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I am trying to convince my wife to get some chickens.I am thinking of getting a second hand coup with about 4 chickens.but how much time do I dedicate to them,as I have two young children and a puppy now.

Are they cheap to feed? How many eggs do they lay as we eat around 20 eggs a week?

I have heard they go off the lay in winter. Is there anything else I need to know?

Any advice will be much appreciated.


Not sure how many chicken keepers there are on here - I used to keep poultry on the smallholding, but have never kept just a few, so I couldn't give you a breakdown of costs etc.  

This is a brilliant forum where I'm sure you'll find everything you could ever need to know about keeping chickens


I've had chickens for 17 years (not the same ones!). They take up very little time and the children would benefit - they love to collect the eggs! Four is a good number.

Feed is quite cheap, I buy a sack of layers' pellets which lasts about 6 weeks and costs £6.75, and a sack of mixed corn which lasts twice as long (ie you only feed half as much to the chickens).

I only clean mine out properly when they really need it, in between I "poop-pick" - that's just collecting the poop that has gone in the nest box or in the middle of the floor. I put seed trays under where they roost at night so I can just whip them out and empty as required. Even a full clean only takes half an hour or so.

Chickens will lay most days when they are young, and hybrids do lay throughout the winter - pure breeds not so much. As they get older they lay less eggs.

You have to be prepared for some losses - Mr. Fox has called twice, causing major carnage, and sometimes hens just die for no apparent reason. Also you have to arrange a chicken-sitter if you go away.

I find chickens very rewarding, it's great to watch them scratching around (mine free-range) but they can dig up your plants in their search for worms and bugs. Their used bedding makes great compost when added to the heap. Go for it - it's (nearly) all good!

Cotty1000, the way the question is worded it almost sounds as if the idea of having chickens is something of a passing fancy and something you have so far given little real though to.  Apologies if that is a misinterpretation.

People here can provide an insight into the amount of time and the cost, but we are talking about livestock here - 'live' being the most important aspect.  They will be there 7 days a week, 52 weeks as year and, like a pet, have to be looked after at all times.  Have you considered what happens if you go on holiday for a couple of weeks for example?

I'm not saying don't get them, I am just saying consider all the implications.




I would just mention that puppies and chickens don't always mix - you'll have to be prepared for some proper puppy training so he/she knows that chickens are 'off limits'. 


lol my English Mastiff knows that if she chases my lovely ladies, she will be in the dog house 

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