Keep Your own chickens
Dream of keeping hens? Here’s how to get started…
Secure your garden It should be fully enclosed so your chickens can’t escape.
choose a coop We like the Cube chicken coop and run pen, £94.99, Feelgooduk, because it’s great value and has a lift-up lid and slide-out waste tray for easy cleaning, a spacious run, two nesting boxes and two perches.
Stock up on the kit You’ll need a poultry feeder and drinker, £3.49 each, both Screwfix. You’ll also need old newspapers for lining the house, straw Sitting Buddha garden statue, £19.99, Sue Ryder
for a nest box, dustextracted wood shavings for bedding, a bag of layers pellets and some oyster shell grit, which hens need for calcium.
Buy your hens Visit a reputable breeder where you can see the hens free-ranging outside and choose your ‘point of lay’ pullets (that are just about to begin laying). Most start to lay eggs between 22-24 weeks. Clip their wings so they can’t fly away, and transport them in a cat basket or a cardboard box with air holes. prices vary – they can cost £5-£12.50
each for common breeds, and up to £40 each for more ‘designer’ ones.
Let them Settle in They may be traumatised after the journey, so give them peace and quiet. Keep them in their coop with food and water for a week, so they learn that it’s their home. Then, let them free-range around your garden. Whenever you visit them, give them some cooled cooked rice so they begin to love you. a roll-out fence (from £78.99 for 12m, omlet) is handy for containing them in one area.