Welcome to my Beginners Guide to Keeping Chickens. This site should contain everything you need to know about this fantastic hobby to get you started.
I have been keeping chickens for over 30 years, since I was a small child. For as long as I can remember before that, my parents used to keep 40 or so hens at the bottom of our garden. They were a constant source of amusement for us with their funny antics but for my parents, keeping chickens was mainly practical since they provided our family with a constant supply of fresh eggs.
I have memories of holding day old chicks as a child, but also opening the door of the chicken house to see all of our hens had been killed by a fox. There were good times but also bad times but what I realise now is that I was learning more and more about keeping chickens year after year.
For a number of years, I have been helping friends get started into the wonderful hobby of keeping hens and I during this time, I had been toying with the idea of creating a small website specifically aimed at helping newcomers to get started with keeping a few hens in their garden.
“…the difference in freshness and quality beats shop bought eggs by a long way…”
There is, if truth be known no economic benefit in keeping chickens at home for eggs these days but the difference in freshness and quality beats shop bought eggs by a long way and the pleasure in seeing a group of hens scratching around the garden providing you with a daily dose of amusement as well as organic bug control makes them so worth while. If you follow a few basic ideas, you’ll be keeping happy, healthy chickens in no time.
If you ever get the chance to visit a battery farm, I would say you definitely should. Ex-Battery hens lead a terribly miserable life and the space these girls have (or don’t have!) in their cage truly needs seeing to believe. Personally, I have found an appreciation of what free-range really means by seeing how we have farmed chickens so intensively. By keeping some chickens in the back garden, you are able to enhance their quality of life immeasurably in comparison to the humble battery hen.
Navigating the Keeping Chickens site
- This website is organised like a book. Each item in the top menu is like a chapter, starting on the left.
- Each page covers a different topic, listed within these ‘chapters’ or menu items.
- For more complex topics, there is a further level in the menu which isn’t necessary to read unless you need to – for example, the laws on keeping chickens pages which in most cases aren’t needed to get started.
If you are a complete beginner, start on the left hand side of the menu and work to the right!
If you like this site, I would appreciate you sharing it with your friends via the ‘social’ buttons you will see around the site. Of course, as a hobby website, I rely on ‘word of mouth’ to promote the site and a little advertising to keep the hungry web-host’s feed bill paid! My website does not sell anything so I have to use adverts but I hope I’ve struck the right balance so they are not too intrusive!
If you have a chicken related question then please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the appropriate page. Please note that this is a hobby website and sometimes I don’t respond to comments for a few weeks, sometimes longer if I’m busy. Please try to ask questions that are related to the page subject. It helps others to find the right answers if the topic doesn’t wander off.
If you would like to ask a number questions or need more support than I can offer in the comments area (or maybe you need a faster answer than I can provide), then I can highly recommend you join a poultry forum such as poultrykeeperforum.com where there are lots of knowledgeable chicken keepers including myself who are usually more than willing to help.
Good luck and I hope you get as much pleasure out of your hens as I do!