Top 10 Tips For Keeping Chickens

top 10 tips for keeping chickens

upcycled chicken coop and hw to keep chickens

check this upcycled chicken coop shared with permission from Pioneer Settler!

Do you have or have you ever kept chickens? It is rising in popularity in our cities as people turn back to organic and home grown food, urban gardens, and wanting less reliance on the questionable chicken industry.

I remember being a little girl living in rural South Australia and my parents had a few chooks in our duplex teacher’s house. They were like my friends and were very pampered. My strongest memory is of a massive thunderstorm, of which we used to get many. The wind was all wild and the sky was full of black clouds, clashing and thundering. The Port Augusta lightening storms are something to behold. Anyway for some reason I can remember my mum and us running around and gathering the chickens and bringing them inside into the laundry and I think one was perching on the toilet. Of course as kids we must have thought that was hilarious. I don’t remember how long they survived but my next memory is having chickens in our little country town home, when we moved a few years later. I was 9 by this time. We had a huge yard, more than 5 normal blocks, and we had chickens who free ranged all day. Our cattle dog we had for a short time, the most beautiful creature you ever did see, would spend hours herding them all back into the hen house! Mum would gently tell him it was ok, the girls were allowed to roam, but he had it in his head it was his duty to make sure they were safe in their house. Sadly they were all eventually taken by foxes and a local dog, and I think it broke my mums heart because there reached a time where we just didn’t have them anymore.

I have never kept them as an adult living in the city, but we have discussed it as a family many times. We are sort of waiting until we have the time and dedication, as after all these girls are more than just birds. They are part of the family and they provide food for your table. They also provide great manure for your garden. And aren’t baby chickens just the sweetest!

top 10 tips for keeping chickens

I know many of you either have or want to have chooks, so today I am sharing the top 10 tips for keeping chickens, which I have gathered. But first check this chicken swing out kindly shared with me by a lovely reader! So cute!

Top 10 tips for keeping chickens

  1. They are happiest being able to roam in the day time but you need to keep them safely locked up at night. If you are in a suburban area, check with your council if there are any regulations around size of cage and so on, because you want to be sure they are all correct and you are doing the right thing by the chickens.
  2. You can go for a ready made chicken coop, or you can make one yourself. If you are going to used recycled materials, make sure that you use weather proof material and that it is secure from predators like those foxes, dogs and cats.
  3. They love to have a perch but make it more than 50 cm above the ground.
  4. You can use any type of timber or tree branch but according to River Cottage it needs to be at least 5cm wide
  5. As with any bird, our budgie is the same – don’t put their perch over their water source or they will pooh in there! And they need fresh water every day.
  6. You need to give them a nesting box. A wooden box is perfect. Just make sure it is at least 30cm squared and lined with straw.
  7. They need plenty of shade, so make sure they are not baking out in the sun – you don’t want to roast your chooks!
  8. They need love! So be sure to have more than one chook. If you get new chooks, make sure you get more than one new one at a time as the others may get a bit nasty and hen pick her!
  9. Chooks love to dig and scratch on the ground for grubs and worms so let them go for that! You can also feed them your left over kitchen scraps, so that is another very sustainable thing about chooks. They love raw vegies and vegie peels as well as fruit and things like wholemeal rice, rolled oats, cooked pasta & beans. Paul West from River Cottage says not to feed your chooks avocado, chocolate, green potatoes or rhubarb or you’ll end up with sick chickens. Commercial chicken feed needs to match the developmental stages of your chooks.
  10. Keep them clean! Keeping the coop clean will help with the health and happiness of your chooks. Take a bit of time each day to scoop up droppings and get rid of any loose feathers. If their bedding area is dirty or wet it is more likely to breed harmful disease causing organisms. Try using simple tools such as a scraper, a rake and a shovel. Also replace their bedding regularly. They love fresh sheets as much as we do!

I found a lot of tips over on the River Cottage Lifestyle Home site and they have a great video so hop over for a look.

Do you have any chook tips to add?

Helen

xx

**updated post originally posted in 2015

145 Comments

  1. Melissa Gillett on October 21, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Emily McDonald just another idea for your chicken coop !

  2. Sonia Lilley on October 21, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Olivia Kennedy how cool for ur chick xx

  3. Kellie Harradine on October 21, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I love chickens have four amazing eggs

  4. Maree Kirkman on October 21, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Love this idea

  5. Vanessa Smith on October 21, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I’d like to but I think my dog would disagree U0001f606

  6. Kylie Waterman on October 21, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Tim Holmes I m sure I ve seen some cars at the farm…..

