Tag Archives: Hobby Farms

How to protect chickens from foxes

This is a great article by Andy Blackmore and I thougbht would prove useful for all us poultry keepers!  You can read more of Andy’s great blogs HERE

Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping (Picture: Getty)
Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping

Even if you’ve decided that keeping urban chickens is not for you it’s a fair bet you will encounter their nemesis – the fox. The first thing that says you are the subject of unwanted fox attention is the disagreeable smell – a sharp choking musty aroma – an unpleasant amalgam of musk, blocked drains and stale urine.

Foxes are wily adversaries of those inexperienced in keeping poultry. And any small mistake will be punished unmercifully – so let’s take it as red that your coop or hutch is sturdy, strong and perhaps has even been sold to you as fox proof.

Even so you might want to consider a little help in skewing things further in your favour  – so here are a few suggestions.

Electric fencing: Foxes check everything with their noses first so it shouldn’t take too many shocking encounters for them to get the message. While being the most obvious solution it can seem quite expensive – but worth it to protect both your investment and your feathered friends.

Light and sound: Leaving a radio on in the coop overnight can be very effective simply because a fox would generally prefer not to be in the presence of humans and simple lighting arrays that mimic the eyes of another predator like the Nite Guard Solar can also work wonders.

Sonic repellents: They do work but you get what you pay for and as they start at around £20. But remember these will be audible to dogs; so opt for models that only sound when they detect a threat and not one on all day – or you could send your pets barking mad.

Chemical repellents: There are a couple on the market but Scoop is widely acclaimed as the most effective product of its type on the market. It’s totally safe for use in gardens, near chickens, on plants and edible crops and is humane, bio-degradable and very effective.

Scent marking: Most of us won’t have access to Lion dung (as used by one well known comedian to protect his brood) but we have the next best thing – for free. This involves directly mimicking the territorial behaviour of a fox by the application of male urine to your boundaries – I’ll leave issues of supply and demand to your imagination. However, if that’s too much for you, consider using human hair (male works best), either your own after a cut or try asking at your local barbers. Stuff some into a pair of old tights and hang around the margins of your garden – good luck.

Source: http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/11/pet-blog-how-to-protect-chickens-from-foxes-3836084/


More than 700,000 Brits now keep chickens

NEARLY 700,000 Brits now keep chickens — a rise of 80 per cent in three years, figures reveal.

The largest increase in poultry-rearing since World War 2 has come as households try to cut grocery bills by producing their own eggs.

Brian Mott, of birdseed suppliers Nature’s Grub, said: “We’re seeing a return to 50 years ago, when it was usual to keep half a dozen chickens in the back yard.

“Over the past few years more Brits have started growing their own fruit and veg — and the next step seems to be having their own eggs.”

The figures by the British Hen Welfare Trust have helped push the value of the coop industry to £1billion a year.

Tesco said sales of poultry pens had nearly doubled since 2008. They sell chicken coops in the Tesco Direct catalogue.

The store’s Clodagh Corbett said: “The surge in demand for chickens and coops shows how keeping hens has become a hobby for many.”
Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3725935/700000-Brits-now-keep-chickens.html#ixzz2ScfrX5To

The Chicken Hotel

One of the main obstacles that all chicken owners face at some point in their lives, is what to do with your hens when you want to go on holiday?  If you’re lucky, a neighbor or family member will be on hand to take care of them.  But sometimes that just isn’t the case and you’re left stuck between a rock and a hard place   Well, not any more!  David Roberts has opened a Chicken Hotel in the UK just for our feathered friends.


Services at The New Chicken Hotel in UK

UK’s chicken hotel provides a generous and nutritious buffet dinner, lunch and breakfast made of locally grown produce. The meals are served in open air (of course). The coops have been specially designed for the chickens with each housing around 8 chickens.

Chickens roam around freely in the extensive verdant grounds at the hotel. At night, they are gently cajoled back to their apartments, to spend a safe and comfortable night on the tiles!

Extra Services

Chicken chauffeur
The hotel also offers e are pleased to be able to offer a special chauffeur service to ferry your chickens, stress free, to the hotel.

A visiting butler
If you have a LARGE flock the Chicken Hotel offers the visiting butler service, where they will come to you and your chickens , checking on the well being of your chickens and feeding and watering them twice a day.

The FULL Spa treatment
Turn your Chicken Hotel holiday into a full Spa holiday with a few added egg-stras!

Trim your chickens nails and even use emery boards to gently round the tips! In the wild, Chicken ancestors nails would naturally be worn down through scrabbling. But through breeding and domestic enclosures they often don’t wear down (especially with lighter breeds like bantams). Roosters nails are especially a problem for the backs of their lady-friends.

