
This is almost identical to the coop I bought. http://thechickencoopco.co.uk/chicken-coops/hillside-extra-large-7ft-chicken-coop.html?___SID=UIt is quite small but perfect for 3 hens. Very easy to build - I like to paint mine. I have 6 in mine right now which makes it quite cramped. But its not the roosting space thats important - its the run space. Hens roost and huddle at night but they need space to run about during the day within a secure run . Mine get full garden access during daylight hours but thats cos I’m retired and I can do it. - So I can get away with a tiny run.

So think of £250 for a cheap set up. This must be mounted on a patio or foxes will dig under. So add some paving slabs if thats not feasible.. add money if a larger run is needed. Then comes the food - they need corn and layer pellets - best bought in bulk from farm / tack stores. It is getting much more expensive due to recent demand but its still pretty much negligable as a cost (compared to parrot care).

Not much vet costs. Monthly worming necessary (switch to verm food for a week)
 

Steve Ducks

Banned
The rest of the costs are low. A bit of straw and hay - some dia earth for their dust baths. These amazing animals will bring you joy. Give you amazing eggs and thank you for it. You will never waste food again - they eat virtually everything! I only wish i could keep a rooster but i dont think the neighbours would thank me.
 

Zoe220615

Regular Member
The rest of the costs are low. A bit of straw and hay - some dia earth for their dust baths. These amazing animals will bring you joy. Give you amazing eggs and thank you for it. You will never waste food again - they eat virtually everything! I only wish i could keep a rooster but i dont think the neighbours would thank me.
Thankyou ill have a look at it now we would only have two so would likely be perfect.
 

CaptainHowdy

Regular Member
Thankyou ill have a look at it now we would only have two so would likely be perfect.
You would need 3 minimum. Keeping 2 can cause problems especially if one dies and you end up with one hen. You will always get one dominant hen and if you don't have a cockeral keeping them in check the dominant hen will take over that role (they can also start to crow if you only keep hens!), if you end up with a bit of a bully hen and she only has one other pal the second hen wont have a very good time of it.

I wioudnt bother buying one of those coops, they arent big enough for the birds, you can get away with bantams in them as long as you build a proper run but not the bigger chickens. The mesh they use will also not keep a fox out so you need to add your own mesh. The wood itself is also quite flimsy.

If you specifically want a classic looking coop then you're better off building your own or having one custom built. Personally I prefer sheds, I have known people use children's play houses aswell. Being able to stand up in the coop is surprisingly useful especially when cleaning out as it doesn't kill your back! 🤣

I dont advise free ranging them in your garden unless it is completely fox proof and cat proof and you have netted over the top of it. Foxes will take birds with you stood right there! And once they know you have them they will come back.

You are much better off spending more money and doing it correctly once, then doing it cheaper and having your hens taken.

Keep the sleeping area on concrete even if its raised up. Then ideally you want to dig down for the run and use 1/4 by 1/4 inch mesh for a layer, cement over the top of it. You then want a section for dust bathing. Make sure you double mesh it and don't use 'chicken wire', that won't keep a fox out. You want the mesh you use for bird aviaries. If you can get metal panels rather than wood go for it, as it will be stronger and you just need to add the outer layer of mesh, again 1/4 by 1/4 to stop rodents. Whilst chickens will kill and eat them during the day, the rodents will injure and kill the chickens at night, plus they bring in disease and if they have eaten poison your chickens will also end up eating it.

Cover the roof with corrugated plastic to keep them dry and stop wild bird droppings. Chickens are smart but also stupid and will sit there getting soaked instead of taking 2 steps to get out the rain 🤣

You want to give them a good layers pellet but also add in oyster shell grit. The layers should have everything they need but some need more calcium then they get from the pellet. They also need the grit to help grind up their food. You can also buy layers mash and mix it with hot water to make a 'porridge' for them. Especially during winter, mine go mad for it 🤣🤣

Be mindful about feeding them scraps as you aren't supposed to feed them anything from your kitchen unless you are vegan and don't keep meat in your house. One of those DEFRA rules and some chicken keepers can get very funny with you about it. Also no dried mealworms unless you know 100% they are from the UK. Other countries feed the mealworms on unsavory things and you don't want them eating it!

You want to mix poultry spice in with their food and for their water alternate between apple cider vinegar, garlic and respite. Giving them plain water for a break. Keep poultry drops (now called power drops) on hand in case one needs a pick me up.
Also diatom powder in their coop and their dust bath. Make sure to use it on their perches to help prevent mites. Diatom powder can also be mixed in with their food.

For wormer use pellets with flubenvet, you just replace their normal feed with it for 7 days. Some say every 3 months others say every 6. But as long as you're keeping a eye on them you will figure out which works for you.

Make sure you check for mites and lice aswell and treat accordingly but the diatom helps.

Find a good vet! Whilst chickens are becoming more popular as pets you still want to find an experienced vet and like parrots its not cheap when they need one!