  7. Rachel Macreadie on October 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I lU0001f49ave my feathered girls!! They are wonderful layers and are all from an organic chicken farm originally and live a quiet happy chicken life in our paddock! As long as they stay out of the veggie patch and off the back verandah we’re all good U0001f604

  8. Mandy Jane Cameron on October 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Kirsty Stone- I’m sure we could find a burnt out car to make a cool coop!

  9. Kirsty Stone on October 21, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Drive down nelley way?

  10. Tracie Morrissey on October 21, 2015 at 9:50 am

    This is what we can do wih the other beetle Chris Morrissey Josh Morrissey

  11. Kelly Butter on October 21, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Natasha Schubert perfect!

  12. Sally Lea on October 21, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Jan Harwood up cycle idea?

  13. Bella Mottee on October 21, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Rosie Mottee how cool is this!

  14. Sandy Mossman on October 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Kara Ursino just for you my sweet xxx

  15. Mandy Jane Cameron on October 21, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Great minds think alike U0001f609U0001f609

  16. Justine Townsend on October 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Sarah Townsend for the new chickens!

  17. Natasha Schubert on October 21, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Should’ve done it with the burnout cortina! 😀

  18. Liv Pennell on October 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I love this idea Jared Pennell

  19. Ebony Nichols on October 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Charlotte- how cool is this! 🙂

  20. Sarah Townsend on October 21, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    now that is cool!! punch buggy…SAFE!

  21. Zoe Kerisiano on October 21, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Kellie Banks haha

  22. Michele Burgess-Walker on October 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Patricia Woods
    John could have chickens !!!!

  23. Meredith Dunell on October 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Sam, a good use for the EH?

  24. Kelly Butter on October 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Oh my god, YES!!! That would’ve been sick!

  25. Leah Baillie on October 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    My next chook pen Dale Baigrie

  26. Patricia Woods on October 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Umm John’s a reformed man, I LOST the bet!!! He cleaned his house (in time, without help) only because he’s too tight to buy a meal, too competitive and apparantly I looked too “smug” U0001f602

  27. Alex Fido on October 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Maybe I could convert the Saab

  28. Heidi Coomber on October 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Glenn Walters good idea for the chooks!

  29. Barb Howard on October 21, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Naomi Moore.. Next door may have a spare car for you…

  30. Rose Marie Quinn on October 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    there you go jessica isnt that neat

  31. Zoe Nicol on October 21, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Dylan Thomas car chook pen haha

  32. Marli Kelly on October 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Kristy Thomas Farmer Ray’s old ute up the back!!!!

  33. Belinda Aliaga on October 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Love the idea of using a car!! U0001f44dU0001f44d

  34. Amanda Hales on October 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Wow! That’s cool!

  35. Natasha Schubert on October 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Totally would’ve been!!

  36. Lisa Harrowfield on October 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Curtis Bouyz maybe an idea for the Ksev ??

  37. Kristie Turner on October 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Megan Jory….I just had to tag you in this!! But I promise no more chicken tags….this week

  38. Megan Jory on October 21, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Hahhaa awww U0001f60d

  39. Gen Crowe on October 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks Luch!! You’ll have to come and meet our fatties one day!!

  40. Emma Morton on October 21, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Lee Wakeman thought Chase might like this idea 🙂

  41. Lisa Harrowfield on October 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Oh dude my chickens would love it U0001f631

  42. Curtis Bouyz on October 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I guess you could say… no.

  43. Rachel Pryer on October 21, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Adele Haines got an old car to put your chookens in? 🙂

  44. Leigh-Ann Janosevic on October 21, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    How great is the car!

  45. Karen-Louise Angus-Honnor on October 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Sully Brayshaw!! You have to!!

  46. Jodee Cook on October 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Nicki Sargeant you could do this with an old mini U0001f61b

  47. Sue McCallum on October 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    love chickens,so happy little guys!

  48. Samantha Irawan on October 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Hendrik Irawan check out the car

  49. MH Lisa on October 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Lol Tammy Graham

  50. Frances Jolly on October 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Debbie Charles here’s an idea for any of Chris or Gary’s left over cars!

  51. Jessica Maree on October 21, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Daniel
    Rebecca
    Ideas for mum & dads chickens

  52. Dawn Bottrell on October 21, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    When we were growing up, we had an old car in the cook run, (very large cage) that at one time was the dog run. 🙂

  53. Alicia Brown on October 22, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Look what I did yo your car Jaidene Brown U0001f601

  54. Sarah Gillbard on October 22, 2015 at 2:15 am

    I know vw cheated the system, but this is slightly extreme.

