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New Chicken Owner, Advice plz!!!

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Hello everyone, i have just ordered a cube for my husband for christmas..and i am very excited we have quite a good sized garden especially for London., it's about 60 foot wide x 180 long..

I have bought 3 hens to be delivered with the cube, which has a 2meter run..

the prob might be... we have a LOVELY luscious lawn, its not that we are fussy about it. we have two little Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and two cats, who enjoy it, but I am a bit afraid that the hens will totally eat it all, do they?

I work at home so all of our pets get the best care and attention, but how often do I need to let them out to eat the garden, and for how long?, this s the only aspect that concernes me, as my hubby might notice that his garden is getting annihilated..HELP!! am I doing the right thing?

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:roll: ok, i think thats true, but i still want to know how devestating it can get..i mean will the grass be all bald, brown short or what? and is it ok for them to eat grass? also, can my cube stay in one place, or do i have to move it around all the time? and....what do i put on the ground if i do want to leave it in one place? and..... i still want to know how long they need to freerange per day, and what if they dont go out every day?? :doh::doh::doh:
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Cheryl wrote:


but i still want to know how devestating it can get..i mean will the grass be all bald, brown short or what? and is it ok for them to eat grass?


My 'lawn' is pretty much wrecked in a lot of places, bald would be the word I would choose. Next spring I am going to fence off a chicken only area, the

rest will be no go for them, I don't see any other option. Chickens eat loads of grass and it is fine for them. Warning they also eat all your plants except the really woody ones.



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You can leave the cube in one place all the time, most owners do. You can lay some slabs down or sit it on a bed of wood chippings, I use Hemcore in my cube and all around the run, the grass in the run will disappear quickly if you keep it fixed in one place. 3 hens in a cube with a 2 metre run don't actually need to be let out to free range but it is nice to let them have a wander now and again.

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A lot of people on here dont get much chance to let their chooks free range at all and they are perfectly happy in the run :) . Any time you can afford them free ranging in your garden would be great, but just be wary if you have any urban foxes in your area as they can be bold as brass and enter your garden whilst your chooks are out.


Our garden to be honest is quite intact and untouched by our hens (not sure if this is normal or not :lol: ) but apart from the grass they have not touched the plants and the grass is still pretty good. You will find in summer the grass will stand the test of time, but in winter as it doesnt grow so well it may suffer.


Chickens are great, you will love your new additions and you will find watching them and keeping them VERY addictive!! :D


Your life wont be the same again!!! :lol:

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OOH Ok thats fine, I think once we get them it will be super anyway..there are quite a few places we could put the cube perminently. I think that will be the best bet..I'm suprised that they wont need to free range with only 2 meters of run. I will prob get another extention at a later date, but I have already spent quite a lot on this setup which I think was the right choice..I have ordered a green one to blend in with the garden..

I am so excited!!! :D:lol: The worst part is keeping it a secret from my husband, ooooh I'm afraid the children know because I just couldnt contain myself..

Also is there any extras I should order for them could someone give me a shopping list of everything I need in place for their arrival which is going to be 3 days before Christmas!!!! :wink::wink::wink::wink:

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poultry spice is a good "extra" its a health supplement you add to the feed (and a tub lasts for ages) another good thing to stock is "red mite powder" which you can sprinkle in the cube when you clean it out. This is a lovely smelling powder and works great at preventing the horrid red mite.

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Hi Cheryl and welcome!!!

How fantastic...a present for the whole family for Christmas :D

You will all love them - I would not be without mine now they give so much more than just eggs. The most fabulous of pets.

I would agree with everyone who has replied, a fixed spot for your chooks is best. The most popular floor covering seems to be either hemcore or amboise bedding which is great but the chooks do kick it about alot. Just put some edging round the base of the cube run to stop this :D

Shopping list:

Garlic Powder (Omlet sell this) - most important for non smelly poos

Grit - Helps chools digest their food

Poltry Spice - keep girls in tip top condition

Corn - Chicken chocolate....not to be given until they have eaten their 'proper' food!!

Camera - ready at all times for lots of lovely photos to bore the socks off everyone.

There is loads more you can buy but I would say these are the main things.


Re free ranging... I had a horrid day yesterday and nearly lost Tatti to a fox. I was in the house by the french window watching the girlies when it happened and was out in a moment but nothing would have prepared me for the shock of it all. Tatti went into shock but is fine today.

For this reason, I would say no to free ranging unless you are outside with them. I have been assured by all the lovely people on this forum that they are fine in their run. I actually read (on another site) that if you never let them free range they will not miss it, but I do think that would be a shame.

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thank you i shall get some but where from? on the web? don't worry i shall look.. any thing else? what about bedding? stuff for the floor?



Its not as daunting as it all sounds. Once you've got the "staple" essentials you can then build up your "chicken miscellanous stuff" :lol: .


You can get a lot of stuff online. Alternatively you can get Poultry spice and Barrier Redmite Powder at your nearest "farmers supplies" (if you have one!).

We use Hemcore as bedding (which is a horsey bedding). its very good at absorbing smells/wet/poo. check out




which will show your nearest stockist, more than likely they will sell other bits and pieces at this outlet too!!

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Dont be afraid to ask any questions - no matter how small. Its very exciting getting chickens for the 1st time, we were all there once, and there are lots of questions!!



Chelsea is right.... I have learnt everything about keeping chickens from reading this forum. Everyone is so helpful.


