Over the past few years the craze for town homeowners to have their own chickens and even ducks has exploded across the UK. Pet shops and garden centres have started to stock chicken feed, while poultry producers are struggling to meet the demands of egg-cited new comers. Manufacturers of birdcages are producing all types of hen homes from portable plastic pods to mini-shed homes costing in nearly £4,000.
This latest craze seems to be about people wanting to getting back to basics, as well as becoming more aware of where their food is sourced, especially since the recent horse meat scandal.
According to the Chicken house company @www.thechickenhousecompany, you can keep hens for 15p per day. They state that a hen will cost £15 each, once they have been vaccinated one hen can produce 300 eggs per year, the cost of feeding and housing a bird can cost from 2.5-5.0p per day, or around £14 per year, whereas in a supermarket a free range egg will cost 27p per egg, £81 per year, plus they really are free range. Although this doesn’t really take into account the amount of money you will need to spend on the hen house, and the fact that a lifespan of a chickens is normally 6 years, although they normally stop laying a few years before the end.
If you are thinking of buying chickens you might want to consider that vermin is attracted by them, which might not please your neighbours. If you are thinking about letting your birds run wild in the garden then they will probably make a mess all over it and wreck your flowers. When you go away on holiday you will need someone to come in and look after them.
If you are still thinking about buying some hens, then there is a huge assortment of hen companies on-line, not only selling cages but also offering chicken starter packs, including advice for newcomers. A typical starter package includes a hen house, with integrated run and 3 hens of your choice, feeder and drinker, food, straw, grit and full telephone support whilst you are getting used to looking after them, but you will need to call for prices: http://www.hen-house.co.uk.
Looking for a sleek plastic pod style cage then try Omlete, there Eglu Cube has enough room for up to 10 hens in either the town or country. It is easy to clean as it has drop down walls and hose clean surfaces. They cost £699, if you would like to start a bit cheaper then they also seel a more basic iglo which sleeps up to 4 hens for £360, to check out their website go to www.omlet.co.uk. Cheaper coups are available try http://www.worldstores.co.uk, their plastic chicken homes start at £88.00.
If you would like an alternative to looking after hens and ducks, you could always consider bee keeping.