aww thanks guys
Originally Posted by jennyranson
They are beautiful. I have never kept chickens, though I sent many childhood holidays on a chicken farm. But I have been thinking of gettting some in France, though I don't know how difficult it would be to learn to look after them. Can you recommend anything I should do/read to see if I could. And what breed is easiest in a temperate climate? I have a ready made hen house/coop/run there, with two large fields, so it would be ideal. The previous owners had hens who ran around with their horses!
Jenny we are pretty new to this adventure ourselves - we only got our chickens at the end of last summer. We have small chickens - they are Dutch Gold Bantams and are lovely. Because they live in our garden we decided to opt for the classic trio - two hens and a rooster. He can be noisy though and we are living on the good grace of our neighbours who say they don't mind his odd crow during the day. We keep him locked up in a sound proofed (as far as possible) coop overnight with the girls.
You wouldn't have a problem with all that lovely land that you have. But if you'd rather not be woken at 4 am, I suggest making sure that he's locked away every night and the windows of the coop (if there are any) are blacked out.
We lock Jacques and the girls away in their coop every night. Until Lottie got broody they would both sleep under Jacques' wings every night - it was so sweet seeing the huddled, one under each wing, at the back of the coop
. That way, they are kept safe from the foxes.
The girls produce about 8 eggs per week between them. Bantams eggs are smaller than regular hen's eggs though - you would need two eggs to equal a normal sized egg. But the family reckon they are much better than commercial eggs.
During the day, the birds roam the garden eating bugs and chicken feed that we spread on the ground - so no chemicals in our garden. Then we just have to make sure they have fresh water available and hay for the coop.
The rest they do themselves.
If you want to go ahead - there are some really good books around. The authoritative guide for bantam keeping is a very small book only about Â£5 but lots of good information in it and available from sellers on the internet. Let me know if you need to know the title.