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beviehayes

We've decided to get chickens!!

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Hello,

I hope I'm in the right place! My husband and I have decided to get som chickens and are really excited.  We have been give conflicting advice on different breeds best for beginners, we really wanted Pekins but have been told they are too broody and difficult for beginners and by someone else they are great.  

Can anyone offer any advice?  We have a decent sized garden with plenty of shrubs surrounding it, not just grass.  Is it better to get larger foul?

I should also mention we have a dog....he's quite strong minded but gets used to other animals quickly...he's great with my parents cats and we're hoping he will learn to protect the hens.

Thanks in advance!

Bev

Edited by beviehayes
addition about dog

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How exciting!! Excellent decision.

Re. pekins...yes they can be broody and I know some can be really awful, but the two I’ve had for nearly 4 years now (since they were 10 weeks old) really haven’t been that bad. Last year one didn’t go broody at all and the other was sort of ‘walking broody’ - I could tell by her behaviour and noises that she was feeling broody but because the others wouldn’t let her sit she didn’t bother. We had chickens when I was a child, but these 2 along with two Wyandotte bantams were my first chickens since leaving home and although they perhaps require a bit more attention than some hybrids, I certainly haven’t found them difficult to look after.

It really comes down to what you want from them. If you just want eggs and to have to do the bare minimum when it comes to husbandry, large fowl hybrids are probably the way to go. If you want really cute little feather balls who make you laugh when they run, and will lay some eggs, then get pekins!

 

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Wow they are stunning!! I love how fluffy they are!  I think what we need to decide then is if eggs are important or just having a pet :)

Thanks so much for your reply!

 

 

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Very excited for you :-D

Pekin fan here :-D

They are extremely cute and cuddly, lay delicious eggs and are very entertaining.

I wouldn't say they are difficult in terms of broodiness. It's quite easy to spot when they are broody and 3 days and 3 nights in a dog crate usually sorts them out.

The only thing you might need to think about is the fact they have a rest over winter and so don't lay any eggs.

Let us know what you decide to get ...... and when :-D 

 

 

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Pekins are great little starter hens, but are inclined to go broody, so please read the FAQ section on broody hens first.

Please don't allow your dogs to mix with the hens, nor to bark at them or in up to their run - it will end in tears as chickens are easily shocked and inclined to die if treated like this. I have 2 working lurchers and would never put them in a situation where they would be tempted for their natural instincts to take over, when faced with a domesticated prey animal. They know not to run up to the birds' run, nor bark at them, and they never go out when the birds are free ranging.

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Hello, 

Thank you for all your really helpful replies :) we are off to visit a lady who breeds chickens on Sunday to get an idea of which we prefer and get some advice.  We have also booked on to a chicken keeping course which we are really looking forward to, I think this will go through everything from handling the chickens to advice on coops etc!!

Do you all have wooden coops? 

Thank you for the advice on the dogs Dogmother, our boy doesn't really have much of a prey drive, as long as he has a ball he's not really interested in much else!!  But of course we will make sure the hens are safe and undisturbed, like anything it will take time for him to get used to something new being in the garden....he doesn't mind the wood pigeons on the bird feeder :-D 

 

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Well you are on the Omlet forum, so most here have Omlet coops. So plastic ones. I have the Eglu Go Up.

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Welcome!  Be prepared for gold plated eggs but lots of fun!  

One thing to consider is do you want chickens primarily for eggs?  If you do, then look at hybrids who are bred to lay just about every day, but live relatively short lives of 3 - 5 years ( there are exceptions of course).  Ex- bats fall into this category but I'd wait a bit before getting these.  Very rewarding but a bit of a lottery as to whether they live 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years.    Hybrids usually die shortly after finishing laying.  Pure breeds, only lay between around Feb/March to Sept/Oct.   But they do live longer.   The downside is that you are left with old age pensioners ( free loaders!) for quite a long time. 

Thats where I am now.  I have a group of 10 year old pensioners who laze in the sun, and only one bantam aged 2 laying.  And she takes a break every now and then!  

As as for houses, it's plastic for me all the way. I have 2 cubes and 2 eglu classics.  Easy to clean, and if it's Omlet has a good second hand value.  You don't need to buy new.  Look on the For sale section, or ebay or ask Omlet if they have any reconditioned ones. 

Whatever you decide, enjoy them. Good luck! 

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Sounds like you’re really doing your homework and will be very well prepared. As cattails says, being the Omlet forum, lots of us have plastic Omlet houses. I started with an Eglu Go (which I have today pressed back into service as a broody coop) and now have a second hand Eglu Cube. It may not be as pretty as a wooden house, but it’s already actually third hand and is still going strong - even just for me has outlasted 2 wooden houses my mums had in that time, and because it’s easier it gets cleaned out a lot more often!

 

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We have both but Pekins are our favourites and it is quite easy to stop broodies. 

 

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Plastic is sooo easy to clean! Eglu Classics  look cool too. Whatever you decide to buy you will be hooked in no time at all. The larger hybrids and pure breeds will be just as cute as the pekins once you get to know their fluffy little personalities and you will think your poached eggs are the tastiest in the world. Just take a long hard look at your garden - are you prepared to let them have  access to all of it?  My little monkeys got out yesterday because the wind dislodged the gate pin. They helped themselves to the newly planted chard, beetroot and watercress 9_9. Plants in pots always seem to attract them as well.  Although they are good scarifiers, they can get a bit carried away when they find a "spot of great interest"......  And they will choose their own dustbathing spot.  Looking forward to seeing pictures of your new girls.

 

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If you are going to let them free range in your garden the bantams, and particularly the feathered foot ones like the Pekins will do a lot less damage. Large fowl will lay more eggs, but will have big strong feet and dig much more vigorously!

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Have fun. I've had mine for nine years now. We did have three but a fox grabbed one last year. They're incredibly tough and I never expected them to last so long. I've never needed to take them to the vets which has surprised me too. Mine don't like cats, squirrels or the 'chicken chaser' I made to put them away at bedtime. They really are grumpy old ladies now who like to nap in the afternoon and squabble over the best spot. 

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