I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!

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sallyseven

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« on: December 01, 2006, 11:57 »
:D  Hi, no I'm not but at least it made you read this!!!
I am new here.  I have fallen in love with the eggs I buy from a local farm which are laid by Rhode Island Reds.  I have an empty shed about 6ftL by 4ftW by 6ft high at the bottom of my garden and I am seriously thinking about getting me some of those chooks.  Obviously if I decide to go ahead I will buy all the books etc, but in the first instance I have a couple of questions which will stop me in my tracks, at the moment I am in a lighthearted research phase (if that makes any sense). I was thinking about keeping about 4 chickens, which would be more or less pets with eggs as a bonus. (No way could I bump them off - too soppy).  How often would I have to visit them per day.  I would get them lights.  How much, roughly, am I looking at in costs of keeping them.  I would like them to free range around my garden, but if that poses a problem (say my dogs/cats upset them) then I would get movable pens.  I am trying to work out all the disadvantages etc.   They look easy enough to keep, but I am trying to work out how I would feel if it was pouring with rain or the neighbours complain etc. I would be grateful for any advice!

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Tensing

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2006, 12:51 »
One of the best ways to make sure your neighbours don't complain is to not have a cock, or if its like mine and thinks 3.40am is a good time to wake up, you will have complaints.

Visiting them atleast twice a day is good, in the morning to let them out collect eggs etc and in the evening to lock them up, so they are safe from foxes etc.

Lights some say you need them for them to lay in winter, mine haven't got them but are still laying, so its up to you.

Costs, I buy a 25 kilo sack of feed for around £7-£8, its not the cheapest brand nor the most expensive, a sack last us about a month, but I have 5 Silkie Bantams, 12 ducks (and a goose who likes to steal it) all eating it, I also feed the ducks and a little to the bantams, mixed corn. Otherwise other costa are bedding materials straw etc, the set up costs feeders, drinkers, mobile run if you want one that sort of thing. Also lice powders etc.

Mine free range in the garden, as does the cat, and to be honest he is terrifeid of the birds, despite in his younger days being a bit of a hunter.

And rain, mine just walk round look confused as to why they are weight, and misrable because they are wet, they never have the sense to get under shelter.

Good luck they are great fun.
Caroline

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sallyseven

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Thanks!!!
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2006, 13:17 »
:D  Thats really helpful, I am still undeterred!  I used to breed and show guinea pigs with my kids, but once the kids became teenagers and lost interest I stopped breeding and just kept the ones I had.  Gradually they are all dying of old age (only 6 left now) and I usually replace them with rescue ones.  But now I'm in a frame of mind to take up chicken keeping as it is more productive and hopefully no more or less work than the piggies.  I have had a look through the forum and found more articles that are very useful.   I have just ordered a book from Amazon as well.  Do you always let your chickens out, even if its raining really hard or snow everywhere?

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GrannieAnnie

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2006, 13:49 »
Our 47 rescued chooks go out in all weathers just like Tensings, and like hers, they don't have any extra light in their shed.  After 15 hour days when they were in their cages, I am sure they prefer to live the natural life and go to bed happily even when it gets dark at 4pm!  Except the one I missed the other day.  Silly chook!  I went out a bit later to shut them up, about 5.10pm and because it was so dark I asumed they were all in bed, but when I went out the next morning to let them out.  There was one lone hen standing in the rain.  she had slept under the nest box area, and I'd missed her as it was so dark, but she is still fine, luckily, we have not seen a fox in the 4 years we have lived here!  Good luck with the chooks, watch out when you free range them though, they will eat everything!  Well mine do, that's why they have a big run, but its 78ft x 19 ft, so they have plenty of room!!!!!!

Sorry, welcome to the site too!!!!!!

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Zak the Rabbit

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2006, 16:53 »
I keep and used to breed piggies as well, now although i dont yet have any chooks im in the process of building a house for them (see my blog), and the costs for the house come out at around £30 (if you convert the shed your only big cost will be for a run if you keep them enclosed), and im expecting the run, which will be fully enclosed at about 6ft x 15ft x 6ft high, to cost about £30 as well. Get on the freecycle groups and start scrounging, sorry, aquiring stuff.

Local to me the feed is ~£5 a sack, and as Tensing said should last about a month or longer for a half dozen birds. The lice powder is £8 a tin (big tin like ajax used to be in). Feeders and drinkers will be initial outlays i think around a tenner.

Books - earmark say £15 for books on the subject.


So, all told expect (assuming you recycle and build yourself) about £100 tops to set up, and under a tenner a month running costs. Your costs will be different depending how you decide to go about setting up, but i think my projections here will be about right.


I will leave hints on the cost of birds to our more knowledgable members


and they will be no more trouble to clean than a mad handfull of piggies are!


martin
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(='.'=)
(")_(")
the rabbit of caerbannogg

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muntjac

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chicken supplies
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2006, 20:18 »
can i just point you out to this little gem
 :wink:

Ebay Link
and here
Ebay Link
still alive /............

