Monday, December 15, 2008

Keeping Chickens

I attended a meeting of the Food Gardeners Alliance the other day, which was very interesting, raising many issues such as the new water restrictions in Victoria, developing governmental policy and some hints and tips. One of the attendees then delivered a talk on keeping Chickens in your back yard, something that requires less space than you may think, so here's a few hints and tips...
  • Firstly Investigate and double check your local council's policy on keeping animals, there's no point getting everything in place to then find you've done something illegal and having to get rid of all your hard work.
  • Chickens will eat scraps of food, in fact pretty much anything you feed them, such as newspaper and other bits of non-toxic rubbish.
  • As with most other species in the animal kingdom, what goes in, comes out at the other end and Chicken manure is extremely good for the garden.
  • It's probably not a good idea to keep Roosters, especially in smaller properties, they're noisy, aggressive and don't give you any eggs!
  • Check the closeness of coups to neighbouring properties and also check with your neighbors before going ahead with keeping chickens, again there's no point embarking on an endeavour and then being forced to stop due to a neighbourly complaint.
  • Keep the chickens, coup and their surrounding area clean and pests under control with normal and cheap powders and tablets from your vet. If a chicken is very ill or dies, take it to a vet straight away do discover the cause and to prevent spreading.
  • Keep the coup secure to save the chickens from foxes, mice and rats. Don't cut back on costs by using low gauge netting, wire or locks. Keeping the coup clean and free of excess food will help keep away rodents.
  • Chickens food consumption and egg production depends on many things including season, light, temperature and what you feed them.
  • Aside from pellets, they need greens and vegetables. Silver beet is great for this, feeding fresh vegetables means more yellow yolks and protein filled eggs.
  • Where do you get your chickens from : From farms, $15-30 per chicken on point of laying, or somewhat past it for $1.50, but these chickens will have a lower egg production
  • A Chicken's Good laying time is between 2 and 15 years.
  • To stop Chickens flying, trim the edges of their feathers, this puts them off balance and stops them flying.
  • There's no real minimum for space, but the larger space and run the better.
  • You will need at least 2, chickens are social animals.
Interested in finding out more, take a look at

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