Help, newbie in indecision.

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Help, newbie in indecision.
« on: February 11, 2008, 15:15 »
One of my friends with HUGE gardens has created a lovely hen coop / run thing that he keeps 10 chickens in. I have toyed with the idea of keeping some chucks in my more modest garden but my wife and I have, until now, shelved the idea. Things have changed now that my friend has found a place that looks after battery hens after they have been disposed of by the big nasty egg factories. This place tries to place them with homes that will look after the poor beasties. :cry:

I am much more keen to do it now that I can give the poor wee things a better life. However, I still have two queries about it.
The first, I have two boys, 5 and 2 1/2. As long as we wash the boys hands after they have been in the garden, will they be safe from disease etc?

The other is not quite so important. My garden, although more modest, is 27.5 metres (90 feet) long by 4.5 metres (15 feet) wide and almost entirely grassed. I am going to build a coop and a caged area that is about 2 metres by 3 metres.

If I was to get some, I would like to let them run about the garden as much as possible. However my boys and myself are mad on cricket and play on the garden all year round. Will the chucks devastate my grass?

I have done a bit of research and found out they like to have a dustbath. Will the chicken run be enough for a dustbath so they won't tear up the grass?
I appreciate they are a living thing and won't neccesarily have a dust bath in a location that would be most convenient for me! :roll:

Oh, one more thing (sorry for the rambling) how many chucks will a coop and a run in a 2 metre by 3 metre enclosure be good for? My friend has his 10 in quite a large area, maybe 5 metres by 3 metres?

Again sorry for rambling on...
Barnaby :?



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Help, newbie in indecision.
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 15:37 »
washing hands will keep the boys safe, as long as they dont try eating everything that pops out of a chickens bum. :wink:

the more space you can give them, the better.

mine have their own garden,so they can do as they like and they live on bark. so i cant help with the grass thing.

someone will be along soon who has grass.



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Help, newbie in indecision.
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2008, 16:17 »
Hi Barnabyr,

We keep ours in a fixed run so can't help much with the free-ranging/lawn query.

We've got 6 medium hens in approx 14 square metres including a concrete bit.

The bare minimum is, I think, 1 square metre per bird but obviously they are far happier with a lot more.

For a dust bath we use a shallow plastic storage box with sand in and they seem happy to spend an hour or so in there. I'm sure, given the garden to go at they would find somewhere more 'natural'.

We also have bark chippings down which has stopped a mudbath developing but the grass is very threadbare after a month.

Good luck and keep asking the questions.



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Help, newbie in indecision.
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2008, 17:05 »
Chooks love grass, the problem is when it rains and they scratch about, the area can soon go to mud. Of course you can fence bits off and reseed.  :D
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Help, newbie in indecision.
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2008, 17:26 »
The other thing to think about is that if you and your boys like playing on the grass alot you are going to be forever picking up chicken poo - they poo loads and loads, much more than i imagined when i first got mine last year and i only have two  :shock:



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Help, newbie in indecision.
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2008, 21:17 »
I would agree with jammy about the poo thing.  I have 3 hens and 2 kids and even if I "poo pick" the garden it is unbelievable how my 3 year old son manages to coat himself in a really slimey chook poo  :roll: .
I don't want  to put you off and there's ways around it.  My chooks are free range during the winter (when the kids are in the garden less, and have strict instructions shoes off before coming in the house) and will be restricted to their run more in summer (the chooks not the kids..............although........ :wink: )
I have been lucky my chooks haven't ruined my grass (yet), they are only bantams and seem to graze the grass and scratch up the flowerbeds.  But if you are rescuing battery hens they are bigger and the nature of their breeding means they are very active (especially once you give them freedom :D ).  Its likely your grass will take a battering so maybe give as much room as you can to the run.
Hope this helps

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