An introduction into the world of chicken keeping

It worries me just how many people wanting to keep hens are initially put off keeping hens. They discuss it with a partner and decide a lack of knowledge means they need to attend a chicken keeping course. Don't get me wrong it's a nice introduction to seeing and handling a hen, but there is your first cash outlay (a course) and you don't own a hen yet. Please don't get me wrong I've attended courses myself and spoken to professional hen keepers and breeders, courses are a good source of important information (so are web sites books and the Internet.) the courses I have attended have always spoken regarding the cost, firstly there are your hens to buy, the breed of hen will dictate the price you pay. Then of course comes the animals living quarters, there is your major outlay, your told that you need to spend hundreds of ££££,s, on housing, and then of course these courses always end up in the same place, the shop where a cash register eagerly awaits your hard earned money... When the course has finished the amount of people I see leaving totally dejected and let down is overwhelming (mainly by the cost.)  The figures I,ve been told on courses I've attended range into the hundreds and people's reactions are always the same, that much money, for chickens, for eggs.p, we,ll just buy farm fresh eggs it's cheaper. These courses are usually sponsored and the information they can give is pre-approved by either legislation or a financial sponsor, reading further on and my blog will show you how this can be done at a fraction of the price, and still as professional.. My blog will give you the information on getting the chickens and even a cockerel all for free, housing included.  A lot of people I talk to all have different questions regarding keeping chickens, but the one question I get asked the most and usually the first question I get asked is about the cost, HOW MUCH ????.mmy blog will show you how to keep chickens without the cost, that's ZERO cost. you read right, my girls pay for themselves, currently I am in profit to the tune of £170 and that amount is climbing daily. I do not keep hens for money and am not interested in making a profit from them, I keep hens because I like them, what better way to de-stress after a hard day at work than watching chickens, it just so happens that is the way it works out without trying. I state this not to brag but to show you that you do not need to be put off by the cost, later on in my blog I shall draw up my monthly accounts and publish them letting you see for yourself how I manage this. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most rewarding and relaxing parts of my day is the time I spend with my girls and boys, hens are pretty self sufficient, they can be as easy or as hard as you make it. Ask yourself this !!! Are you able to give twenty minutes twice a day to feed and water your hens and collect the eggs ???  Can you spare half an hour at the weekend to thoroughly clean their housing and their food containers ??? Do you have someone who could do this for you if you went on your holidays ??? If you have answered yes to those three questions then YES chicken keeping is for you. A chickens requirements are pretty basic, you need to provide them with fresh feed and water daily and warm dry safe accommodations and maybe an occasional usually visual health check. Provide these basics and your girls will reward you with a fresBly laid eggs daily, and if you've never tasted a day old or an hour old fresh egg then boy are you missing out. If you need someone to look after your hens at home I provide a service whereby I can call to your home and do this for you.

  • My rooster Horatio, he has 22 very happy ladies

  • Chickens are FUN

  • Brutus my leghorn cockerel has 16 lovely ladies

what are a hens basic requirements

Firstly your hens need the right balanced diet, again this need not be costly to you. A hens main dietary requirement is pretty much found in the food they eat (layers pellets) unless you are hatching out your own chicks in which case you need either the layers mash or the chick crumb. protein, it's all about the protein for your egg laying ladies, Somewhere between 17% and 22%. Your pellets will also contain the calcium your hens need (at 23-26 weeks old) to form the shell required in making eggs. Layers pellets can vary in price anywhere from £7.50 and up to £30, now that a heck of a price difference, but please dont be fooled into paying more than you need too, I've tried most of these pellets and for the litre extra they offer in protein it's not worth the price difference (in my opinion.) Opinions vary of course and you may be happy paying the extra cost... Your hens feed rations are based on the size of your hens, for example if you have gone for the common brown hens for eggs laying (loham Browns, or bovine goldlines) they will require between 100-130 grams of feed daily, remembering that from this figure a hens diet can be made up of treats of which make up 20% of their diet. Personally I give my hens 100 grams of feed daily and they get treats and greens daily, weeds cabbage ect. There are do,s and dont,s regarding what treats you can and cannot give which we will cover on another page. Fresh water is a daily requirement not only for the hens dietary requirements but also in the use of making up the shell of the egg as well as the contents of the egg, hens do prefer cold water, even on a hot day they shun water warmed by the sun unless nothing else so maybe a shade for the water vessels. As for your hens accommodations they do get a little more demanding, don't be put off though, hens do not like draughts (similar to humans hens can catch cold and do sneeze) so they like to be raised from the cold damp floor so a roosting pole or two dependant on how many hens your starting out with! no more than two feet from the floor as the larger breeds can break legs when jumping from the poles. Next you need to consider nesting boxes where they will lay your eggs, again raised from the floor, somewhere dark away from draughts with some privacy, away from their living quarters, they like peace and quiet for this. Floor covering is a matter of personal choice, sawdust, not the finer but the larger one usually used for horses, less dust less respiratory infections. Rubber chippings can be hosed clean, sand from your beach as it absorbs the droppings and no moisture or bad amonia smells ( as with sawdust,) hens poop between 30-50 times per hen per day so absorbent materials in my opinion are best, they absorb the smell if cleaned out weekly. And if you have roses the poop is invaluable (for most garden flowers.) that covers the main requirements you hens need. If you decide hens are for you check out my other pages, hens do need some fun things too so I've covered this. If there is anything you need to ask please however trivial I'm happy to a see you. Since retiring 3 years ago I spend 8 hours a day with my girls 7 days a week, Bye for now.

Good luck in your new adventure

Anthony metcalfe