When you live in the countryside a must have is Chickens because they provide a staple food in the form of eggs.
The cost of a half dozen eggs is close to £2 and if you wanted organic eggs you’ll have to pay even more, however when you have your own chickens you get organic eggs for less and more convenience.
I learned a lot about chickens since owning them myself and thought I’d share some of my findings:
- A chicken can cost you between £2 for a rough looking layer to £40 on average for a good looking young ready to lay chicken. You can pick up better deals at chicken auctions but a midrange good chicken can be obtained at a chicken breeder for a midrange price.
- You should expect that your chicken has had it’s injections and you should be able to take it home and get going with the laying. Keep your chicken in its home for approximately 10 days in order for it to know where to return home in the evening if you have free range.
- Chicken breeds vary between very friendly and very aggressive, so know your breed before you buy. Try to avoid a Cockerel especially if you don’t plan on breeding and keeping more than 1 cockerel will often lead to cock fights which can get quite bloody.
- Keep their home clean as with any animal and remember to check for mites.
- Chickens will destroy a garden if they are free range as they eat seeds and dig up flower beds and grass.
- Most chickens can be kept a lot like pets and enjoy being stroked, they will also follow you around and try to get into your house to join you where possible.
- Chickens only lay eggs for approximately 3 years and each year the eggs get smaller and smaller, so keep your chickens in a good rotation.
- Chickens will literally eat anything, so if you have pets or livestock be warned they will eat the food.
- Chickens are a lot braver than I expected often to their own demise.
- Although catching a chicken during the day is a hard task catching a chicken after dusk is too easy as they rarely move once perched for the night, hence be warned of foxes and predators after sunset especially.
- Each Chicken will lay about 1 or 2 eggs each per day in the warmer season.
- Good sunlight and well fed chickens encourages better laying.
- Clipping one side of a Chicken’s flying feathers once a year discourages them to fly and get to hard to reach places or escape over fences as they don’t like to be unbalanced during flight.
- Chicken poop makes excellent feed for flowers and veg etc. so recycling is easy when cleaning out chicken houses or runs.
- You can keep Chickens in the town but not cockerels and it is well worth having 2 or 3 at the end of your garden in a chicken run, if you use a lot of eggs.
- Chickens aren’t just about the eggs and some chickens are more enjoyable as ornamental chickens for your garden than for their laying abilities.
One of my favorite aspects to country life has been having free range chickens and fresh better tasting eggs and I would keep them if I move back to city life, where possible.