Keeping Chickens


The chicken revolution - One family's experience



Keeping chickens is something that was often taken for granted just a couple of generations ago. I can certainly remember my grandparents keeping their own chickens as well as growing much of their own food. However, the era of cheap energy and mass-produced food led to a rapid decline in chicken keeping. Thankfully, more and more people are now starting to realise the benefits, especially now that more recent innovations have made keeping your own chickens easier than ever.

We first started keeping chickens two years ago. The motive was simply to have our own eggs and to bring a bit of life to the garden, especially for our two young children. However, we little realised the many advantages that come from keeping chickens. Not only do we have a ready supply of eggs but the quality is immeasurably better than the mass produced battery fare that passes for eggs in most of our supermarkets these days. Additionally, chickens are great recyclers and will eat a host of kitchen scraps. This not only cuts down on waste but helps produce wonderful garden compost. During the peak laying season in spring and summer we have surplus eggs to give to friends and family. Moreover, with food prices soaring and increasing concerns regarding climate change, collecting your own eggs from the garden is an easy way to save money and cut down on food miles.

Although chickens are easy to keep, there are a few things you need to consider beforehand. Foxes can be a problem after dark. In our case we bought the innovative Eglu (www.omlet.co.uk). This is a brilliant design which is really easy to clean and comes with its own run in which to keep the chickens safe at all times although ours normally roam free during the day. This is also good if you are away from home for a few days but for longer periods you will need a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on things and top up the food and water. Ready-made poultry houses are also available via www.forshamcottagearks.com. You will also need to keep chickens away from any vegetables you grow.

However, the many benefits outweigh these concerns. If you would like to know more feel free to contact me (Patrick Cleary) on 0151 632 5366 or email: cleary[at]phonecoop.coop




Other info



Chicken pellets can be obtained from from Larton Farm on Frankby Road. Organic feed is usually available.

See also www.lowimpact.org/topics_poultry.htm