Ever thought of keeping chickens?

Chickens are social animals and easy to keep as pets. Even in the back garden. They bring the place to life, are easy to look after and also lay eggs. Children and chickens get on well together, and a weekend away is not an issue either – chickens can easily be left a day at home on their own. A chicken coop with a height of no more than one metre and a surface area of up to two m² does not require a licence, and it does not cost much to keep a number of chickens in the garden.

A few useful tips to get you off to a good start

Start with a small flock of three chickens. This gives the chickens some companionship and makes them feel safe when scratching around in the garden or run. Preferably start with a small brood of hens (female chickens); a cock crows and tends to be less well accepted in a residential area.

What do you need?

  • A chicken coop with outside run
  • Laying nests (for laying eggs in)
  • Perches (for sleeping on, chickens sleep sitting up)
  • Sand bath (for looking after their feathers)
  • Floor cover (such as beech wood chips or wood fibres)
  • Feeding troughs and water bowls (robust and heavy)
  • Good feed

How much space do you need to keep chickens?

The size of the coop and run depends greatly on the quantity and breed of the chickens. The larger, the better for the chickens, of course! The space required is given in the table below.

Chicken feed

A chicken’s natural diet consists of cereals, seeds, berries, plants and various small creatures, such as worms, slugs and snails. When chickens are allowed to scratch around freely, they will eat anything and will decide for themselves what they need. For chickens that are kept in a coop, it is essential that they are fed a varied diet to keep them in peak condition. Given that these chickens cannot decide for themselves what to eat it is necessary to supply sensible, well-balanced feed of good quality.

  • Give your chickens a complete chicken feed
  • Supplement this with a mix of cereals to satisfy their foraging needs
  • Provide chicken grit (source of calcium) & stomach stones (to aid digestion)
  • Supply fresh drinking water daily
  • Add health supplements to the drinking water to boost general resistance and promote healthy intestinal flora
  • Feed the occasional snack (e.g. a mealworm)

Do you want to let your chickens have a good scratch around in the garden? You can. Just scatter a handful of poultry mix or mixed corn in the garden to keep the chickens occupied as they forage for their meal.

When given enough attention, your little chickens will become tame.