Keeping Chickens in rotten weather
Autumn has arrived with it’s usual shout of heavy winds and rain. All of a sudden, the warmth, the dryness and fun of Summer has gone into a distant memory.
Maybe for some, the idea of keeping Chickens in the back garden back in April and May, is starting to wane. Here are the following symptoms….
The Kids who enjoyed racing each other up the garden at 7am to feed the chickens are now saying “Don’t want to”, “It’s too wet”, “The chickens smell”.
The cup of coffee or early evening glass of wine whilst sitting on the Garden bench watching our feathered friends scratching around is replaced with the occasional peep out the window.
You get fed up when, after you’ve put the feed down, seeing half a dozen rats scampering over to get what they can.
The slight bare patch of grass has become a mud bath often causing you to slip whilst cursing in the process.
The Partner who wasn’t sure about the decision to keep them starts saying, “Well, I told you so, but you wouldn’t listen”.
You can’t let them out because you can’t be out there with them and hungry old Foxey may be lurking around.
Eggs which were once a plenty are now few and far between. With ex-batts, they may not supply any.
The cleaning takes three times as long, the washing of clothes causes extra work and time in the Tumble Dryer or hanging over various radiators twice a week.
I’m sure that many of us more seasoned keepers of Hens will relate to at least 75% of the above at some stage or other. One or two have found it to be 100% and no longer keep chickens.
All the more reason to consider all of this before you take that Spring and Summer decision, especially if you’ve got three and decide it would be nice to have another five !
But I’ve had chickens for 10 years now and if you get through the first Autumn and Winter, you’ll get through them all.
What it has taught me though is – don’t get too many. I went from having about 15 up to over 30 at one stage and it was too many. I would sit there thinking ‘It was so much easier when I had 15’. I have space enough for about 100, but I have 11 and that is my manageable amount – just right.
But the Autumn and Winter jobs become a natural routine of the day; get up, cup of coffee, put the wellies on, up the garden, quick feed, back to the house and get on with your chores.
As long as the Chickens have some space, can keep dry if they want to and are safe, they’ll be quite happy. You will be more the problem during the coming five or six month’s.
All this may sound doom and gloom, but it’s picture which has to be painted if someone’s going to take on chickens.
BUT for the vast majority it’s not a problem, they are great Pets and the positives far outweigh the negatives. As long as you don’t mind the negatives now and again !