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  • Wanting to start keeping hens

    Hello. If, and it is a big if, i am able to acquire the half plant next to mine i will have the room to keep some hens. I do not want many maybe 6 at a maximum and i was thinking about rehoming some x bat hens. I am going to sign up for a course/talk/demonstration at Durham Hens about starting as a first step. I have been, obviously, looking around as to what is available to my future residents to call home. I was thinking a coop inside a large walk in run so that they will have plenty of secure space to exercise and explore. The coop would have to have an auto door opener/closer as my work hours can be a bit crazy at times and i feel this would be the best way to ensure the hens have as much outside time as possible.

    So. This is where i hope you all come with some helpful advice/pointers/recommendations as to products and websites that you have all had experience of in regards to coops, runs, feeders, drinkers and everything in-between.

    Looking forward to hearing your suggestions and thoughts.

    Andy

  • #2
    I take it you mean "half plot" next to yours. How often will you be able to visit them?
    A Chicken walks with small steps. Be more Chicken
    https://gardenchicken.blogspot.com/
    @realveggiechicken

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    • #3
      Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
      I take it you mean "half plot" next to yours. How often will you be able to visit them?
      Hehe yes i mean half plot. I could visit most evenings. Would be the odd occasion when i would have to miss an evening.

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      • #4
        Apart from the letting out and shutting in for the night you also need to remove the eggs daily, and, of course, check their feed and water levels.

        Have a read of the other threads about keeping chooks on the forum. There's a lot of basic advice there. However, we all tailor our coops/runs differently according to circumstances. There isn't a one size fits all option!!
        A Chicken walks with small steps. Be more Chicken
        https://gardenchicken.blogspot.com/
        @realveggiechicken

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        • #5
          Snadger kept hens on his plot....use run off water I think? Made a hanging feeder and a little fort
          Last edited by Scarlet; 25-04-2019, 09:53 PM. Reason: I really hate autocorrect

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          • #6
            Letting out and shutting away can be sorted with an automatic door opener. Works off light or a timer.

            Collecting eggs can be sorted with a neighbour... they just get to keep the eggs!

            Feed - use a treadle bin feeder to stop rodents eating the food and setting up home in the area. We've had hens since 2013 and no rats.
            Last edited by Stan79; 26-04-2019, 06:24 AM.

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            • #7
              I used to have chickens and initially when i started, had a large permanent run.
              I planned that the chickens would clear that area of weeds and pests, but i hadn't planned for how boggy/muddy/smelly the ground can become where the chickens roamed. So, I found the cheapest way to overcome this was to find a tree surgeon who was willing to drop off "free of charge" (or maybe a crate of beer) loads of wood chips to lay down on the boggy area and renew from time to time, eg every 9 months or so (adding a few inch more in september for winter)
              This wood chip mixed with chicken poop breaks down into the most fantastic compost that you can redistribute to another area or you can move the chicken run and start again to improve another area of the plot
              Last edited by MyWifesBrassicas; 26-04-2019, 07:13 AM. Reason: adding (or maybe a crate of beer)
              sigpic

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              • #8
                One concern for me would be fox proofing the run. They can climb netting!

                Having said that, you're going to love having them
                "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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                • #9
                  I don't keep chooks, but can I just say well done on doing your research, going on a course and asking the folk here. I suspect your hens are going to be very happy girls.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stan79 View Post
                    We've had hens since 2013 and no rats.
                    Really? I struggle to believe that.

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                    • #11
                      Treadle feeders here too but the rats still come looking.
                      A Chicken walks with small steps. Be more Chicken
                      https://gardenchicken.blogspot.com/
                      @realveggiechicken

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                      • #12
                        Rats are an inevitable product of keeping chickens, however they can be minimised withmany suggestions above.
                        Although i'm not a huge fan of cats, a neighbours cat loitered around my chicken run with me initially thinking it was tormenting my girls. When realising it was actually after the rodents, I provided some cover and a dry place to sit/hide to assist rodent reduction
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          The water, the chicken poo will also attract them and they even nicked my eggs one year.

                          I was meticulous with food....they chewed a little hole in my plastic bin that held the food. So I had to buy metal ones.

                          Yes, we used lots of ways to get rid but I also think it's inevitable. We just tried to keep the numbers down. Strange though...somethings they just vanished and would return several months later.

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                          • #14
                            They've chewed a hole through the bottom of the plastic chicken coop/kennel which has had to be repaired with a metal plate - twice.
                            A Chicken walks with small steps. Be more Chicken
                            https://gardenchicken.blogspot.com/
                            @realveggiechicken

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                            • #15
                              I have had chickens for four or five years now, and no rats. I think it helps that the coop is on concrete, and I have had up to eight cats, and the chicken run is very close to the house, so they'd have to get past the cats first. Never seen a rat, or any evidence of them since I got the chickens
                              https://nodigadventures.blogspot.com/

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