If you start keeping chickens, then, as well as reading about them on the internet, I would also suggest you get a good general book on chickens to learn more and use as a reference as you go along. I would also recommend you get a good book on Chickens’ Health which can pay for itself many times over when things go wrong (and they frequently do!).
If you are a beginner looking to keep chickens then my recommendation would be Anne Perdeaux’s excellent “A Family Guide To Keeping Chickens: How to choose and care for your first chickens” This is a very practical book that is ideal for the complete beginner.
Another book I can recommend as a beginners / intermediate book is the Haynes Chicken Manual written by Laurence Beeken.
It covers just about everything you could ever possibly need to know including some more advanced topics on hatching, and showing chickens.
For chickens health, there is still really only one book to consider and that is Victoria Roberts ‘Diseases of Free Range Poultry’ which is written by a vet from the UK.
The other books I have read have either been very expensive and technical, or aimed at the American market (such as the Chicken Health Handbook).
we are the new owners of pekin bantams, we are getting a lot of slugs in the run, is there a way of killing off the slugs without harming the chickens, we have also acquired a blue bearded silkie, who is a year old, we acquired her about a month ago as a laying chicken, unfortunately, she has not laid yet and has moulted slightly, but seems very happy with the others. They also pull their straw out of their nesting boxes onto the floor of the coop, any advice on how I can encourage them to stop this habit.
We have a static run attached to the coop, could you advise how long we should use the same run, the general care (at the moment we dig it over) and when we move them to a new run, how we treat the old run and how long it should be left without use.. Any advice would be really appreciated, they are very much loved chickens.
Thank you for any help you can give – Jade
I’m surprised the chickens don’t mop up the slugs for you. Perhaps they are an acquired taste! Other than a slug pub (bear in the bottom of a jam jar in the ground) I can’t think of anything.
Try hanging an old feed sack over the top half of the nestbox to make it darker and see if that works. My guess is the straw may still have the odd grain of wheat or barley in it and they are scratching it out foraging.
Ideally a run should be left a good month or more to delay the build up of parasitic worms although worm eggs do lie dormant for some months. Sunlight (UV rays) kill them and liming a run with gardeners lime is an old timers method to help sanitise the ground. These days there are other products that contain lime that you can buy. If you lime, you should leave the ground free of chickens for 4 weeks so you don’t scald their feet and make sure the rain has a chance to wash it into the ground.
We love this site and have found lots of your information really useful.
We have bought home 3 Hybrids yesterday. We are complete beginners, although we have researched and asked lots of questions.
We have an Omlet coop and run. They seem happy and took themselves to bed last night (better than our children do!)
My question is, how long before we let them out into the garden? We have a huge secure garden. The man from the chicken shop said 7 days, whilst other websites say a couple of days. 7 seems a long time, but we don’t want to struggle to get them back in.
Thanks in advance
Sonya & Paul Heard
I am pleased you like the website. Thank you for your kind comments.
It’s a difficult question because it varies quite a bit. As a rule of thumb, a week is about right. You could try them earlier and encourage them back into their run in the evening before dusk with some corn.