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Keeping Chickens | Chicken Coops | Chicken House

 

Keeping Chickens

Thank you for looking at this page, we hope this will give you some idea on how to keep chickens.

Let's start positive: Keeping chickens is amazingly easy, if you choose the right equipment for them then your life will be easy and theirs will be healthy.

I would suggest looking at a Breed Choice, then chicken coops and other equipment and of course poultry health then after that possibly breeding options.

This information is very basic but this is better than over running it. Chicken keeping is also about learning your way so I like to keep it basic to ensure good bird health but also a magical experience for you rather than you must do it this way. Please read this, take it on board then do it YOUR way J

 Breed Choice :-

The main reason for most of us to have chickens is to have eating eggs and fertile eggs, with this we want the added bonus of very friendly pets and as hardy as possible:  

The easy choice of breeds to go for are:  

 

Light Sussex  - Hardy bird, a must start bird for the novice. When I say hardy I mean, when the floods, wind, snow, ice comes then I know this is one pen that does not require a daily health check. So for the novice keeper, just feed and water them. Ensure house is kept clean and they seem to love everything. Now being hardy is great but they are much more than this, they are beautiful to look at and a very confident bird, normally first out of the house in the morning excited to cluck some wonderful news they have for me. Of course they are the old faithful in the egg laying department laying about 210 good sized cream eggs per year. So hardy, friendly, pretty and a good layer. Perfect Start! Hatching Eggs for Light sussex  

 

Orpington (All Colours) - Again hardy and super friendly another great starter bird. A real treat as a family member (as it will soon become one :)) Light Cream Eggs (and very reliable layer), can be susceptible to the sniffles in wet weather and lays about 150-180 eggs a year but what it lacks in numbers it makes up in being super friendly. Very striking bird but oh so laid back. Buffs are the most popular.  

 

Welsumer - We have two types, standard and Silver Duckwing laying beautiful eggs, sometimes a bit flighty but mainly placid. The standard Cockerel is a real stunner! Terracotta Red Eggs (a good layer) Proved to also be very hardy birds and good layers with about 200 eggs a year. Hand feeding and patience should result in very friendly birds but please put in 10 minutes a day to get these results as it is well worth it, without it great birds but a little flighty.  

 

Cream Legbar - Beautiful bird and stunning Blue Eggs, yes it lays blue not green tinted but beautiful blue eggs, also if you breed you can sex the chicks from day old. Very good layers at 200 eggs a year but are somewhat nervous birds and prone to be a bit flighty but easily over come with hand feeding a few times a week. Ideally raise the house for these birds as prone to the sniffles.  

 

French Maran - Definitely a favorite already! (so says the order book) Feathery Legs and darkest brown eggs in the UK! Good layers 190-210 eggs a year. The eggs are indeed wonderful but although super popular I really cant see why. They are so nervous and seem susceptible to almost every bug going. If you have time to spare then go for them for the egg colour will not be matched but I believe their character results in nervous illness. French Maran fertile eggs are available from our site for your incubator.  

 

Silkies (All Colours) - You either love or hate them but they are different and great broodies! We offer Black, Blue, White, Red and Gold. Friendly YES, Beautiful YES, Hardy Yes, Lay Well YES. I get more and more a fan of these birds each year! Watch out though when they learn to ride on wellingtons I often get a non paying traveler over 6 acres in the mornings. We are offering all colours of silkie fertile eggs.

 

There are many many more chicken breeds to choose from but these are our favorites, also this may help but we find the larger the breed the calmer the bird and the smaller the breed the more flighty, so as a rule of thumb I find bigger birds make great pets for families with children.  

 

Chicken Coops :-

We offer a full range of chicken coops in our chicken house category and you will soon see we do NOT EVER sell chicken houses with felt roofs as this really will come back to haunt you if you do as felt roofs on a chicken house are ‘insane’. They create the perfect breeding ground for mites that can seriously weaken if not kill birds but this will be discussed later. On the same basis NEVER add hay or straw into the house as these are normally riddled with mites and lice.

Chicken coops do not need to be huge, in fact huge houses or converted sheds for a few chickens can cause serious cold issues in the winter. A chicken house needs to be big enough to allow chickens to move freely and stand apart on hot summer nights and small enough that they can all perch together tight on cold winter nights without too much cold air space. (A cockerel takes the space of two hens)

Also ventilation in a house is vital to allow fresh air and dispersal of the ammonia vapors from their droppings, ideally this ventilation should be well above the chickens heads and not directly in their faces as they are roosting.

Cleaning is a boring, horrible and in bad weather soul destroying work so it should be easy to do so it can be done quickly and properly and our houses are designed for this.

The cladding timber should be a minimum of 10mm but a maximum of 20mm as any thicker and the weight would be huge and impossible to move.

We do runs for some houses but we really prefer electric netting as will your birds, as it allows much more freedom for the birds and the house does not need to be moved so often.  

Chicken equipment :-

Wow this is almost endless there are thousands of possible bits you may need, but in real terms a chicken drinker, a chicken feeder and a grit hopper are the main three to start with and we do sell complete kits in our poultry equipment starter packs but you can buy them separately in their individual headings.

Chicken feeders are simple but with 2 types – indoors and outdoors. I 100% recommend outdoor feeders as they make life so easy, I am 100% against feeding birds in their chicken coops but if you have a sheltered part of the run then you can use an indoor feeder there as long as it can not get wet. Otherwise go for the outdoor feeder as it really makes your life easier. A chicken can eat 150g of feed per day so this may help you decide your feeder size.  

Chicken drinkers, well all types of these are OK but again NEVER give birds water in the coop but the drinker does not mind getting wet in the rain so this is easy J 

As for grit hoppers now these should be in the house or very near it, so screwing them on the house should be fine but screw into a main beam not just the cladding. There are two types of grit, mixed poultry grit and oyster shell grit. Both are fine.

Poultry health :-

Poultry are strong resilient birds and are very rarely ill. We do sell a full range of products for this but of those birds that do get ill I would say 90% of these are due to parasites directly or indirectly and dirty houses.  So a simple rule of thumb – Worm birds 3-6 monthly and clean the house once a week with a good bedding and use red mite powder and louse powder in the house and 90% of your health issues should never appear J 

Chicken Feed :-

For standard birds use layers pellets as a regular feed and others as treats mixed corn is only a treat food not a regular feed but please see our chicken feed page for all options.

I hope this helped your poultry supplies choice a bit. With good house keeping all birds listed above are reasonably easy to keep.  

 

If you need any further help please contact info@pandtpoultry.co.uk  

 

We highly recommend the Leghorn Chicken House or the Brahma Chicken Coop to house your birds but if you want the true excitement of starting from eggs then go for the best incubators we sell the R-COM 20 Incubator or R-COM 20 Pro Incubator we also sell the R-COM 20 Pro USB Incubator but this one really is designed for parrots and has more features than you would need for poultry eggs.  

 

If you have chosen your chicken breeds and now need help on what products we can help you with then please see our chicken equipment page.