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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!

  • 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



    Wearside, England.
  • 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!

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

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

  • 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.

  • 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)

    Wearside, England.
  • Tootles imageimage

    Wearside, England.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 3,277
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  • PinkypooPinkypoo Posts: 32

    Hello all

    Thank you so much for your advise and help on this! I do think our garden would be to small sadly due to having to move them around. We dont have a massive area of grass and what we do have would soon be turned to mud!

    I didnt think the cat would be a problem, he is a hunter but from what I have read before they dont tend to bother with chickens!

    I think it will just have to be a dream of mine for now image

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    I'm joining you in the dream Pinky.  I've always wanted goats too!

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