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04/04/2014 at 17:05

My son's nursery have just had some chicks and are now looking to re-home them. We have agreed to have two and have done all the research etc.  Their run will be on wood/stone chips but they will be allowed to roam for a bit each day hopefully.  Our garden is roughly 100 feet long with grass, patio, shrubs, trees.  What kind of garden damage can I expect and how can I reduce it?  

04/04/2014 at 17:39

A reduction in slugs, vine weevils and leather jacket-type bugs that live in the soil.  

They'll scratch at your lawn to get at such things, but if you're around when they're out of their run they'll not do too much damage.  They may peck at some greenery but mainly out of curiosity - hens are very inquisitive.  Just keep them off seedbeds - little temporary fences of chicken wire and bamboo poles, or rather swisher stuff from here  https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_keeping/omlet_chicken_fencing/ that you can move about and place where you don't want them to go, will be fine.

I'm very envious - when I had the smallholding I had 60 rare breed poultry and odds & sods of bantams acquired somehow - I loved them - it was a toss-up between chickens or a pond in this garden, and the frogs don't mind if we go away on holiday 

Oh, when they're fully grown get someone to show you how to clip one wing on each of them, then they won't fly over your fences 

You have to re-do it each time they moult and grow new wing feathers. 

04/04/2014 at 17:59

Thanks Dove, that is a relief as you hear a lot of people moaning about how you can't have a garden and chickens.  I'm sure they will be less bother than our two year old! 

04/04/2014 at 18:19

...and produce more free-range eggs

04/04/2014 at 19:01
Mrs G wrote (see)

Thanks Dove, that is a relief as you hear a lot of people moaning about how you can't have a garden and chickens.  I'm sure they will be less bother than our two year old! 

Speaking as a mother (even if the toddlers are now very grown up) I can assure you they'll be much less bother - once you've shut them up for the night you won't hear a peep out of them. 

Get them into the habit of having a small feed of grain scattered in their run in the afternoon - that'll be good training for them to rush into the run for the treat and then you can shut them safely away. 

04/04/2014 at 19:45

Ha ha ha he is being a pain as we speak, wish he was as easy to put to bed!

05/04/2014 at 01:29

I know someone locally who lives in a large property with a couple of acres of land around the house for their 6 chickens to roam during the day but the chickens have totally destroyed their garden.

05/04/2014 at 06:05

And if you're interested in rats you might see a few!

05/04/2014 at 08:39

Always someone around to put a damper on! My only thought was, what if they turn out to be roosters? Enjoy your chickens, Mrs. G.

05/04/2014 at 08:50
Mark 499 wrote (see)

I know someone locally who lives in a large property with a couple of acres of land around the house for their 6 chickens to roam during the day but the chickens have totally destroyed their garden.

Mrs G's original post spoke about the chickens 'being allowed to roam for a bit each day' - not for them to be given unrestricted access to 2 acres!  Chickens have to be managed, which is why I spoke about fencing them out of some areas, and also getting them used to regular routines.  

Rats can be a problem if good food hygiene practices aren't followed - but Mrs G has read up on that.  Rat proof food storage and not leaving uneaten food about is the key. 

05/04/2014 at 09:19

Oi i heard that Mrs G your poor oldman a pain Never in life are we Ever a pain us men,

i think the chics sound great,all demeggs  oooh egg custard ,tart, egg an bacon sarny, from erin Sunny Norfolk good luck

05/04/2014 at 09:51

If they're roosters, Sue/Mrs G, you have a roast chicken dinner

(Although it might be a good idea to keep one in with the hens to keep  them on their toes.  I hate the things.  Nasty violent animals.  Better in the oven.)

05/04/2014 at 10:00

Hens are fine without a cockerel - one of the hens becomes 'boss'.  

As for cockerels, they're like men - some are lovely, some less so - I once had a fantastic Maran cockerel called Everest 'cos he was sooooo big!!!  He was a complete poppet 

05/04/2014 at 10:07

A chicken wandered past my window last evening. Must ask around the neighbours  to see if any missing. Fox dinner by now probably

05/04/2014 at 10:13

Maybe she's a broody with a hidden nest somewhere nearby Nut 

05/04/2014 at 10:29

I've always fancied the idea of rescuing a couple of battery hens, and letting them live in my garden, I've seen a couple of allotments with them, is it silly of me to think they might get lonely?

05/04/2014 at 10:49

My friends have kept chickens on and off for many years and have had some ex-battery hens.  Once they start growing feathers back and exploring, scratching and pecking they soon recover and provide eggs.  Have at least two - one all alone is reputed to get lonely.  Unsurprisingly.

But I thought those batteries had been phased out and it's all barns these days?

I was attacked by their cockerel (Cedric) once, causing me to drop the large basket of plums I'd just gathered.   You have to let them know who's boss, I believe, in the early days.

05/04/2014 at 10:50

Two or three would be fine SweetPea  - there are local rescue groups who can tell you all about it and what you would need, and also provide the hens.  A friend has had a couple of batches, they look pretty awful when they first arrive but soon grow new feathers and look the picture of health.

You will need secure fox-proof housing!!!  Wherever you live!!!

05/04/2014 at 11:00

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41537.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 How to stop them digging-up the garden.

05/04/2014 at 11:06

David 

Have you got some roasties and cranberrry to go with that? 

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