If you are joining one of the many people in the UK getting chickens for your home, you must ensure that your home is prepared to welcome them. Whether you are adopting your hens or buying them from a breeder, you will need to provide them with a safe and secure environment, so they are happy. Chickens can make excellent pets and can get along with other pets you may already own. Below are some tips to help you get your home prepared to welcome your egg-laying hens to your home and ensure they will be happy when they arrive.
A Chicken Coop & Run
One of the first things you will need to consider is getting a chicken coop and a run for the bords to give them somewhere to live that will protect them. You can build this yourself, or you can find chicken coops for sale online, and you will need to ensure it is a suitable size for the flock of hens you will be getting. It will also need to keep them safe from predators and ensure they cannot get in and attack your hens. Whether you decide to build the chicken coop and chicken run yourself or purchase them online, you will need to ensure you locate it in a suitable place.
Placing Your Chicken Coop
You will need to place your chicken coop and their run where it is best for the birds, rather than what looks best in your garden. Ideally, you will want the door of your chicken coop facing south, which will maximise the sunlight the birds get, especially during the winter months. It needs to offer shelter from the elements but not have trees and bushes too close, which can encourage predators. Ensure the chicken run uses strong chicken wire to enclose it and cover the roof so birds of prey cannot attack your hens. You will also need to work out how much space you have to get a suitable number of birds and ensure they are not too crowded.
The Amount Of Space The Birds Will Require
Your hens must be comfortable in their surroundings to be productive egg layers, so you must ensure they are not crowded and have enough space for each bird. You will need to measure the internal floor space of your chicken house and work out how much space there is, as each bird will need around 30 squared centimetres of space. When roosting on a perch, each bird will require about 25 centimetres, and for the outside run, the hens will need one metre squared of space per bird.
What To Feed Your Chickens?
Many people think they can feed the chickens the leftover food from the kitchen, and while they will eat lots of things, food scraps are not healthy for them. You can feed chickens some items from your kitchen, including fruit and vegetables, and give them rice and pasta if cooked, but do not give them too much. It is best to purchase high-quality chicken feed for your hens and feed them this, and you can then supplement their diet with leftover fruit and vegetables from your kitchen.