Omlet sell Garlic powder, grit, poultry spice, corn etc and there is no extra delivery charge if it is tagged on to your first order. So is an easy starting point :)

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Hi Cheryl, and welcome to the wonderful world of chickens! I agree with all the suggestions so far and would only add that I couldn't manage without hemcore. My cube has been on grass all summer - and yes, the grass is wrecked but recovering - and is now on concrete for the winter. So the hemcore is now used for the poo trays, nesting box and on the floor of the run. You will also need a compost heap for the used hemcore.

You will love keeping chickens, and what a great Christmas present!

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I wish my husband was as thoughtful :)

Just wanted to say that my garden is around the same size and they haven't made a dent on the grass as they range all over (apart from making a small dust/mud bath right down the end).Don't have too much prob with poos either, apart from when they beg ouside the kitchen door :roll: However as PP have said, if you put the cube on grass they will trash that! I currently do, but am planning on making a permanant site so my lawn won't look patchy by the summer-not that I am the type to get all anal about my lawn. I move it every week at the moment and by then it isn't looking great. Saying that, after a couple of weeks it starts to recover and that is in winter - so by spring I'll prob have patches of 10ft high super-fertilised grass :D

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Agree with everything else said on here, both about this being a very friendly forum, and about the 'essentials' - hemcore and garlic powder would be my 'must haves'.


Your garden is bigger than mine - the area where the Cube stays all the time will be bare after a few days, and although in theory you can keep moving it round, I think most people find that just too much hassle!


I let my girls out to free-range when I can, i.e. when I can be in the garden with them, and they have not trashed the lawn or anything else so far! The worst thing is not eating, but scratching. I think your lawn will be fine; they are likely to be far more interested in the flower borders. With a large garden like that, you probably spend a lot of time out there anyway, so they will get lots of supervised free-ranging. If you find they are attacking favourite plants, then you can take preventative action.


What a great Christmas present - you are both going to enjoy them so much!

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Hi and welcome.


Just to confrim a few bits and bobs (not that they really need it).


Our chooks arrived at the end of September and we were (and remain) complete novices at this. The great news is that (I reckon) 'novice' is enough to get by and also enjoy the chooks.


We found some local suppliers and the rest of the chook related hoard we have came coutesy of t'internet. You could buy and buy and buy all manner of stuff. I found myself in lakeland today looking at a device for cutting the tops off boiled eggs! Bonkers.


We have a garden of similar size (but we're rural). We haven't worried too much about supervision so the girls get lots of free-ranging. I've not noticed too much damage but it is coming to winter so the beds and veg are essentially shut down. They have cleared lots of weeds and turned over the veg beds for me as well as the obvious fertiliser they provide.


Fence them a bit off - go-on you can live without 100Sqft or so they'll love you for it.





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Hi Cheryl, I bought a cube for my OH for Fathers Day but had 7 hens so got the extension with it and although I let them out most days there are some days they can't go out and they're quite happy. We got ours just after we'd turfed the whole garden and we still have grass (our puppy has done more damage than the hens) I think the trouble with hens is that they pull and rip the grass out rather than grazing like cows or horses so our grass now looks scruffy. They will also eat all of your bedding stuff so if you like patio pots, or bedding or fuschias (except the hardy ones) or forget me nots then either fence them in or get ready to lose them. Ours haven't touched any shrubs and my garden is now weeded and raked over by our feathered lady friends ready for any new shrubs next spring!

As for extras, you'll need bedding - we prefer Aubiose but there are lots of alternatives - our cube is in a permanent position with Aubiose in the run, in the bottom of the nest and in the poo trays. I then put straw - not hay, it's not good for them apparently - in the nest for them to lay on.

Mite powder is good for sprinkling on the ends of the roosting bars after a clean, keeps the nasties away

Mine won't eat garlic powder (it stinks too!) or Poultry Spice :roll:

You'll need layers pellets or mash depending on how old your hens are which you feed every day - once they've eaten them they can have treats - mixed corn and grit are good and very cheap - we buy corn at about £4.50 for a sack, grit is a bit cheaper - the bedding is about £8 I think.

You'll soon work out which treats yours like best, ours like tinned sweetcorn, grapes, lettuce, baked and crushed egg shell and they'd climb over hot coals to get to left over pasta. Also slugs, worms, wood lice and of course dried mealworms which are great for taming your hens as they'll do almost anything for them, but they're a bit pricey for every day.

MUST HAVES are camera, chair, wine and company so you can sit, look, laugh your head off at them and take pictures to post on here!!


I've only been here since April / May and it's a fantastic forum, specialy if something goes wrong, (which it will) or you're not sure of something (which I never am) or one gets sick, or you think it is when it probably isn't. Someone on here will have been there and done it and can give you advice.

Plus you have to learn the egg dance, but that's a whole other thread..... :lol:


Welcome to all things chicken and welcome to the mad house!


Mrs Bertie

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Welcome Cheryl. You sound so enthusiastic and excited you'll fit right in on the forum! And what a brilliant family Christmas present :D .


I can't really add anything - everything's been said. I agree, though, read through as much of the forum as you can and you'll pick up the essentials. Be prepared to lose most of your former life as you spend hours on here and hours with your new pets :lol: .

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hi cheryl and welcome it is a fantastic place to learn and chat about your chickens,

i have only had mine since july and i wouldnt be without them mine haven`t made a mess of the garden they are out everyday, but i do keep my eglu on a hard standing with bedding in the run for when they are not freeranging

i think if you have a large garden your lawn will be fine mine is

:) sarah

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