So our Silkies arrived a week ago and BOY has it been a busy, anxious week. We weren’t nearly as ready as we thought we were and we’ve spent a lot of time (and money) getting things totally finished. Now we have a nice morning and evening routine, the run is totally secure and the chooks are relaxed and happy. That said, there are several things I’ve learnt as a first time owner to new chickens!
- Amp up security
As soon as they arrived we knew how much we loved them and then the realisation set in that we had to turn The Fluffbutt Hut into Fort Knox. Whilst our girls give us a run for our money, they aren’t going to put up much of a fight against predators. We’d already buried our wire into the ground, but after they arrived we knew we had to do everything we could to protect them. So we spent around £90 on a battery powered electric fence, put galvanised mesh over the roof and removed any objects that predators could use to climb up and over. Wish we’d done that before we arrived so I didn’t have the anxiety.
- Don’t buy a cheap coop
Our coop is so cute, like a hobbit house with little round doors and windows. The issues started to arise as soon as we put it together, splits in the wood, doors falling off and the difficulty with the wood expanding. When we started using it I realised how impractical it was to clean out and maintain, one corner is almost impossible to reach. Finally if any predators got in they’d chew through the cheap wood in moments…I can’t wait for our Eglu to arrive which I’ve been assured will change my life and last forever!
- Buy young if you want pets
We’re lucky that lots of our girls love a cuddle and the others are coming around bit by bit. If you want to guarantee super tame chickens the you’ll want to get them young and handle them! Getting our girls at 24 weeks is working nicely and the more time we spend up there the more chilled out they become but one or two will always be skittish around us!
- Have them as close to home as possible
As first time owners of brand new chooks the first few days was nerve wracking! You need to keep on eye on their eating and drinking habits and the social dynamics. I was popping to and from the allotment as much as I could and spent hours in the rain keeping an eye on them. It would have been much easier in my back garden.
- Having chickens is the best
All the getting up early to let them out and going up late to tidy up and put them away is…lovely. I love the quiet of the allotment and the excited little clucks as you let them out in the morning. I love hearing them chat back, I love the excitement a lettuce can create, I love the distinct personalities they each have. I love the satisfaction of a clean coop, I love the routine of the morning and evening visits and I love the calm of just watching them peck about.
So here we are one week in and I have no regrets. If you’re thinking of getting chickens it requires a lot of prep and planning. Plus a fair amount of spend up front to ensure they are safe and sheltered. When they arrive you are committed to that daily routine but they are so worth the investment and we haven’t had a hint of an egg yet!