Hello All image

I was wondering how many of you keep chickens? I would love to keep three battery rescue ones but I want to know the facts fully as it is really hard to get my partner to agree!!

He feels they are dirty, make a mess, attract rats and will take a lot of caring for. On top of that will ruin the garden and we don’t have the space for them!

Can anyone give me an idea on the size I would need, if they are dirty, amount of care etc??

I feel I am not going to win the battle but would like to know peoples honest thoughts on keeping them!

I also have a cat so is it possible to keep them with a cat?

Thank you! image



  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    My friends keep several of them and I've helped with them a fair bit.

    They need fencing in - possibly in a run (made of chicken wire, naturally) of say 15 x 4 feet which you move around.  The mess they make is confined to where they are, of course, and you can move the house & run onto ground you want weeded and fertilised and they'll do that for you.  Depending on numbers and size of the run, it'll need to be moved every few days.  4' high or put a lid on it, even though you'll've clipped their wings.  A bigger enclosure, if you have room, means less work in the long run.

    Most of the droppings will be in the chicken house and when you clean it out from time to time they'll make a great compost activator. I seriously doubt if they attract rats, and they won't get in through the wire anyway.

    They will scratch up the soil and eat the plants and seeds wherever they are, so you need to keep them out of cultivated bits of the garden.  They'll eat pests too, including slugs.  Rather them than me.

    Care: they need letting out of their house as soon after dawn as you can manage, and shutting in at dusk.  If you want them to go to bed earlier you'll need to lure them in with food.  Feed and water every day or two, unless you have a feeder that'll ration it for longer. Collect eggs daily.  Move the house and run when necessary and clean out the house now and then.

    The biggest problems are foxes and buzzards, or whatever your local bird of prey is.  If your cat's a hunter......well, my friends' cat is but eats mostly rabbits and smaller mammals.  I suspect a chicken's size and claws would put off all bt the most determined moggy.

    There are lots of books, and probably people on here who know a lot more than I do, when they get in later on!

    Good luck!

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 2,783

    Hi Pinkypoo,

    I've got 3 ex battery hens, started off with 4 that I got last June.

    I got them through the British Hen Welfare Trust; if you have a look at their website it'll give you loads of info, and that is where you can get your birds from if you decide to go ahead.

    I second everything Steve309 has said, apart from I don't keep a lid on mine or clip their wings but I think much depends on the character of your birds whether they want to explore or not.

    Be aware they may have health problems- one of mine had a bone infection which I had to treat her for, and during medication the eggs cannot be consumed.

    Much depends on what you want your birds for; mine are just pets so it doesn't really matter if they lay or not.

    Ref the cats, I wouldn't worry about it tbh. I've got 5 cats and they are wary of the chickens. They are large and fierce and they fight with a pack mentality- if one goes for a cat they all do. By and large all is peaceful though.

    Hope this has been of some help- I'll be happy to help more if I can image



  • landgirl100landgirl100 Posts: 655

    If you are a beginner, I would recommend avoiding the rescue chickens and getting some healthy hybrids from a breeder. Rescue chickens can be rewarding, but do take extra care and attention and have their own problems. However, don't let me put you off, any chickens are better than none! They are normally very little trouble, I take food and water to mine in the mornings and shut them up at night. They have the run of a small paddock, I don't let them near the cultivated part of the garden. My neighbour is happy to look after them when I go away in return for the eggs!

  • I have 2 Chickens (lost one recently due  to an intestinal tumour ).......they live at the top of my garden...........a space of 40 foot by 25 foot with a shed of approx. 6 feet by 4 feet.  This space has trees, shrubs and various plants and yes, they do scratch and peck so best not to have planting that you really care forimage

    I feed them plenty of green stuff and occasionally, they have the run of the whole garden so they can eat the grass/lawn.

    Provided they are cleaned out regularly and their food is cleared up, I don't think they attract either rats or mice.  If you have either rodent already in situ, that is a slightly different matter and they will take full advantage of a nice warm shed and food on tapimage

    Like any animal, chickens are a tie if you want to go away for a while.....however, a nice neighbour can often be prevailed upon to let the chickens out in the morning and shut them up at night, keep their food topped up, etc., in exchange for some nice fresh eggs image

    Re the cats............I don't have cats but my neighbours my experience, the cats will detour around the chickens given the option.  Cats are cowards really and will not bother a full grown chicken.  More hazardous are foxes and badgers.

    As for Battery chickens.......I did try that route but was told that unless I was willing to take 6 chickens, it was a no no.  Perhaps it is different according to area.

    My remaining 2 chickens are Beechwood Blue and Speckledy.  Both really good layers but the speckledy can have a tendency towards broodiness and is much less willing to be handled.

    Hope this helps


  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    Just wondering what the average life expectancy of a chicken is?

  • Like anything else........much depends on lifestyle............6 to 8 years in a good captive environment  wouldn't be a bad guess perhaps ?


  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Victoria Sponge, what a lovely chicken house! And what a lovely thing to do in making the extra effort with ex battery ones. Good on you.

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 2,783
    Forester2 wrote (see)

    Just wondering what the average life expectancy of a chicken is?

    Battery/ enriched cage chickens go for slaughter at 18 months as they're considered spent... ( that's when they can be rehomedimage)

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 2,783

    Tootles imageimage

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
Sign In or Register to comment.