join me.. “puuu cuuukkk” (that’s a chicken noise! Well, you spell it!)
Choose Your Chook
With a rise in people wanting to ‘do their part’ by raising their own chickens why not go one step further and rescue a battery hen? There are many charities around that are looking for loving homes for ex-battery hens. These charities will get your birds for you and give you all the help and advice you need to care for your new (probably bald) chicken. How to encourage them to ‘be a chicken’ and how to ensure their feathers grow back successfully. These birds are usually available for a donation each to the charity in question. These hens may not lay as regularly as ‘normal’ chickens but you will still get a good egg supply, think of them as being about half as regular as a non-ex-battery and you should be fine.
The more traditional looking chicken experience would be something in wood. There are many, many companies online that would be able to supply you with your chicken coop check online. Also check out your local garden or DIY centre as many of the bigger names are beginning to stock up on a small selection of coops. These coops also lend them selves to being for free range or run enclosed birds. Either have no run fitted at all or allow them freedom from the run when you are happy that they can. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where there are existing sheds then perhaps the way to go is a shed conversion. Ensure that the shed is secure and draft proof, although some ventilation is necessary to prevent respiratory problems. Add a chicken sized door and a ramp if needed and some roosts. Plans for converting sheds can be found online once again and should supply you with everything you need to know about what your chickens require from a coop. There are also available plans to build your own coop from scratch so if you are handy with a hammer then this could be a great way to save money!
Remember plastic is more expensive than wood but wood will need to be treated to make it weather proof. Wooden coops tend to be cooler in the summer and are simpler to repair, but plastic models are better in the fight against Red Spider Mite.
When choosing a house try to find coops and runs that have
- good access, preferably from both ends
- nest-boxes with their own external access to allow the removal of eggs
- consider shutters to prevent birds using the nest-boxes to sleep in at night
- if you need to move the coop make sure it has sturdy carrying handles and/or wheels