We have inherited some battery hens. They are four dear little girls who I have named Olivia, Hebe, Rosemary and Marigold (pictures to follow) because they’re going to live near the herb garden.
We picked them up on Saturday from a couple who had rescued them, but had then decided to give up their birds because they were making a mess of their garden. They had not realized when they got the birds that they would dig around and make a mess of the flower beds. It was a bit sad really, chickens are not nice little ornaments for your garden, they dig and scratch and make a mess of the lawn given the chance. They make a lot of poo and can be noisy… but they can also be a joy to have around. They eat the bugs you don’t want in the garden, they are good company, they give you fresh eggs every day and they’re very, very funny.
If you’re thinking of getting chickens, ask yourselves:
- where are we going to put the house? can we sacrifice that patch of garden for the birds?
- how many birds will fit into the space I want to use? They are not tins and don’t stack well. If space is limited think about a house that goes over the top of a run. Three birds are great for a small garden or back yard, you should get between one and three eggs a day.
- will they free range? As I’ve said, chickens can make a mess… do you have time to round them in at night and let them out in the morning?
- do you have time for your birds? They will need fresh water and feed every day. They also need to be cleaned out – you can use the chicken poo in the garden its great for your compost . Plus, the more you handle and care for your birds the tamer they will be.