There are so many reasons to keep pet chickens aside from having a fresh supply of healthy and sustainably raised eggs. Keeping pet chickens is a rewarding hobby which is fun for the whole family. Stressful job? You will find that keeping pet chickens is relaxing, fun and surprisingly entertaining!
Benefits of keeping chickens
Delicious home grown eggs
Great Garden helpers
Pets with personalities
Chickens that are allowed to free range around the garden will control insects and weeds, fertilise the garden and produce eggs. They eat food scraps and loosen the soil while scratching around the garden bed although they are best kept out of the vegie patch and garden beds with very young plants.
Check with your local Council for the chicken keeping guidelines within your area before purchasing any hens. Avoid getting roosters as many shires in the metropolitan area prohibit them. Roosters are not needed for hens to produce eggs for eating.
What do I feed:
A balanced diet is essential for the health of chickens as well as to give them the energy they need to produce bright yellow eggs daily. Commercial poultry mixes are nutritionally balanced to provide the ideal amount of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
A diet of complete feed layer pellets and crumbles in conjunction with household food scraps is perfect for chickens that are at egg production age. High quality vegetarian and organic layer pellets are also available for owners that prefer to feed their chickens this way.
What sort of coop do I need?
Chickens need a well drained and well ventilated run with an undercover area to protect them from the weather and for them to roost in.
Nesting boxes that are at least 35cm by 35cm, need to be off the ground and should be really dark for hens to lay in. Fill the boxes with fresh straw and replace it often to keep the eggs clean and discourage the hens from defecating in it.
Protecting against predators:
Even in suburbia hawks can still pose a big threat to your chickens. Make sure they have plenty of cover and shaded areas to hide. Foxes can also occur in some suburbs so it’s important to keep your chickens locked up safe at night. However, one of the biggest suburban threats is dogs. Make sure you train and introduce your dog correctly, also make sure your fences are secure from next doors dogs.
When will I get eggs?
Chickens will begin to lay almost daily at between 16 and 24 weeks and continue at that rate for about 18 months. At that age egg production will decline slowly until they eventually stop.
Collect the eggs every day to ensure that they stay clean and fresh. Unless particularly dirty, don’t wash eggs prior to storing in the fridge as they will not stay fresh as long. Use a pencil to write on the date that the eggs were collected and use them within 4 or 5 weeks. To check if an egg is fresh, fill a bowl with water and place the egg in. If it floats, do not use it. The freshest eggs will sit horizontally on the base of the bowl.
Your hens will need to be wormed regularly with worming products that can be purchased from a vet or pet produce shop. They also have the possibility of becoming ill, but not all vets will be experienced in caring for chickens, so make sure you find a poultry vet in your area that is suitable.
What if I get a rooster?
If you purchase one of our chicks that ends us as a rooster, you can return him to us. Does he live on a big farm… no. But we don’t mind if that’s what you tell the kids. We have wildlife careers and zoos who ethically euthanize the roosters and then use them as feed. This means the rooster has been used and not waisted. We are honest with our customers from the get go. There are other rooster return services around you can look into some attach a fee for this service. You can always advertise him for rehoming. We do not charge a rooster return fee.