Backyard/garden poultry keeping
What you need to know if keeping a few chickens in your garden
Keeping a few hens or chickens in your back garden has become popular again, as people want an outdoor pet that also provides fresh free range eggs. If you have a large back garden with space for your chickens to roam securely then why not?
Before you embark on this adventure please do your homework first, and check to make sure that there are not any clauses in your lease, mortgage, or bye-laws that restrict the keeping of poultry. I would also urge to consider very carefully the keeping of a cockerel – they are noisy and will annoy the neighbours.
Things to do before you buy chickens for your garden or smallholding
‘Any person who keeps animals, or who causes or knowingly permits animals to be kept, must not attend to them unless he has access to all relevant statutory welfare codes relating to the animals while he is attending to, and is acquainted with the provisions of those codes.’
- It is important that you read and understand the welfare guides/codes of recommendation relating to the animals you intend to keep. Read more here.
The ‘five freedoms’.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst. By access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vision.
- Freedom from discomfort. By provision of an appropriate environment including shelter and rest area.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease. By preventing or rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment including humane slaughter.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour. By providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company.
- Freedom from fear and distress. By ensuring that conditions and treatment avoid mental suffering
Feeding your animals/chickens
Animal feed plays an important part in the food chain and there are rules governing this area. Most smallholders buy bags of chicken and turkey feed direct from an agricultural supplier in large bags because this is the cheapest way to do it. However you need to ensure that it is stored properly and protected from vermin. Read more.
Do I need to register my chicken?
- Guinea fowl
Can I sell my eggs?
Yes you can sell your clean fresh eggs direct but they will not be marked with a stamp like the ones in the supermarket.
“Ungraded eggs sold direct to the final consumer at the producer’s farm gate or sold by the producer locally door-to door in the region of production will not have to be marked.”
Egg Box Labelling for small scale poultry keepers such as smallholders
Producers with fewer than 50 birds are not required to mark their eggs – so long as they provide other information such as their name and address and provide consumer advice to keep eggs chilled after purchase along with a best before date (maximum 28 days from lay) for the eggs at the point of sale. For more information about eggs click here.
Where can I buy chickens in Fife Scotland?
How Much Does It Cost To Keep Chickens?
It really depends on how much you want to spend. I know people who keep a few hens that roost in a coal cellar at night on the back of a chair, and others whose chickens live in a bespoke Eglu. Read more
How do I introduce new chickens to my existing chickens?
It is always advisable to quarantine your new stock (in case of disease) and make sure that they have been treated for worms and mites before introducing them to your flock. This is best done at night, however there will be some disorder until the hens sort out the pecking order. To reduce the stress and bullying make sure that there is more than one feeding and drinking station so that new chickens are able to access food.