How much time do you spend on your chickens?

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SarahC375

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How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« on: February 06, 2021, 15:30 »
Hello, newbie to posting but have lurked here and found lots of useful advice over the years.

I'm living in the west of Ireland, a small cottage with a fairly big garden, and am hoping to get 6 chickens in March. I had hoped to get them last year, but my husband put me off as he thought we had enough on our plates. Well, me and my husband have split, and I'm back to thinking about chickens again! However, I am a little nervous, especially as I'll be dealing with it all on my own, so I was wondering how much time everyone usually spends each day/week on their chickens?

I work online, usually about 7 hours a day, and also have a dog and two cats. The garden has a polytunnel and some raised beds, but I don't think it should be any trouble to fence off half the garden and let the chickens free range, or maybe get some moveable fencing and create a run to keep them in most of the time.

Thanks everyone, it might seem a silly question, but I've had my confidence knocked a bit and just want to make sure I'll be able to look after chickens properly before I commit to them.

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snowdrops

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2021, 17:45 »
I have 5 chickens on my allotment, which is a 5 minute walk away. I go to visit them twice a day. Invest in a secure run with a roof on. At the moment chickens are in lockdown all over the country because of Avian flu & so you mustnít allow access to wild birds or visa versa. So factor that into your set up. I have a treadle feeder & automatic watering, this takes a lot of the work out of having them. Plus with a secure run I donít have to shut them up at night or let them out in a morning, also useful if youíre at home so that you donít have to get up early in the summer or have to rush back on a summer evening to shut them in. To be honest they donít take more than a few minutes each day.
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New shoot

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2021, 09:50 »
Hi and welcome  :)

You should be fine timewise as they really donít take that much work.  I would go with the moveable run option though, rather than free run of half the garden.  They are pretty destructive and poop a lot!  Being able to move them onto fresh ground will take a lot of the work out.

Mine get let out and shut up each day.  We bring the food in at night as well, so it does not attract rats.  The coop needs a clean at least once a week.  Some people do a mini clean and poop pick every day.  If they are in a static run, that needs maintenance as well.

How many eggs do you want?  3 hens might be fine for your needs and would perhaps be less daunting for a new poultry keeper  :)

You may have found this, but if not, these are the poultry pages from the main part of the site.

https://www.chickens.allotment-garden.org/poultry-articles/


« Last Edit: February 07, 2021, 09:51 by New shoot »

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SarahC375

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 15:26 »
Thank you Snowdrops and New Shoot for your advice/experiences!

I am also wondering if 6 is too many...I have an old coop that a neighbor gave me that's quite big, could probably fit 10 chickens I think, so that's why I was thinking I might as well start with a bigger number. The coop is made of corrugated metal, so I won't be able to move that around much (very heavy!), so I think moveable fencing is the way forwards, so hopefully can keep them from destroying one small fixed area and maybe move them between two areas around the coop and give the ground time to recover.

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grinling

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2021, 16:19 »
I have a dog who adores my hen, she does not adore her in the same way. How Sooty has survived has surprised me, telling my dog to "drop" my hen is stressful. Dog has now learnt she can get over a 3 foot fence will make summer more interesting when the rabbits are outside.
You could intergrate a house with a run on wheels.
a square house with an opening pent roof and pot hole, think rabbit hutch. Attach wire all around and out to make a run area. wire down to ground and out by 40cm. Attach wheels to make it portable for one.
If house and run not in one place, you need to prevent foxes digging in at night.
Trying to move a house with wheels is easier if on your own.

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SarahC375

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 10:27 »
Hi Grinling, I think your idea of a coop on wheels is a good one...having thought about it more (and tried to move the coop my neighbour gave me - impossible!) I'm considering getting a plastic coop. I saw Green Frog do wheels for theirs, and hopefully even the ones without wheels wouldn't be impossible for me to deal with moving on my own. Hopefully it also cuts down cleaning time and chances of mites, so...more expense to start with, but less hassle in the long run. Easier to pack up and take with me if I move house, or to re-sell too, I hope.

I'm looking at electric moveable fencing at the moment, although I'm unsure about it. I have a leisure battery already, as well as solar panel and trickle charger, so think it could be fairly easy for me to set up. I've got a fairly sizeable garden and I'm not sure of the best location at the moment, so was thinking a moveable fence would be best while I figure out the best spot for them. Plus, I have to have some work done on the house this summer (roof, drainage), so would be handy to be able to move the chickens somewhere out the way while that was going on. Predators are also an issue - we get foxes, badgers, mink and buzzards around here. Does this sound like it would be a good idea? And then hopefully build a fixed secure run for them at a later date.

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grinling

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Re: How much time do you spend on your chickens?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2021, 12:57 »
I would do weld mesh including the top of the run. A house would need to be off the ground.
My buzzard here has sat on the fence, chooks went quiet, but have several fly around. My chook is bigger than bantam, but smaller than normal size.
Fox and mink, I would not allow chooks to free range outside a run area. I use a wired greenhouse for a run with a tunnel attached, has to be staked in high winds.
I have my wheeled house on a concrete base and have a sandpit with soil and wood ash inside. I have a metal roof and use a washing up bowl for water as easy to clean.
This set up will be changing somehow as hubby wants a man cave.



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