Yes! We did it! We got some ex battery chickens residing in our garden! I had always had this idea in my head that a few backyard chickens would be awesome, but never really thought it would happen.
We don't live rurally and have no clue in chicken matters but liked the idea of giving them a nice life, and the eggs would be a bonus.
When I heard of a Battery Farm Rescue being planned I decided to enquire.
The fabulous Animal Sanctuary Matakana would soon have around 800 rescue chickens to rehome. These young hens would be normally be killed at 18 months old when they take a break from laying. This broke my heart and decided to commit, but I had questions! I had heard bad things and good things about keeping chickens in your back garden.
Are chickens smelly? - Yes they can be smelly if you don't look after them, like any pet.
Will chickens shit everywhere? - Yes free range they will deposit poop allover the place so don't let them places where you don't want poo! (or dug up for that matter).
Will chickens bring rats? - Yes they can bring rodents if you don't secure their food away. So far we have had no problems, it's just the local bird life who like to steal their food.
Chickens as pets
I wish I had known earlier in my life what amazing pets chickens make! They are hilarious, have great personalities.
Chickens near vegetable garden
Chicken wire off your veggies, as they too love them! They make excellent little tractors and will dig through and deposit excellent chicken poop manure for your soil!
Chickens just want to be kept dry, safe from predators, out of the wind and have some where to lay eggs. There are loads of flat pack chicken coops on line which we did start off with but ended up using our friends disused child's play house, it was bigger, more weather proof and easier to get inside to clean. They are meant to sleep on a branch but ex battery hens don't know how to do this so some never learn and are quite happy snuggled into their sawdust at night instead. I love going to put them away for the night - they take them selves to bed at dusk and chitter chatter away to each other.
We have had them now for a couple of months and can not imagine life without them! They have already brought us so much laughter - they make AMAZING pets, their personalities are hilarious. Definitely recommend them as pets. I like to sit outside with them and decompress from the day, chat to them and watch their antics. Love them!
Chickens have been a total source of joy and inspiration and make their debut in our newest Boopino colouring poster coming very soon called 'Don't forget to play!'
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