Is chicken keeping for you?

People have been keeping chickens for 1,000s of years firstly for fighting then eating and then for egg production, there are more chickens in the world than any other bird and in fact, they outnumber us, humans, too!

Chickens aren't as silly as we think either, they can recognise faces, up to 30, they see in ultraviolet they use one eye to find food and the other for looking out for predators.  They are creatures of habit they rise and rest with the sun, they have a hierarchy a "Pecking Order".  Individuals have their own likes and dislikes in food, dust baths, and perches.  Some are noisy and some are quiet.  Not all Chooks like each other and some become inseparable.  They are fascinating and joyful, I have been keeping chickens since I made my mother buy me Cocky 1, Hetty Pecky, Sophia La Hen, and Millie from Chichester market in 1974, I was 12yrs old.  My father made the hen house.    I never forget the joy at the delivery of the first egg and my love of chickens has never left me.  But are they for you?

They lay eggs

Hens lay eggs, some more than others so when choosing your birds really think about what you want, it's no good going for a pretty ornamental bird and then being disappointed at the lack of eggs. 

Eggs come in many colours, boot polish brown, pink, olive green, white, and duck egg blue but they are all the same inside, fresh and delicious and so superior to anything you get in the supermarket.  However, they aren't economical owning your own hens does not mean you will save money! 

They have great personalities

Every Chicken I have ever owned, there have been many, has had its own unique personality some I have loved as much as any dog or cat I owned and others with whom I have clashed.  Some will make you laugh and bring joy,  all will bend you to their will and you'll be trotting off to buy tins of sweetcorn or punnets of blueberries to treat them.  I have spent so many hours just sitting watching or chatting to these feathered friends.  

They are good with children

Brilliant for children, the pet that pays back, what child's eyes don't light up when they pluck an egg from the nest box, my own children would fight fiercely, sometimes resulting in the egg being broken, they'd carry the egg back to the kitchen as if they'd found a precious jewel.  Children can learn where food comes from and how to look after animals' welfare, perhaps making them more selective as adults when it comes to food choices.  

They'll help your garden

Well now.......many would tell you about eating slugs and scratching out weeds but in truth, they will cause chaos, digging out newly planted plants or dust bathing in your best begonias.  I have even heard that feathered legged chicks are less destructive and clean legged fowl I have never found it so!  Think about access and areas before getting your birds. 

Security

Warning...............nearly everything wants to eat your girls and nothing is so upsetting when they do.  Spend money on a good house, we are happy to point you in the right direction, flimsy Amazon and EBay hutches are no match for the wily Mr. Fox, make no mistake he will kill them all, he will check out your security night after night, he'll pop by during the day as well. I can't tell you how you will feel, personaly it was the overwhelming feeling I'd let my friends down, it was my job to keep them safe and I failed!  I imagine that's how everyone feels.