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minimum height of hen house??? and general chicken advice???

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I spoke to my council today and they said that I can keep Chickens even though Im in the middle of a city! Yay.


I dont think I can afford a Eglu at the moment for them, so I am thinking about building a hen house (making good use of my DT A-level from many a year ago) or buying a rabbit hutch and converting it!


How high is the Eglu? How much room (height wise) does a hen need in its house?


Also, what sort of chicken lays the most eggs, I am only going to get two for the time being, how many eggs should they produce per week on average?


Any advice is greatly appreciated,


Tom :D

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sorry... also forget to add... whats the main difference between bantams and chickens? do bantams lay less eggs?


I only have a little garden and only want about 2 chickens, someone told me you need to have about 5 or 6 to get them to lay most days, is this true?



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Can't advise on henhouse sizes but as for laying:


If you get two hens of egg-laying hybrid breeds, you should get about a dozen eggs a week most of the year round. They have the occasional "rest" day and they don't lay when they moult, but otherwise they lay nearly every day. Six hybrids would be too much if it's just eggs for you! The chickens that Omlet sell are hybrids - if you click on the "breeds" link in the green strip at the top of the page, you'll see lots more!


Pure-breed chickens lay less often, but usually carry on laying for longer - each hen has roughly the same number of eggs in her ovaries, it's just that hybrids lay them all early in life and then run out.


The main difference between bantams and standard breeds, apart from the size of the bird, is that the eggs are smaller - about 2/3 size. Also bantams tend to be pure breeds, so lay less often - my Wyandotte bantam lays about 3 eggs a week, but is prone to broodiness so has a lot of "off" spells. Some of the better egg-laying breeds, e.g. Light Sussex and Maran, have bantam varieties but I don't have any (yet!) so I can't comment on their productivity.

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To roost at night they just need well ventilated shelter with a perch above the ground, secure from foxes and rats. They will also need dark and cosy nest boxes to lay in. For a run, as much space as you can give them is always appreciated; head height is not too important (the eglu run is only low) but they really do appreciate being able to jump up and flap about. Extra head height means you can create more interest by adding branches to perch on.

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I may be stating the obvious here, but chickens only go into their house at night, or while actually laying. The rest of the time they need a really secure space to peck about - secure from foxes mainly. They will love to freerange in the garden, but it's not a good idea to leave them out unless you are within earshot, unless your garden is incredibly secure. I keep stressing security here, but if you read the posts regularly you will see that people lose their chickens to foxes almost every day, and it's heartbreaking. However, don't let this put you off. Go ahead and get some chickens. I would suggest hybrids to begin with.

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hello tom...

i put old drawers on the walls of my new hen house..and some perches...and our bantams go up there to escape the bullies below!..

and a cabbage or cauliflower on a hook goes down well....




if you have an old shed you could use that...just put a chicken wired door on .. trust me what ever you make you will wish youd made it bigger, we went from 4 hens to 8 in a matter of weeks ..have fun!

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Hi Tom,


A lot of people use hemcore or aubiose. It's very absorbant and good for making poos disappear!


I have my run on soil with hemcore. I dig it over every couple of months, remove old soil/hemcore (to compost), dig some garden lime in and add new hemcore.


If you put it on slabs, it's certainly easier to clean (with a jet washer eg) but they don't have earth to scratch about it.


If you have flagstones already, no harm in using them or you could try it on soil, see how you go and change it to flagstones at a later date.

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Here's their website: http://www.hemcore.co.uk/


And here's a list of distributors: http://www.hemcore.co.uk/distributor.html


You tend to get it from horsey supply places but I think some people have asked obliging pet shops to get it in specially.


I pay £9 a bale (and use about a third of a bale to fill the run every couple of months). Some people pay less, say £7.


Aubiose (http://www.aubiose.co.uk/) is much the same thing - if you can't get hemcore, you may find someone who supplies aubiose.

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Hemcore is a horse bedding fibre from the hemp plant. If you type Hemcore into a web browser, you'll soon find their website, which will tell you your local stockist. Most farm supplies sell it. I get mine for under £7 for a large bale.


Good luck with the run build. I'm just building my girls a palace. Only the roof to go now. :)


Edited to add: I see ANH beat me to it!

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