Should you keep chickens?

Keeping chickens in your garden is a fast growing trend in the  UK. Over the past decade the price and taste of fruit, vegetables and eggs have changed enormously. Today the eggs and so called fresh produce found in the supermarket is far more expensive and taste much worse than it used to. If you have a fairly large garden keeping chickens is a great way of producing flavoursome free range eggs that your family can enjoy all year round. There is some work involved in rearing chickens so in order to make an informed decision as to whether keeping chickens is right for you I’ve compiled a list of the main pro’s and con’s of keeping chickens. Pro’s – Why you should keep chickens!

  • Great pets or hobby – Chickens are fantastic pets that not only produce yummy eggs but also are great for teaching your children about responsibility.
  • Save money – For a family of four, three chickens will easily keep you in constant supply of eggs throughout the year after the initial cost of buying a chicken coop and bedding, chicken maintenance throughout the year is extremely low. All you will need to purchase is chicken food.
  • Nutritional benefits – Home kept chickens have a far better diet than both batter hens and commercial free range birds. Nutritionally a home reared chicken will produce far better eggs that will not have the same level of dangerous drugs, hormones and antibiotics that are found in mass farmed hen eggs.
  • Taste – free range home produce eggs taste far better than any egg you will buy at the supermarket.

Con’s – Why you shouldn’t keep chickens!

  • If your garden is too small. It’s not fair to keep your chickens cooped up all day long. They need space to roam around and graze.
  • Waste – Chicken produce quite a lot of poop, you will need to regularly clean this from your garden so there is a little bit of work involved in keeping them.
  • Holidays – Like any other pet you need to ensure that your chickens are looked after by a trustworthy friend or neighbour whilst you are on holiday.
  • Noise – Some people may find chickens too noisy especially if they are not reaping the benefits of their fresh produce. If your neighbours live in close proximity to your garden pop over before you buy the chickens and check that they are happy for you to have these beautiful birds clucking next door. It may also be worthwhile sharing some of your fresh eggs with them in order to keep them on side.
  • Other animals – Foxes, cats and dogs are likely to chase your chickens and so must be taken into consideration before you purchase your hens.

For a great range of chicken coops visit my pet houses section at Jacks Garden Store. I have also written other information pages about chickens which you may find useful which can be viewed at Jacks blog. Good Luck! Gardener  Jack

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