  55. Amanda Louise Maloney-Absolom on October 22, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Sully Brayshaw awesome…

  56. Jenelle McWilliam on October 22, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Great idea we certainly have cars!!!!

  57. Diane Brooks on October 22, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Hey Lynn Gorman, a chookenhausen on rims, what do you think?

  58. Tamara Gobbo on October 22, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Jessica alains 2 loves all in 1 place U0001f602

  59. Janine Dance on October 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

    U0001f44dJust planted all my seeds – next thing – chookies. U0001f646

  60. Laura Jenkins on October 22, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Dan Summer for Betty out front! Lol

  61. Dan Jenkins on October 22, 2015 at 10:14 am

    We are NOT

  62. Alisha Hebbard on October 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Paula Devine How’s the old car as a chook pen U0001f60d

  63. Paula Devine on October 22, 2015 at 11:34 am

    It’s pretty awesome.I should do that with the many old cars we have here.lol.

  64. Lynn Gorman on October 22, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Would love it, especially as my first 2 cars were VW’s….so many memories!

  65. Sarah M Norbury on October 22, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Alan haha should of done this to your bread vanU0001f602 looks cool

  66. Alan Norbury on October 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Bread van is too good for chickens. I could of got a good Kia pregio van.

  67. Sarah M Norbury on October 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Eww no thanks! Haha only joking babe

  68. Chrissy Kymantas on October 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Dylan James can we go get that old buggy!?

  69. Karen Slingsby on October 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Dad you could do this with the mini Kelvin

  70. Alisha Hebbard on October 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I thought that as soon as I saw it! So cool! U0001f60e

  71. Hayley Anderson on October 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Liz minerds bell chicken? Lol!!!

  72. Andrea Wilkinson on October 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Lisa Murrell get this chicken house U0001f609U0001f609U0001f609

  73. Julie Collins on October 22, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Annemarie Webb – thought of you!

  74. Clarissa Jayne Ciccone on October 22, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Ohh my god !

  75. Nat Ingram on October 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Sandra Grant-Emblen, Roslyn Grant, chicken coop for your houses lol

  76. Stuart Dawson on October 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Bianca Clarke got a old car.

  77. Sandra Grant-Emblen on October 22, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Oh god NOOOOOOO lol

  78. Roslyn Grant on October 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    No that’s one for mum and pete

  79. Nat Ingram on October 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Hahaha thought you’d both say something like that

  80. Bianca Clarke on October 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Lol ill just use the subi

  81. Lynda Hoey on October 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Julie Ferrini made me think of yours. I keep forgetting that you have them!

  82. Amy Thomson on October 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Lea Norman- this made me think of you! How cool!

  83. Ashlee Depledge on October 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Haha Starr Brown, think Damian Depledge would be impressed!! Lol!

  84. Recycled Interiors on October 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Aren’t they divine

  85. Jodi Mohr on October 22, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Mikala more ideas U0001f63c

  86. Lea Norman on October 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Awwwww, don’t you miss that old fume bag and our stinky road trips? U0001f61cU0001f61c
    I wanted to put chooks in it but Adam still thinks he can keep it running but he has let it completely rust out underneath! U0001f62d

  87. Amy Thomson on October 23, 2015 at 1:02 am

    They were some of the best road trips ever!!!
    I want to put one at my house! So adorable!

  88. Zowie Howard on October 23, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Haha your chooks!! Sharyn Powell

  89. Sharyn Powell on October 23, 2015 at 1:59 am

    They’d love that VW lol. ESP the duck

  90. Starr Brown on October 24, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Sorted No longer need to do the camper They can use Damo’s ute during the week lol

  91. Lisa Haese on October 24, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Jason Oddy we are doing this…. maybe an old vk coz i know you would likr that 😛

  92. Jason Oddy on October 24, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    No more vk’s soz U0001f60b

  93. Lisa Haese on October 24, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    That old beetle we seen the other day? That would be cool

  94. Sam Perry on October 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Helen thought of you straight away U0001f603 so cool!

  95. Pauline Cain on October 24, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Audrey Thompson how cool is this haha

  96. Melissa Mahoney on October 24, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Helen Dunes…new use for the land rover

  97. Suzanne Geraghty on October 24, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Maggie O’keeffe you could do something like this for your chickens…

  98. Diane Tynan on October 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Emily Psaila is this the one

  99. Emily Psaila on October 24, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Yes that’s the one! Great isn’t it

  100. Stacey Kelly on October 24, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Shelle Louise, if you don’t sell your car this might be an option for the ladies!

