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  1. #1
    Herbgardener is offline Seedling
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    Default How much room do chickens need and how much work are they?

    Hi All,

    we only have a small garden and I would like to keep 4 or 5 bantams in an ark. We have approx 20 foot by 20 foot available, so we could move the ark every week or so onto a new patch of grass, but is it really enough room?

    Also how much time do they really take to look after each day?

    Finally can anyone recommend a good egg laying Bantam that isn't to flighty?

    Want to be sure before we commit ourselves, not fair to us or to the birds :-)

  2. #2
    Headfry's Avatar
    Headfry is offline Early Fruiter
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    Welcome to the vine Herbgardner.....don't worry they will be along soon with replies to your posting! Tons oh help given on this forum and all are very nice people.

    Good luck with the hens! lucky you

  3. #3
    Madasafish is offline Cropper
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    I keep quails and turkeys.
    Can't comment on chicken space but time (if organised)
    Am: 10 minutes let out birds, put feed out with them.
    In pm Check 5 mins
    In evening: put birds back and refill food and water containers. 15 mins tops.
    Weekends: as above plus cleaning extra 30 mins.

    Art is : be organised... Keep it simple and to hand. Do everything in advance as far as possible. Speeds it up a lot.
    Last edited by Madasafish; 05-09-2007 at 01:06 PM.

  4. #4
    witch-1's Avatar
    witch-1 is offline Sprouter
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    I'm new to chicken keeping and my garden isn't huge! I don't restrict mine though and let them roam so the grass doesn't seem to be damaged anywhere.

    As for time - little time really. I put the food and water down in the mornings and clean out poo from their bedding.
    Afternoons - scatter extra food around and collect 'larger poos' in a bucket (for composting).
    Evenings - they go to bed and I remove food to deter vermin.
    Total time probably 20 mins.

    Cleaning out house takes me 10-15 mins. I put lino on the floor of the coup to help with cleaning.
    Walking around the garden collecting poo (have to do this for dog also) takes only 5 mins.

    Jan
    Last edited by witch-1; 05-09-2007 at 02:03 PM.
    Jan A novice gardener - first year of growing

  5. #5
    OverWyreGrower's Avatar
    OverWyreGrower is offline Early Fruiter
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    Hiya

    Welcome to the Vine!

    I find that if you've got chickens in an ark or run, the ground gets mashed up pretty quickly. When we went away recently, my mum chicken-sat for us, but didn't move the ark around. Within 4 days the ground was completely bare, no plant life at all, with huge great holes and craters in. They will strip lawn grass sooner I think, as ours are on a piece of weed-filled field, and it's pretty tough stuff. We currently move the ark every day, and it seems to be taking (at the moment) about 2 weeks for the used patch to grow again.

    I'd say on a daily basis when I'm not cleaning them out, it's about half an hour tops. Let them out and feed in a morning, go and shut thm up at night.

    Cleaning is about 20 mins 2 or 3 times a week - be prepared, chickens poo loads! I can't believe how much poo they do, and we've only got 4!

    However, I love collecting the eggs (about 3 or 4 a day) and don't mind all the chicken poo as it just goes on my compost

  6. #6
    Birdie Wife's Avatar
    Birdie Wife is offline Cropper
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    Hi HerbGardener,

    Chickens are great value and if you have even a bit of space, I would say go for it. Generally chickens need about 3 sq ft of space each outside and 1 sq ft each inside a coop whcih sounds not a lot - and it isn't - so really they appreciate as much space as you can give them. If you've got 20 x 20 ft, that gives you 400 sq ft to play with, so I'd divide it into two and move the ark every 6 months to the fresh ground. Chickens love to scratch around and a small bit of lawn will get trashed fairly swiftly, hence keeping the ark on the move.

    For more placid hens I would go for bantam versions of almost any 'heavy' breed (large fowl chickens are classified into heavy, light and game breeds), which includes wyandottes (my bantam wyandottes are the most docile hens I have), maran and sussex, which are all considered good layers. Check out feathersite.com for comprehensive descriptions of virtually every known breed of chicken!

    You can get chickens at any time of the year, but most will take a break from laying over the winter and start again in the spring, so it's worth getting your ark and run sorted out over the winter months and buying the hens in March - April time, when they'll be coming round to laying again. This saves you having to feed them and have the hassle of keeping them over a winter when you'll get very few eggs, if any.

    PS Welcome to the Vine!
    Last edited by Birdie Wife; 05-09-2007 at 03:34 PM.

    Dwell simply ~ love richly

  7. #7
    Dotty Chick is offline Seedling
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    Hi Herb gardener
    Glad to hear you are wanting chicken, such good fun. I agree with the others that have already posted their views, they don't take much looking after. They do dig holes, have dust bath in the soil and get poo everywhere! But they are great to watch and enjoy and that's where they are time consuming. They are great to watch when they are having their dust baths and will come and sit with you if you are lucky. If you have kids, they are great pets. If you get a placid breed (not sure what ones they are but Buff Orpingtons are great).
    Its also great for the kids to get the eggs too, mine get very excited (so do I). I try and get mine to help me clean up the poo(the kids that it not the chickens!). I'll let you know when that happens!!!
    Good luck in your decision making
    Dotty

  8. #8
    Snadger's Avatar
    Snadger is online now Gardening Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdie Wife View Post
    Hi HerbGardener,

    Chickens are great value and if you have even a bit of space, I would say go for it. Generally chickens need about 3 sq ft of space each outside and 1 sq ft each inside a coop whcih sounds not a lot - and it isn't - so really they appreciate as much space as you can give them. If you've got 20 x 20 ft, that gives you 400 sq ft to play with, so I'd divide it into two and move the ark every 6 months to the fresh ground. Chickens love to scratch around and a small bit of lawn will get trashed fairly swiftly, hence keeping the ark on the move.

    For more placid hens I would go for bantam versions of almost any 'heavy' breed (large fowl chickens are classified into heavy, light and game breeds), which includes wyandottes (my bantam wyandottes are the most docile hens I have), maran and sussex, which are all considered good layers. Check out feathersite.com for comprehensive descriptions of virtually every known breed of chicken!

    You can get chickens at any time of the year, but most will take a break from laying over the winter and start again in the spring, so it's worth getting your ark and run sorted out over the winter months and buying the hens in March - April time, when they'll be coming round to laying again. This saves you having to feed them and have the hassle of keeping them over a winter when you'll get very few eggs, if any.

    PS Welcome to the Vine!
    Thanks for the site info BW....it's been duly added to my favourites list!

    PS I'm intending getting chooks in March 2008 and I worked that date out all by my self! I was quite chuffed when you recommended March-April!
    My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
    to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)
    Diversify & prosper!


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