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New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:37 pm
by Tricky78
Good Day,

My wife and I are looking to get 4 chickens for our back garden.

We are looking at the Eglu Cube as it looks easy to clean and reduces the likelihood of getting redmite.

We have two children aged 7 and 10.

Which hens would you recommend for novices and that will be good with children.

Many thanks.

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:34 am
by valeriebutterley
Because my hatchlings were a slow growing lot, I bought two Lohmann browns from a fairly local store. £12.50 each point of lay, they were delightful
and still are. Settled in immediately so having bought them before lunch I let them out in the afternoon, they are so calm and placid and friendly I would recommend them to anyone with children.

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:59 am
by Marigold
hi Tricky and welcome to the forum. We have another member, Bozza just setting out on his chicken-keeping journey, and on p.2 of another thread there are some replies about what sort of chickens to choose for a new flock, see viewtopic.php?f=124&t=11013&start=20

Four is a good number for your family - if you choose hybrids you'll be getting 3-4 eggs a day for the first year and nearly that in the second year. After that it'll drop off a bit but will still be worthwhile.

If you browse the Houses, Runs and Equipment section, there's lots of discussion about what sort of coop to get, and also what size and sort of run. If you're thinking of keeping four hens in the run attached to the Omlet cube, this would be good for protection against foxes at night, but not large enough for them to live in all the time. The Cube is expensive and has some disadvantages in my opinion, but there are alternatives. We recommend 2 sq. metres of run space per bird, for many reasons, so for 4 hens you need 8 sq. metres of run or a good -sized area for them to free range in. Chickens are incredibly messy, they poo a lot and will scratch up any grass they live on - don't be taken in by those Omlet photos of chickens on an immaculate lawn!

Good luck with your research, do let us know what you decide and feel welcome to add more questions as your thinking develops.

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:30 pm
by Tricky78
Thanks for the detailed replies.

I'll take a look over the links and advice offered. I did chuckle when i saw the pictures of immaculate lawns on the eglu promo video.

My only concern about keeping hens in a permanent run/coop was what type of ground would be best.

I dont want it to be muddy which the gather the hens won't like and in turn will smell.

Any advice is appreciated.

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:43 pm
by Marigold
A permanent run with a freestanding coop can be a good option if it's large enough and has a roof with a gutter to keep the floor dry, and will avoid the muddy poo problem. My roofed run has the floor covered with permeable weed proofing fabric to prevent the hens from scratching up the earth, and then has about 4ins of Aubiose on top. I poo pick this daily, along with the coop floor, and it takes less than 5 minutes to keep everything reasonably clean. When we got the roof on, after a very wet spell 10 years ago, it made such a difference. The run now has its own dry and welcoming microclimate, and the hens benefit from going to roost with dry feathers, avoiding damp air and condensation in the coop, which can cause bronchial disease. You can let them out into the garden if you like, or keep them inside over winter when the grass isn't growing to prevent them totally destroying the garden. If the run is secure, you can leave the pophole open all the time, so they can come and go as and when they want, (from dawn at 5.00a.m in summer.)

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:18 pm
by Tricky78
Thanks for the replies, it really is appreciated.

We are going to see a breeder at his farm tomorrow so will pick his brain.

https://www.chickencoopsdirect.com/suss ... e-with-run

Has anyone used these coops and runs? Would ot suffice for 3 hens?

We would let them out for a few hours to roam the garden.

Re: New to Chickens - Advice please

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:33 pm
by Tweetypie
Hi Tricky. My coop is similar to this and I have 4 hens who share it comfortably. My OH made a 20 foot square run with tall fencing. It has a large dustbath for nice weather and a small home made shelter with apex roof covered with thick plastic sheeting and soil inside to bathe in, to use in winter. The ground is paved with slabs, so no foxes can get in. I do let them loose in my garden sometimes. I give them greens every day and the rest of the year grass clippings to amuse themselves in.