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Keeping chickens in the garden – home grown chickens and eggs 如何養雞

Yesterday we went to the livestock auctions in Chelford, near Knutsford, Cheshire. We were interested in the poultry, which is auctioned starting about 10am every Monday, there are about 300 lots in this auction every week! As well as poultry there are Monday auctions for cows, sheep and pigs of various varieties.

A few lots of chickens caught our eye. We like a kind of chicken called a Red Warren, which is a friendly bird which lays around 300 eggs a year so we tried a few bids on some of those. Right now it’s Easter holidays for school children and the auction seemed exceptionally busy – this meant the prices seems a LOT higher than on one of our previous visits! So our bids never won an auction. However our daughter was with us an liked a ‘cute’ chicken and 6 chicks. Mum and children. The chicken was a Golden Silkie, the feathers are a little like fluffy hair, they do indeed look very cute.

Silkie mum chicken and her six baby chicks

Silkie mum chicken and her six baby chicks

We hope for 6 good egg layers in the next few months as the chicks grow up! I’ve read Silkie hens only lay about 150 eggs a year, because they are very ‘broody’ and love just to sit on the nests. Also their eggs are smaller than the average chicken! In retrospect we should have bought the Red Warren hens! But because Silkie hens like sitting on eggs we can buy some Red Warren eggs in the future and hatch them into birds.

Chickens like these are mostly quiet animals if kept in small groups so are great for your back garden. Once they settle in you can be getting eggs every day and if you have any cockerels that might annoy neighbours you can give them the chop for the kitchen table! A win win situation! For most people who are starting to keep chickens I would recommend between 3 and 5 Red Warren chickens bought at about 20 weeks old (called POL, point of lay) to be getting about 3-5 eggs nearly every day. Have a good idea how many you want before you buy because if you buy say 3 now and 2 later they will peck and pull each other’s feathers out… Not nice.

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