chickens! should i get some?

I am trying to convince my wife to get some chickens.I am thinking of getting a second hand coup with about 4 chickens.but how much time do I dedicate to them,as I have two young children and a puppy now.

Are they cheap to feed? How many eggs do they lay as we eat around 20 eggs a week?

I have heard they go off the lay in winter. Is there anything else I need to know?

Any advice will be much appreciated.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,722

    Not sure how many chicken keepers there are on here - I used to keep poultry on the smallholding, but have never kept just a few, so I couldn't give you a breakdown of costs etc.  

    This is a brilliant forum where I'm sure you'll find everything you could ever need to know about keeping chickens


    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Thanks

  • I've had chickens for 17 years (not the same ones!). They take up very little time and the children would benefit - they love to collect the eggs! Four is a good number.

    Feed is quite cheap, I buy a sack of layers' pellets which lasts about 6 weeks and costs £6.75, and a sack of mixed corn which lasts twice as long (ie you only feed half as much to the chickens).

    I only clean mine out properly when they really need it, in between I "poop-pick" - that's just collecting the poop that has gone in the nest box or in the middle of the floor. I put seed trays under where they roost at night so I can just whip them out and empty as required. Even a full clean only takes half an hour or so.

    Chickens will lay most days when they are young, and hybrids do lay throughout the winter - pure breeds not so much. As they get older they lay less eggs.

    You have to be prepared for some losses - Mr. Fox has called twice, causing major carnage, and sometimes hens just die for no apparent reason. Also you have to arrange a chicken-sitter if you go away.

    I find chickens very rewarding, it's great to watch them scratching around (mine free-range) but they can dig up your plants in their search for worms and bugs. Their used bedding makes great compost when added to the heap. Go for it - it's (nearly) all good!

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,081

    Cotty1000, the way the question is worded it almost sounds as if the idea of having chickens is something of a passing fancy and something you have so far given little real though to.  Apologies if that is a misinterpretation.

    People here can provide an insight into the amount of time and the cost, but we are talking about livestock here - 'live' being the most important aspect.  They will be there 7 days a week, 52 weeks as year and, like a pet, have to be looked after at all times.  Have you considered what happens if you go on holiday for a couple of weeks for example?

    I'm not saying don't get them, I am just saying consider all the implications.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,722

    I would just mention that puppies and chickens don't always mix - you'll have to be prepared for some proper puppy training so he/she knows that chickens are 'off limits'. image

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Emma1978Emma1978 Posts: 202

    lol my English Mastiff knows that if she chases my lovely ladies, she will be in the dog house image

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