Should we be keeping our own chickens?

Garden chicken. By salssa

Garden chicken. By salssa

I’ve got a pathological fear of non-free range eggs. Even if someone buys them accidentally, I still can’t force myself to eat them … my boyfriend and ex-housemate can attest to this 😉

I also realise that while free-range is better, the chickens are still crammed into pens and don’t lead a natural life. The best solution seems to be raising them yourself. And its a trend that’s taking off around the world, with my neighbour recently installing a coop and a couple of chicks.

There is an interesting article at The Guardian on the pros and cons of this trend, and what it actually takes to be an at-home farmer.

Billy, seven, brings me a book. “Have you seen this?” It is a well-worn copy of Keeping Chickens, with colour photos and illustrations on every page, several of them featuring attractive children shot against beautiful blue skies. On the table in the open-plan living space of his north London family home, the book falls open on a chapter headed “What to consider”.

“Ask yourself whether you are interested in keeping chickens for profit, self-sufficiency, or purely for pleasure,” go the instructions, before advising readers to check with neighbours and the local authority before going ahead. If bylaws don’t allow chickens in the garden, “think about moving house”.

 

Read the full article …

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4 Responses to Should we be keeping our own chickens?

  1. Chips February 6, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    I’ve always quite liked the idea of keeping chickens – they can be quite cool pets. I read an article the other day, though that showed that there were some health risks to it if you’re not careful. I’ll try and find a link and post it.

  2. JuliannaGee February 11, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    How would you prevent them being taken by birds of prey or roaming cats if they are not kept contained in a coop? I grew up on a sugar mill and a neighbour kept chickens to sell the eggs to everyone who lived on the mill.

  3. mol-d February 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Depending on how much space you have, you could create a chicken tractor:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tractor

    My friend in Kokstad does this on his farm.

  4. Alexandra April 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Check out the website of a friend of mine. She rescues battery hens and distributes them to animal-loving people with a garden. http://www.rescuebatteryhens.co.za

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