Is it hard to keep Chickens ? – Frequently Asked Question Friday

Being a blogger and putting your life out there for people to see you inevitably get questions so I thought it would be a great idea to answer them here and Frequently asked Questions on Friday has a nice ring to it.

The most common question I get these days is “Is it hard to Keep Chickens?” it is up there with “Are you mad ?” and “How many eggs do you get ?”

Well we have 4 chickens, we have had them about a month now and I read a lot about them before I went ahead with my crazy plan and I waited for at least a year before I took the plunge into chicken ownership
.
So let me introduce the girls in my first blog video –

So as you can see the girls are friendly but as you can also see expect them to poop A LOT !!

So here are my tips for keeping chickens

  • First things first, if you are thinking of getting chickens you will need a coop and this will be your biggest outlay. You can expect to pay a minimum of 120 euros for a small coop in Ireland. I was lucky I searched Done Deal and Adverts and found someone in my town selling one which was a big coop and can fit 9 chickens not that I am getting 9 chickens! But I like the girls to have room.

Gertie in the Garden 
  • Decide on what type of chickens you are after – are you looking for pure breeds ? Or Hybrids ? Or Rescues – there are lots of ex-battery hens looking for a home and LittleHill Animal Rescue regularly do Chicken Runs throughout the year.
Tikka and Doris in the House.
  • You better be okay with poop because you will be cleaning up a lot – The good news is it is great in my compost -The bad news is the little madams will poop in the house if they get in, which they do occasionally. 
  • You need to keep your coop clean – we clean out the poop daily and the sawdust and straw in the nest boxes weekly and sprinkle with mite powder monthly.
  • You need to feed your chickens of course – we use a combination of chicken mash and greens like spinach and rocket but you can get pellets or make up your own mix. You can also provide your chickens with oyster grit this helps them grind up their food and helps form their eggs.
  • Provide them with a dust bath and they will be very happy chickens I am actually getting some old tires and will be making some chicken baths soon but, for now, they are happy with a hole I lined with a layer of sand that is in an old flower bed.
  • Be prepared to stop eating chicken – the weird thing is you find it very hard to eat chicken when you keep chickens,as you find out very quickly that they have lovely little personalities. 
  • They will eat the slugs, caterpillars and other nasty bugs in your vegetable garden but they will also eat your veggies – as I said my girls love Spinach, Rocket , Salad Greens I know because they decimated my crops – they don’t seem to like peas, courgette, tomatoes and corn because that is all that they left ! So you will have to keep them out of your vegetable garden ! 
  • Prepare for A LOT of Eggs !! If you treat your girls well they will provide you with lots of lovely eggs we get at least 4 a day and of all sizes.  But they tend to lay in the Spring and Summer and less so in Autumn and Winter. 
  • You will have to protect them from predators – we are lucky our back garden is totally enclosed and the only predators would be our cats or dogs, lucky for us and the chickens our pets are not a bother to the chickens, they just don’t care as you can see. 
  • You also need to protect them from parasites like worms and mites – we treat the girls monthly for mites and worms every three months. 
So is it hard to keep chickens – it can be, but truthfully I love them. They are lovely creatures who are fascinating to watch. It is not really much work to feed, water and clean them and who doesn’t love fresh eggs and omelettes ??
 I have made a handy infogram for you with the treats Chickens love and what you shouldn’t give them

If you have a question that you would love to ask me, feel free to comment below and I will include you in my next Frequently asked Questions Friday ! 
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