As you may have seen, we have two chickens that we keep at home in our garden. I thought I’d take you through what we do with the chickens on a daily basis.
During the summer months, we don’t tend to shut the chicken house up at night. This is to help with ventilation and to avoid having to get up at stupid-o’clock in the morning to let them out. They have been pretty noisy early in the morning until we’ve let them out before and as we live in a mid terraced house, I didn’t want the neighbours to have issue with us keeping chickens. So when it starts getting light very early and the nights are nice and warm, we have found that the ‘girls’ are happy to come out early and just potter around until 6:30-7:30am when we go out and feed them.
We use a ‘layers mix’ pellet feed that we buy from a local farm supplies store. It’s only about £3.50-£4 a bag and a bag generally lasts about a month so certainly doesn’t break the bank! The girls get a cup of food in the morning, we sprinkle it around their ‘scratching bed’ (unless it’s very wet) so that it takes longer for them to eat it and is more interesting for them to have to ‘find’ the food.
We then clean the poo from the house and anything on the path. We used to put this straight in the compost bin but found it seemed to be slowing the rate of the composting process so now we are storing it in a seperated bucket and allowing it to dry out with the intention of using it down the allotment.
The girls rarely lay first thing in the morning, so cleaning the house out first thing helps to keep the eggs nice and clean. Their water is topped up daily and about once a week the water bowl is washed out thoroughly. Occasionally we add a few drops of Apple cider vinegar which is supposed to help stop the water getting a build up of algae and is supposed to be good for the chickens too. They seem to like the taste which is another plus! Later in the morning, if I’m home, I will go and look for eggs and often find some weeds, snails or surplus veg leaves (beetroot is a favourite) to give the chickens.
The aftenoon is generally when we let them out to roam the garden. We only have a small garden but there are plenty of nooks and crannies to find bugs, worms and vegetation to pick at and scratch about. Whenever I sweep up piles of leaves and soil, I tend to leave most of it in a corner somewhere, then the next time the girls are out they have something new to scratch at and there’s always plenty of bugs to find!
All it takes to get them back in their run is a small amount of feed in a cup (they seem to recognise the cup we use now and will follow it anywhere!) and a call of ‘ chook chook chook!’.