A hen in the garden, the pleasure of picking up fresh eggs! Having one or two chickens in your garden has several advantages:
First of all, the pleasure of having animals that are easy to breed, rustic, and sometimes very exotic: some, like silk hens, have magnificent plumage, out of the ordinary. Secondly, you are sure to have fresh eggs.
A chicken lays one eff a day! There is no need to have a rooster with your chickens, as long as you do not want to breed, as there is no need for mating for a hen to lay eggs; they will just not be fertilized. The number of eggs varies according to the breed of the chicken, but is between 150 and 300 per year.
If you wish to buy a rooster, remember that it sings at dawn (and even a little before sometimes!), or when there is a noise. The rooster’s singing is very pleasant, but may quickly become a source of conflict with neighbours.
Consider this before purchase…
A corner in the garden is usually reserved for hen habitat. Within a wire fence is placed a henhouse, that allows your chickens to shelter in the evening and have a nest of straw to lay eggs. The wire fence defines the field of action of hens and protects them from predators. The problem is that in a few weeks, the soil within the enclosure is nothing more than an dirt floor. It will quickly be ‘laid bare’ by a team of very active hens!
For the well-being of your chickens, they must be able to freely access, during the day, a garden that will allow them to ‘stretch’ their legs, perch in trees, snort in the ground and peck in all corners. In addition to freedom, the garden will provide a variety of nutritional elements (animal proteins, gravel…) necessary for these omnivorous animals. A diet without animal protein would be detrimental to their health.
Open the pen during day (if you are not near a road and if the hens cannot go to the neighbours…). Hens, who love to scratch the earth, will find small snails, slugs, earthworms, chippings, grass and insects, and in the evening, they will find the way to the chicken coop. Remember to close it at night to prevent weasels and foxes from entering.
In the evening, the shelter in which your hens are housed must be large enough to accommodate one or more nests depending on the number of hens you have. There is usually one nest for 4 to 7 hens.
If they have the choice, hens sleep perched. We recommend about 18cm of perch length per hen. If you place several perches, the dominant hen will go to the top perch.
Pecking in perspective if a young hen ventures on the upper floors! So you must understand that perches placed at different heights are necessary to satisfy the group. This is not always possible given the small size of hen houses sold as a kit.
Household waste management, which continues to increase, is a problem that concerns us all.
Raising a few chickens can significantly reduce the volume of organic waste, as a hen can consume nearly 150kg of it per year!
All that remains is to build a beautiful, functional hen house in the garden, and to choose the new tenants who will delight young and old!
Some basic rules are necessary to keep your poultry in good shape.
Ask your vet for advice on which complementary foods and treatments are needed to keep your hens healthy.