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Make sure you know your areaĂ˘€™s laws about keeping chickens if you live in an urban or built-up area. Often you are not allowed to keep more than six chickens, and most places you cannot have roosters. This is for the sake of your neighbours (and your reputation). Contact your local authority before buying any hens.
Consider if your property is suitable for keeping chickens once you know how many youĂ˘€™re allowed to have. If you rent, would the owner be happy with you keeping chickens? Do you have a nice garden that you donĂ˘€™t want chickens scratching around in? Do you have adequate space for the chickens to roam about in? Do you mind chicken poop in the garden and underfoot?
ItĂ˘€™s your choice whether you want your chickens to free-range (live on grass) or not. If you do let them free-range you must build a predator and escape proof enclosure for them but if you donĂ˘€™t want them to free-range you must purchase or build a bigger chicken coop or purchase or build a chicken coop with a run.
Provide a decently sized yard for your chickens to scratch around in.Put chicken wire around the yard and make it high enough to keep them in. Chickens, especially young ones, can fly away. However, you can prevent this by clipping their wings.
Build or purchase a hen house.Hens need to be safe at night, asleep within some sort of suitable hen house. You can either build one or purchase it ready made. If building, decide where to build the cage. The hen house height can be 7 feet (2.1 m), with small slabs for the chickens to jump (for fun) and also for having rest. Ensure that it is warm and draft free but well ventilated as well. It should also provide shelter from the weather such as rain, hail, snow and harsh winds. A well ventilated coop can prevent frost bite and respiratory disorders which is why ventilation is very important. Provide nesting spots, such as wooden boxes filled with straw. This is where your chickens will lay their eggs or brood and it will also be the place where you will be collecting the eggs so place the nesting boxes in an easy to get to spot. Provide perches for roosting and sleeping on. Most chickens like roosting above the ground which is why its good to place some perches for your chickens.
Add bedding to the coop and nest boxes.A common choice for bedding is wood shavings, pine needles or straw whilst you should use straw or hay for the nest boxes bedding.