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How many chickens and a couple of other queries

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I have just found out that my husband has arranged for an eglu and chickens as a surprise for my birthday (it's OK - he told me as he is so excited). I am very excited too! However, we can't quite decide if to have 2 (as arranged) or 3 - we have 3 small children, and realistically they will be likely to want to 'adopt' one each.

1. How much room do we need for a third chicken? Our town garden is not big - I haven't measured yet but I would guess about 11m by 7m. It is mostly grass with some flower beds and some raised veg beds, which will be protected with chicken wire fences - mainly to keep the kids off them. I am happy to supplement the chickens' feed with greens/treats/mealworms etc. in case there is insufficient foraging. But I do want the girls to be happy. They will have to put up with the children, too.......

2. Also, we have various plants such as clematis which I understand are poisonous for chickens. Should I dig them up, or just warn the girls off?

3. Finally, I have read a little about garlic being good for chickens, and that adding a clove to their water is beneficial - is this sufficient to reduce the smell they make, or should I add further garlic to their feed?

Thank you very, very much for your help. Sorry to ask so many questions at once!



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I originally had 3 in the standard run and they were fine as long as they got out evenings and days off etc. If I had 3 children (well I do but the older 2 don't bother with them) I'd get 3 chickens.

Sorry, don't have a clue about plants and green things :roll: .

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Go for three if you can - they would be best if they have freedom everyday but would cope in the Elgu + Run for the odd day.


Dont worry about your plants - they will eat everything they like and they can reach - the ones they dont like or are poisonous they leave alone!


You would be better off fencing off what you really want to protect ie your veg plot.


Garlic - dont worry about the smell on your breath and they wont either!

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Agree 3, we now have 7 in 2 eglu's (flock of 5 and 2).


Our Harrie isn't well and when her time comes, sadly not too long I suspect,

:( I'll be left with 1 hen needing companions so will get 2 for my little flock to become 3. You don't get a lonely he if you lose one with 3.



Anyway I would say 3,



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Garlic - dont worry about the smell on your breath and they wont either!




I would recommend 3!


As for garlic, you can buy the powdered stuff for horses. Just sprinkle it on their pellets. I have been doing this for a few months and it does make a difference to the smell of their poos! :vom:


Enjoy your hens, they are fab pets!

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quadruple ditto! eek someone got in before me - QUINTUPLE DITTO then!


My only regret is that I didn't get 3. They are so easy to look after, much easier than I expected.

Don't apologise for asking questions, this is the place to do that!

What a great surprise present.

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Thank you very much for all the replies - 3 it is. I was just worried that they would be unhappy if there was not enough room for them. The children will be delighted. I'll get Dan to change the order! Now we've just got to decide which variety of Omlet chicken the extra one should be.


They are not coming until May 21st, so I am sure I will be back here with a lot more daft questions before then.


Thanks again,



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Hi Jan. Three in the eglu will be fine - I work at the shows with Omlet and they sell them as being ok for 3. As for your plants - assume that they will eat pretty much anything green, but they tend not to eat it if its going to make them ill. Animals are so much cleverer than humans in that respect!


They dont like lilacs - at least mine dont. And Privet hedges seem to be a no go too.


Havent eaten my Sebum (sedum?) yet either.

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Hi Jan and welcome....


Definately get 3. What a fab present.


I've got 3 children and 4 hens (one was for me) and eglu with extension. We never really did pets before but now the hens are here my children love them and would not be without them (and neither would I).


My grass has taken a hammering (especially after 1st 5 days keeping them in the run) but now I move the eglu every other day (probably more than needed but with 4 hens they make a lot of mess) and now they freerange it's great. "Back door" shoes are essential (so no treading in anything).


Plants - can't help on this one. My hens peck EVERYTHING. But you won't mind when they arrive because they are just so funny. Took the hens 5 seconds to find hubbies veg plot so now it's fenced off. Enjoy....

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Hi all,


My Eglu (green) and three hens (2 gingernuts, 1 pepperpot) are coming next Tuesday. Of course I am sooo excited I can think of nothing else but I have got a couple of questions so here goes.........................


I am planning on having the run on a permanant base by autumn.

I am going to make a frame and then fill it with whatever I end up deciding on and of course put the Eglu and run on top.

I am getting three hens but would have liked four if only the patio area was big enough for me to add an extension onto but alas-it is not!!

So, if I were to have 4 hens and no run extension, how much 'free ranging' time per day would they need to prevent them getting bored etc, or is 4 without an extension a NO GO however much you let them free range?


Also, I was going to get the two Omlet hens and a sussex star from a breeder and introduce them but the Omlet man advised that I stick to Omlet hens so that they don't fight etc.

I am now a bit worried because I was planning on getting a second Eglu in about 6-12 months time and rescuing some ex-battery hens but letting them free range together. Of course now I'm thinking that fights would break out and the ex-batts would be too fragile to be pecked at.

So, what to do, what to do???


Do I now forget about the ex-batts? Have them but let each Eglu residents free range at different times?


I NEED a bigger garden and a hell of a lot more money!!!! LOL


Any help greatly appreciated :)


Cheers all

Jay xx

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welcome to the forum ... afraid I can't answer these questions, but someone else will be along shortly who can, I'm sure.


I know from reading other posts that quite a few people have rescued ex-battery hens and added them to existing Omlet (or other hens), so it must be possible - someone on here will know!

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Before anyone has had a chance to reply-here I am again!!!!!! lol :?


Anyway, just measured the patio and have discovered that I could fit an extension onto the run if I don't make a permanent base.

So-could I put the eglu with run+extension straight onto the patio and then put the wood chippings or that horse stuff people keep talking about but I can't remember the name of (begins with 'a')- straight into the bottom of the run?

Would this work and would this allow me to have 4 hens?


Sorry- I know I'm a pain :oops:

Imagine how my family feel! :lol:

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