If you've never kept chickens before I would not advise you get ex battery hens. They can come with lots of problems and they can take a long time to bring them right, for an inexperienced keeper it can be very daunting!
 

Zoe220615

Regular Member
You would need 3 minimum. Keeping 2 can cause problems especially if one dies and you end up with one hen. You will always get one dominant hen and if you don't have a cockeral keeping them in check the dominant hen will take over that role (they can also start to crow if you only keep hens!), if you end up with a bit of a bully hen and she only has one other pal the second hen wont have a very good time of it.

I wioudnt bother buying one of those coops, they arent big enough for the birds, you can get away with bantams in them as long as you build a proper run but not the bigger chickens. The mesh they use will also not keep a fox out so you need to add your own mesh. The wood itself is also quite flimsy.

If you specifically want a classic looking coop then you're better off building your own or having one custom built. Personally I prefer sheds, I have known people use children's play houses aswell. Being able to stand up in the coop is surprisingly useful especially when cleaning out as it doesn't kill your back! 🤣

I dont advise free ranging them in your garden unless it is completely fox proof and cat proof and you have netted over the top of it. Foxes will take birds with you stood right there! And once they know you have them they will come back.

You are much better off spending more money and doing it correctly once, then doing it cheaper and having your hens taken.

Keep the sleeping area on concrete even if its raised up. Then ideally you want to dig down for the run and use 1/4 by 1/4 inch mesh for a layer, cement over the top of it. You then want a section for dust bathing. Make sure you double mesh it and don't use 'chicken wire', that won't keep a fox out. You want the mesh you use for bird aviaries. If you can get metal panels rather than wood go for it, as it will be stronger and you just need to add the outer layer of mesh, again 1/4 by 1/4 to stop rodents. Whilst chickens will kill and eat them during the day, the rodents will injure and kill the chickens at night, plus they bring in disease and if they have eaten poison your chickens will also end up eating it.

Cover the roof with corrugated plastic to keep them dry and stop wild bird droppings. Chickens are smart but also stupid and will sit there getting soaked instead of taking 2 steps to get out the rain 🤣

You want to give them a good layers pellet but also add in oyster shell grit. The layers should have everything they need but some need more calcium then they get from the pellet. They also need the grit to help grind up their food. You can also buy layers mash and mix it with hot water to make a 'porridge' for them. Especially during winter, mine go mad for it 🤣🤣

Be mindful about feeding them scraps as you aren't supposed to feed them anything from your kitchen unless you are vegan and don't keep meat in your house. One of those DEFRA rules and some chicken keepers can get very funny with you about it. Also no dried mealworms unless you know 100% they are from the UK. Other countries feed the mealworms on unsavory things and you don't want them eating it!

You want to mix poultry spice in with their food and for their water alternate between apple cider vinegar, garlic and respite. Giving them plain water for a break. Keep poultry drops (now called power drops) on hand in case one needs a pick me up.
Also diatom powder in their coop and their dust bath. Make sure to use it on their perches to help prevent mites. Diatom powder can also be mixed in with their food.

For wormer use pellets with flubenvet, you just replace their normal feed with it for 7 days. Some say every 3 months others say every 6. But as long as you're keeping a eye on them you will figure out which works for you.

Make sure you check for mites and lice aswell and treat accordingly but the diatom helps.

Find a good vet! Whilst chickens are becoming more popular as pets you still want to find an experienced vet and like parrots its not cheap when they need one!

If you've never kept chickens before I would not advise you get ex battery hens. They can come with lots of problems and they can take a long time to bring them right, for an inexperienced keeper it can be very daunting!
It actually sounds alot of work an i think im going to have a good look at things. Was abit stupid in thinking it was all quite easy and simple looks like it actually needs abit of planning
 

CaptainHowdy

Regular Member
It actually sounds alot of work an i think im going to have a good look at things. Was abit stupid in thinking it was all quite easy and simple looks like it actually needs abit of planning
It does take planning if you do it correctly, but once you've got it all set up the ongoing upkeep isn't that bad. Like anything its the initial setup and costs that take the most.
 

Steve Ducks

Banned
The coop I linked is the absolute minimal requirements as Space needed and only if you can’t give them more freedom. Jeesh
 

dianaT

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
We started off all those years ago with 2 rescued hens in a large A frame, then got a 3rd and built a secure area around the frame so they had more space, we then caught the chicken bug. Hubby made a very large shed with nestboxes, perches, window up high that could be adjusted according to the weather and so in, it was 7ft high so easy to stand in and clean out this was surrounded by a load of ex aviary panels on paving slabs the top covered with chicken wire. He build an outside small hut with roof for their feed/water. Of course we added more hens plus Dennis the RIR cockerel. They were all allowed out to roam the garden (and sometimes wandered up the lane) daily but always a dog or two were outside as well. I think we lost 2 to Foxes over quite a few years. Dennis would sense one around and give the rallying warning to his girls they all got together and the dogs we had then were alerted and we shooed them back into their secure run where they had plenty of room.
Don't be put off though we all start somewhere.
 
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