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sallyseven

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What if you have to go out all day?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2006, 05:21 »
:DThanks everyone for your replies.   The other thing that worries me is if, say like today I had to go out early in the morning and didn't get back until dark, about 7 pm.  Because I don't know anyone like myself thats planning to keep them just as pets, my questions are really basic and probably might seem silly.  What would you do under those circumstances.  Would you let them out into their pen in the morning (feed them) and just close it when you got home, hoping that they have all gone back in the shed because you can't see that well in the dark?  I need to know how much of a committment they are.  Although I have dogs and guinea pigs already, I can work around them.  With chickens I'm worried I might have to rely on other people (like my husband who's not interested).  At the moment I am a housewife but at some point I am going to be looking at going back to work and I wonder if I can fit the chooks in successfully.

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John

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2006, 09:34 »
My sister keeps chickens and works silly hours in the city - she opens the door when she leaves and they come out at dawn and go back up to roost at dusk of their own accord.
If you let them roam everywhere then you may well have a problem - they're not the brightest of creatures and can decide to sleep, lay etc in odd places.
Check out our books - ideal presents

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muntjac

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2006, 11:40 »
all of my birds  come and go as they please i leave the huts open in summer as i let them go out at dawn and they go back in when its getting dark , in winter i just let them out and go close them up when its getting dark or even dark.late at night .my pens are large and have trees around i have no way the chickens can get up to roost in the trees having taken all the branches away from nearer the ground  upto about 10 ft . so as long as you feed and water  them you can go and leave them in your pen and not worry , stupid they may be on the loose .but in the asylum they are as good  as gold they take no more looking after than cleaning them out feeding and watering and generally looking  after thier health checking for rats etc . unlike pudding pigs they give you eggs as a treat

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sallyseven

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its getting better and better
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2006, 09:38 »
:D Oh wow thank you people for all your replies.  I was wondering how I could fit it all in with my day but its getting better and better.  The electric door sounds great but I expect it will cost quite a few quid and I don't have an electric supply at the bottom of my garden, but I shall look into it.  The electric fence is a no no though as I have 3 dogs (a Newfoundland, Jack Russell and Bichon Frise) and 2 cats.  These have all been great at keeping foxes out of the garden, but obviously are no use if they are shut in the house and I'm out.  Another silly question, in the event you don't have an electric door, do you normally let them out at dawn, does it matter if its hours later than dawn?  I'm still waiting for my book, which will hopefully tell me what I've got to do to convert the shed. My garden is about 80ft long by 40ft wide, I thought I would have an enclosed run attached to the shed, but when I am in the garden, I would let them free range around.  I have to check this roosting in tree business though, I don't want them getting out.

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Aunt Sally

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2006, 09:45 »
Electric pop holes are not cheap but can be run from a battery.  I think it would solve your problem though  :D
Look here:

http://www.chicken-house.co.uk/door_opener.htm/?a=g
Find more about Weather in Maidstone, UK

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muntjac

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 11:35 »
if you have that amount of garden section of as much as you can spare
build a pen as big as you can with the shed inside it . clip the birds wing  to prevent them flying , with the shed you have you can keep 10 birds in comfort no problem , you can let them out when you get up no worries , let them roam your pen freely with food and water both outside  and just water inside .  nest boxes can be constructed against a back wall  4 is enough for 10 birds , make a gate to get in and out of the pen area with a decent bolt on , one thing with dogs you may need to keep them away from the chickens as they will chase and even maybe kill them ... please remember to drill some dozen half inch holes in the highest point available in the wall to allow air to flow .this is something some folks forget .it can get very warm in a chicken shed in summer .the thing with powered pop holes is this . the chickens dont all go inside at the same time ,,,, you may end up having some left outside . so long as you have no predator problem you can close the shed when you get home hope this helps

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Aunt Sally

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2006, 11:51 »
Is it safe for anyone to say the don't have a predator problem  :?:   I have quite a few friends who have had their chooks taken at dusk by Foxywoxy  :cry:  I use a FoxWatch, not seen one since I installed it  (OK for a small area but not much use for a very large one) :D

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muntjac

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2006, 12:03 »
i have foxes around me aunty but not had em take any .my fencing is 6ft high with a further 3 ft buried in the ground with broken glass layed alongside it .i have the trees cut back to stop em climbing up and jumping over . i look for sign of them outside trying to get in. the biggest dam pest i have is rooks and jackdaws,for which i built a larsen trap on industrial scale i probably kill 200 a year  once a jackdaw know it can get at a chick by doing something it is watched by others and they then do it . i run a trap line for rats around the place using 10 inch plastic drainage piping also run poison etc , you can beat them if you think how would they get in .. the ones you cant beat are the 2 legged ones generally

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Aunt Sally

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I'm pretty and I want to keep chickens!!!
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2006, 13:58 »
Your place sounds very fox proof muntjac.  It sounds as if you have space to do things on a scale to make it works !  In a small garden with neighbours all around and not all the boundry fences belong to you, its harder to keep the foxes out.  I have no other problems with predators or pests though so I count myself lucky  :D



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