Sharp pointy beak? Eating your own eggs? Want a cute, trimmed and rounded schnozle? When you book in for a stay why not add a beak-trim! Gently clipped tips and filed with a slight natural round, if they could smile I’m sure they would.

Ever feel like your chickens are trying to re-enact The Great Escape? You can even have them booked in to have their wings clipped while they’re staying at The Chicken Hotel!

The Chicken Hotel Nursery
They’ll incubate your eggs for you and even offer a brooding facility to bring your chicks on to adolescence.

When urban chickens go wild

The fear of urban chickens run amok seems strong in those who oppose the idea of allowing chickens within city limits.

While I’d like to think that all urban chicken farmers are conscientious enough to care for their flocks for the full life cycle (from egg to bones), the law of averages means at least some chickens will either be evicted (on purpose) or escape (on accident) from their coops and become feral.

Miami, Florida, is a good place to look to see what happens when chickens escape to live on the streets. It’s estimated there’s over 10,000 feral chickens within city limits, and things finally got so bad that the city government had to step in and do something about it.

Starting in April 2003, the city of Miami deployed the Chicken Busters — a team of Code Enforcement officers, Firefighters and others — to round up loose chickens from all around Miami.  And although the team was cancelled in 2009, just three years later the chickens had become such a problem, that the team was reinstated and back on the streets, rounding up rogue chickens.

How do they do it? Well, “to catch a chicken, you have to think like a chicken.”

And the team must be awfully good at thinking like chooks: the Chicken Busters have captured over 6,400 chickens so far and in the process raised over $10,000 for charity.

Chickens and Stress.

It’s easy to think of chickens as simple minded and unfeeling creatures. I mean, all they do is eat, poop and lay eggs right? Well, no, actually, like most creatures on this planet of ours, they too have thoughts running through their little heads and have feelings too. We all know what it’s like to get stressed, and the feeling of loss when someone we know dies, so should we be surprised when chickens show us behavioral reactions to the same things? No, and this great post from Jackie sums up pretty well, that a little understanding goes a long way!

Tastes of life

stressAfter losing one of our girls Poppy we  introduced two new chickens to my existing two I have come to the conclusion which others probably already knew…Chickens suffer from  stress like us.

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Do baby chicks need grit?

Yes indeed, baby chicks do need grit.  Just like their older parents and siblings, they use grit to grind down food in their gizzards.  Take a look at this article for more information about a chickens digestive system:


Keeping Freerange Chickens: Are You Ready?

What Are You Taking On?

Keeping chickens in the backyard is something of a commitment, and should not be entered into lightly. If you’re going to get into this wonderful passtime, make sure you understand what you’re taking on!

Freerange chicken with chick

Chickens don’t demand a lot of work, but they do need a little daily attention to ensure they have fresh food and clean water. Your chickens’ lives are literally in your hands: you’ll need to check on them every day, rain, snow or shine.

If you go away from home overnight, you’ll need to find someone to check in on your chickens and give them food and water. Most neighbours, especially those with kids, will be only too happy to help you – especially if you let them keep any eggs they collect during this time.

Manure will build up in your chicken coop, and you’ll need to occasionally clean it out and lay fresh bedding for them. Depending upon how many chickens you have, this will probably only need doing once every 2-3 months and needn’t take long. The old bedding is great for the compost and will give your garden a boost, so think of it as harvesting a valuable resource!

Chicken Health

While they are generally low maintenance, chickens do occasionally suffer from parasites or diseases. Most issues are fairly easy to diagnose and treat, with a little knowledge (be sure to check out our Health & Welfare pages). And be sure you buy a good chicken keeping book that covers the common problems.

Before committing to keeping backyard chickens, try to find a friend, colleague or neighbour with chickens and have a chat with them. There’s no substitute for first-hand advice.

If you have any doubts after considering all the above, you could search for a business in your local area that rents out chickens and coops. If you try out chicken keeping and find it’s not for you, they can simply be returned without fuss. If things go well, you’ll be able to buy the chickens and the coop from the rental service.

Although most towns and cities are fine with residents keeping backyard chickens, many have a few rules about where you can site the coop, how many chickens you can keep, whether or not you can keep roosters, and so on. It’s worth a quick phone call to your local government office to check what you need to do. And believe it or not, there are still a few cities where backyard chickens are banned!

Backyard chicken keeping is not hard work, but it’s important to make sure you understand the commitment you’re making when you take on your own flock. And keep your eye on the prize – for relatively little cost and a small amount of effort, you will be rewarded with plenty of fresh eggs and entertainment!

Source: http://backyard-chicken-keeping.com/backyard-chicken-keeping-are-you-ready