Things to Consider Before Keeping Chickens

"Before rushing out and buying some chickens and a shiny new hen-house, there are a few things you need to consider. If you are someone who struggles to get through a whole box of eggs before they go off or you??don't like birds and in fact the thought of anything that flaps around fills you with horror, then keeping chickens is not for you.??

If you love eggs and all things feathered that's great but there are a few??other considerations you should bear in mind:????

There is more to looking after chickens than collecting the odd egg.??

Just like any other pets you will need??to care??for your chickens every day. But unlike a dog which you can hand over to the local kennel while you go on holiday or take it??with you,??you will have to??organise for someone??to come and care for your??chickens in your absence. This should not be too difficult as caring for chickens??is relatively simple and neighbours can often be bribed??with the promise??of??fresh daily eggs.

Can you give your chickens a good home???

Chickens are not??demanding creatures,??give them a good balanced diet, water, a clean, dry secure henhouse??and preferably a run where they can scratch and stretch??and they will be happy.

How will existing pets react???????

If you already have pets, especially cats or dogs, consider??their personalities, will free-range hens be too much of?? a temptation for them? However most cats and dogs learn to leave hens alone after the first couple of pecks. But if you think it is going to be a problem you will have to provide a strong chicken coop and run to??keep your other pets out.??Foxes are of course also a problem and will catch a chicken??in broad daylight given the chance. Foxes are not just a problem to chicken keepers in the country as they are now found in even greater numbers in urban areas.

Are you allowed to keep chickens???

Always make sure that the??deeds or lease for your home allows you to keep them. You will be surprised how many expressly forbid the??keeping of livestock and chickens. In addition your local county or state may have??by-laws concerning chickens. So always check first before you order your chickens.????

Should you tell the neighbours???

Neighbours will immediately think of being woken up at dawn by a cockerel and not be happy. However??most people keep chickens without a cockerel, as you don't need one for your hens to lay??eggs, only if you want to raise your own chickens. Unless you plan on having a large flock or are keen on actually hatching your own chicks (which the kids will want)??there is very little reason to keep one.??

As long as you keep your coop clean, there will be no bad smells to bother them either. Clip your chickens wings and they are also unlikely to be found amongst their prize blooms, so all should be well. You can also keep your neighbours onside with a regular supply of eggs, which in addition??will??make them more amiable when it come to your holiday time.??

How much free time do you have???

Looking after chickens is not very time-consuming but you do have to check them  will need to??check your chickens in the morning??and again just before sunset, to put them safely into their coop for the night. The coop also needs to be cleaned??each week, however modern coops make this task easy.

If you are happy that none of the points above are a problem then you should start considering what types of chicken and how many you want??to keep."

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