  101. Diane Tynan on October 24, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Yer l love it do you think Bruce will let me have one lol

  102. Helen Tester on October 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Oh yeah, would love a chook play house like that

  103. Helen Dunes on October 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Yes please that’s a great use

  104. Tasha Ann Marmo on October 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Hailey Sarah Sutcliffe show Anth

  105. Simone Hogan on October 24, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Jayde Hamersley heres some ideas for chook house

  106. Gabriella Beasley Kane Brittain on October 24, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Yes this would be awesome Tracy!! Xxxxxx

  107. Natalie Browne on October 24, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Samantha Kiem show Darren this idea

  108. Sally Lea on October 24, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Jan Harwood check out this!

  109. Liz Whitmore on October 24, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Michael Whitmore a use for the shell in the shed

  110. Emily Psaila on October 25, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Ummm no, I don’t think either of us will be allowed one of these

  111. Nicole Maree Holcombe Jackson on October 25, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Lzi Holcombe Squire how about this one?

  112. Audrey Thompson on October 25, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Great idea Paul

  113. Lynne Sharon on October 25, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    I love this! Barbara Kostesic

  114. Bec Lang on October 25, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Tom Perkins here’s your easy build chicken Hutch

  115. Tom Perkins on October 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Haha I’ll show Hannah.

  116. Sandi Beltrame on October 26, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Thank you Marlee, now I need to find a shell, hope all is good with you x x x

  117. Jane Phillips on October 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Toni Hains could be an extension for the Chook Sheraton!

  118. Kellie Gill on October 28, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Oh how I’d love my own hens! But with two jack Russell’s it’s just not going to work, one day!!

  119. Diana Frisby on October 28, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I love my chooks! We have 8 and getting another one today! U0001f60a

  120. Jenny Mifsud on October 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    We have had chooks for 30 years.

  121. Recycled Interiors on October 28, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Me too x

  122. Awesome Chicken Coops That Will Warm Your Heart on February 27, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    […] image via recycledinteriors.org […]

  123. Liz Castieau on May 20, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Nicole Castieau, love the old car 🙂

  124. Kerry Toth on July 18, 2016 at 8:15 am

    to our chook lady Tracy Thomas

  125. Cheryl Sanders on July 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I would love to have chickens!!!!

  126. Jan Withers on July 18, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Mel Till a few handy tips! Thought you might like this Melinda Denton U0001f499U0001f499

  127. Alicia Toner on July 18, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I have 6 chickens and they are fabulous. They have great personalities and follow me around the yard.

  128. Caz Clarkson on July 18, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Mine kept me company while I set up a vegetable box yesterday. They seem to like hearing our voices.

  129. Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub on July 18, 2016 at 9:48 am

    us too! We have plans 🙂

  130. Amanda Chugg on July 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I have Hylines too, when i walk out they all come running at me like a stampede lol

  131. Cristel Perry on July 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Caroline Van Boheemen this heading made me think of you!

  132. Cheryl Sanders on July 18, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Recycled Interiors & The Sustainable Home Hub I like plans….

  133. Kerry Delves on July 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Patrick Rollings – they say not to feed chooks avocado

  134. Belinda Henkel on July 18, 2016 at 11:06 am

    For Michael, who is now keeping chooks.

  135. Belinda Plank on July 18, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Oh my..had some identical to these girls…love & miss them…

  136. Grant Shadforth Shaddy on August 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Thomas Shadforth how cool is this

  137. Jen Bullock on August 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    You could do this with your old car Peta Bullock!

  138. Dani Polmanteer on August 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Kathryn Gooch: you could have made James’ cars useful! U0001f602

  139. Coralie Gunn on August 31, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    we could use one of the 5 in the backyard Robert James Hunter

  140. Gillian Vanderwaal on August 31, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Thinking you have a spare vehicle in your yard! U0001f602U0001f602

  141. Sarah Middleton on August 31, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Got to show my husband the VW!!

  142. Martine Baker on September 1, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Beverley Lewington-always tag u in chicken things! Tell me to stop if annoying u, won’t be offended! X

  143. Beverley Lewington on September 1, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Always love a good chicken story, please dont stop tagging me in them lol U0001f601 xx

  144. Emma Shaw on September 1, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Holly May Rowden jess even seen lolly pops for them think we gonna have some spoilt chickens

  145. Melanie Wellsteed on September 1, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Maddy Sears Jayne Anderson i am seeing a project opportunity!!

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