12 of the best
Keeping chickens by Garden Club member – Glenda Sullivan
A dozen of Glenda’s lovely eggs – Don’t you love how the date is written on each egg. they are a delight to cook with and have lovely rich coloured yolks. Ed.
Keeping chickens in your backyard is fun and who doesn’t like a fresh free-range egg for breakfast?
Things you should do first :-
* check with your local council regarding how many you can have for your backyard
* decide where you’re going to keep them. They will need a place to go at night where they will be safe from predatory animals, and dry and free from draft. Aside from keeping your chickens safe, another good reason for confining them is to protect your garden. If given complete liberties in a garden, a couple of chooks can devastate the vegetables and flowers in no time!
Nevertheless, chickens and gardens can go very well together, provided they are properly managed and controlled.
*A coop – as long as the chickens have room to perch without bumping their heads, they don’t really care if the coop is 3′ or 9′ high. But you might. If you decide to build a fairly large coop, you will be much happier with it if you make it tall enough to walk into with comfort.
*Perches – chickens need to roost at night on off-the-ground perches and these should be thick enough to get a good grip by curling their toes around it.
*The ‘run’ – the larger and greener the area in which chickens can roam around during the day, the better it is for them. Make sure there is enough sun and shade to keep them happy.
Chickens love to dust themselves. They will lie on their sides and flap around in the dirt. This helps to keep them clean as well as to help kill some of the vermin that crawl on their bodies, so it is important that they have a place where they can dust.
*Nesting boxes – most chickens prefer something up off the ground, in a darkened, secluded area with straw to keep the eggs clean and from getting broken. You might like to provide a way to collect the eggs from outside the coop.
*Feed – prepared chicken feeds are designed to provide a balanced diet, plus you can give them kitchen scraps (chickens love fresh greens) and foraging around the yard for bugs and insects is also good for them.
*Water – remember always leave plenty of fresh water for your chickens.
*Shell grit – this gives the chickens calcium and makes their eggshells stronger. Purchase from a produce store and give a small amount in their feed daily.
If you provide your chickens with a clean and healthy environment, a good variety of foods, and plenty of loving care, it should be easy and enjoyable for everyone.
one of Glenda’s girls (Brownie)
Glenda’s chook shed.
Article and photos from Glenda – Edited by ellbee