Prospective newbie

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davemanuel

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Prospective newbie
« on: July 08, 2010, 10:57 »
I am seriously thinking about getting 2 or 3 hens for my suburban back garden. I have read everything available and am confident that I am aware of most of the issues, but my wife needs convincing as she is certain that they would turn the garden into a "war zone" and she doesn't want it looking like a prison with netting all over the place. In addition to an ark with about 12 sq ft of integral run, they would have access to an area of approx. 15ftx30ft  for most days which is lawn and flower beds. When we are around they could even roam the whole garden which is about 40ftx60ft (including my veggie patch).

I'd really like to know how destructive they would be under these circumstances and  how high any netting would have to be to ensure that they remain within the boundary??

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Flowerpower136

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2010, 11:32 »
They are destructive.  They will eat plants, and they will dig up plants when they make dust baths in the soil, they will also scratch up the lawn.  Not so bad in summer as it grows back, but in winter, things can get nasty when everything turns to mud. :(

They are good for clearing the soil in a veg patch, therefore good on allotments when rotated with the veg.  But, if you want to eat your veg yourself you will have to protect it with chicken mesh.

2 or 3 in that size of area might be bearable. :unsure:  If area is mostly lawn and shrubs it would cope OK. Though expect things to be pruned to chook height :D  The more leafy and delicate (annuals and perennials), the more damage they'll inflict. 

Mine's a different set up with the girls strictly confined to their part of the garden.  They have a fixed pen of approx 18 m2 for 7 chooks.  It is a barren dust bath at the moment.  They have eaten everything green within reach including most of the green content of the compost bays which happen to be in there with them.  Much as I love my chooks, I wouldn't let them lose in my garden, because I love that too! 

If OH is a keen gardener, I can understand where she's coming from.  But you can still have georgeous garden and chooks, you just have to keep them separate.  See pic.

If you do want them to freerange, then to stop them visting neighbours fences would need to be at least 6' I think, and even then unless wings are clipped, a determined escapologist could get over it.  Also, you do need to thing about what can get into the garden.  Urban foxes are your worst nightmare.




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themagicaltoad1

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2010, 18:00 »
Your garden isn't much smaller than mine and I now have 7 running around in it. To be honest it doesn't really look any different to before I had them....except for my now non-existent veggie patch! you will need to fence it off well if you want to continue growing things in it. And they will find a spot they like to dust bathe in, it will look like they are digging through to Australia but they tend to stay with the one area once they've found a spot they like.

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GerryOB

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 06:38 »
From what I've read, and seen when going round visiting various breeders/suppliers, you don't have to let them have the free roam of the whole garden.  Ours certainly won't have the free roam of the whole of ours.  At the moment we have a coop and they are confined to that as our back garden is in the process of being re-done, with piles of slabs etc all over the place (which would give them extra height if they decided to jump up and exit over the fence, not to mention that they could topple and hurt one of them). 

Once the garden is done, we aim to fence off an area and put the coop inside it.  During the day, the coop door will be open so they can roam around within the confines of their own pen.  It will also mean double protection against foxes at night.

Gerry

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joyfull

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 08:32 »
if they are kept in a coup then you should allow a minimum of 1 square meter of run space per hen but ideally they need at least 2 or 3 square meters per bird. If they are kept in too small a space you will end up with a lot of behaviour problems and birds attacking each other.
Staffies are softer than you think.

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evie2

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 14:41 »
Your girls look so happy Flowerpower  :D
May this day be blessed with gifts, understanding and friends.  Merlin 2001-2012 Pandora 2001-2013 xxx

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GerryOB

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 18:33 »
Not sure if I'm using the right words for things and may have led to some confusion.  They have the little coop house thing with perches where they go at night, and off one side of that is the nest boxes.  Attached to that (and below it) is the run which is bigger than the runs on the usual imported coups/runs on ebay.  It was built in the uk and said to house between 6 - 8 birds comfortably.  We have four and they seem happy as larry.  They have a tray for their dust baths, food and water hanging at a suitable height so they don't have to stretch or stoop, and lots of straw, shavings and so on to scratch around in.  Because they are on our patio at the moment, under the marquee, I've even got a fan going near them so they don't overheat  :lol:  Talk about pampered poultry!  I've been hand feeding them corn today so that they get used to me.  Once the garden is done, the whole coop including pen will be put outside in a larger run, where they will be able to have much more room to wander about.  We do have urban foxes in the area, so want them to be as fox proof as possible, even though (touch wood) we have never seen anything more than a squirrel in our back garden (who nicked my kids mini easter eggs when I put them out for an easter egg hunt one year  ???).

Gerry

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themagicaltoad1

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Re: Prospective newbie
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 22:19 »
I hope you gave the squirell a prize for finding them lol. :lol:



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