An introduction to chickens

Chickens are very inquisitive birds and often have their own quirky characters.

They are an increasingly popular pet to keep in back gardens, with them easily becoming very tame and part of the family. Chickens are perfect for all ages to enjoy, ex-commercial hens are especially rewarding as you can watch them grow and develop into healthy birds, with many owners regarding their chickens as a part of the family.

There are many things to consider when taking on chickens, these fast facts will provide you with some basic information to help you decide if chickens are for you.

Fast facts

Chicken companionship

Chickens need to live with at least two other chickens, the best mix is a trio or more hens or a cockerel with two or more hens.

Life expectancy of chickens

Chickens can live for 4-12 years depending on the breed.

Accommodation for chickens

Chickens need lots of space to keep them fit, healthy and happy, the ideal size should consist of:

  • A 4ft by 3ft (121cm by 91cm) or bigger coop with nest boxes for three medium chickens.
  • If unable to free range, then attached to the coop a 10ft long by 5ft wide (305cm by 152cm) run attached for daytime exploring.

Food for chickens

Layers pellets with corn and vegetables as treats. They will also enjoy piles of logs in their enclosure for them to ‘bug hunt’. Fresh water should be available all day alongside a bowl of grit/oyster shell to aid digestion.

Chicken health

Chickens require worming every three months, a weekly inspection for common mites and lice should also be carried out. Chickens can sometimes have complications with producing eggs or problems with their crop, so it is wise to research into common health concerns.

Are chickens family-friendly?

Chickens can make an excellent addition to any family with all ages, they can become very friendly and enjoy following you round the garden and even popping in the house. Care should be taken with introductions around predator species such as cats and dogs.

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