You’ll see from our website of which type we’re more fond but this is an important debate in the poultry keeping world so we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of each material. Fantastic plastic or wonderful wood – the debate between poultry keepers continues on a yearly basis and there are strong supporters on both sides. Remember, which ever style of house you choose it’s important to make sure you buy a good quality house that gives your chickens the space, comfort, and security that they need to stay happy and healthy. Let’s take a look at wooden chicken houses first: Wooden chicken houses Wooden houses are obviously more traditional and some poultry keepers would say prettier too. A high quality wooden chicken house will robust, practical, and less likely to blow away in a storm than a plastic coop. One of the most common complaints about plastic chicken houses is that they aren’t breathable and reports of condensation are frequent. You won’t get this problem with a wooden design as wood is naturally breathable. If you have specific needs you’ll also find that a wooden house is more flexible as they can be built to order. In fact, our own bespoke order service is very popular with our customers! Customisation in terms of colour is also easier when you have a wooden house. You can paint them any colour you like and if you change your mind you can sand the paint off and start again, or simply paint over the original colour. And now for the plastic chicken houses: Plastic chicken houses In recent years plastic houses have become increasingly popular, especially with urban chicken keepers and school or college poultry projects. The bright colours make them popular with children and removable lids make it quick and simple to collect your delicious eggs. They’re also easy to clean, give a contemporary look to your outdoor space, and can be cheaper to buy and maintain than their wooden counterparts. Plastic coop fans often tell you that the biggest plus point of having a plastic chicken house is that the risk of pesky red mite is removed. However, if you think that a plastic hen house will make your flock red mite proof, unfortunately you’re wrong. Red mite can not only live on the bird but it can also live in the cracks of the house, hiding from prying human eyes. Lurking in the cracks allows the red mite to sneak out at night and feast on your flocks’ blood whilst they sleep so the truth of the matter is that a plastic house isn’t always a red mite free house. Plastic or wooden? We'd love to hear your opinion on which material you prefer for your chicken houses.
The benefits of keeping chickens are widely known, but these benefits can be even more miraculous when you take up the hobby later in life. Here are some of the reasons that chickens make brilliant pets to keep when you reach retirement age: Delicious, nutritious eggs “Free”, fresh, protein rich eggs are the most obvious reason to keep chickens at home and research has shown that increased protein consumption can aid things such as memory function as our minds and bodies get older. Hens are great gardeners If you’ve found yourself spending more time in the garden then you’ll be pleased to hear that your hens will be only too happy to help your outdoor space flourish. They’re a fantastic source of fertiliser, they’ll keep the garden free of pests and weeds, and they enjoy nothing more than scratching around in soil so they’ll aerate and loosen beds ready for planting. Just remember to use netting to fence off anywhere that doesn’t need their “help”! Chickens are social creatures Retirement can mean longer periods spent alone at home which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. As chicken keepers will tell you, you’ll always have companionship and entertainment when you have hens. The healing powers of hens have been well documented, not least with the “HenPower” project, which has seen thousands of “hensioners” across the UK take up chicken keeping in their own homes and residential homes. Chicken keeping is easier than you think Food, water, and a few minutes of your time every day is all it takes for happy hens. Unlike a dog or cat, a chicken is happy to be left to its own devices and of course, you don’t need to walk them! Automatic doors and wheels can be added to chicken houses to make them secure and easy to move. Grandchildren are usually only too happy to help with tasks such as cleaning, giving an interest to share with the younger generation.
We all love a treat from time to time and your chickens are no exception to this rule. Occasional treats are a great way to bond with your birds and they can be useful if you’re trying to help them beat the heat this summer. As a general rule you shouldn’t give chickens treats when it’s hot as digestion promotes increased internal body temperature. However, frozen and cooling foods can be particularly welcome when the weather hots up. Here’s a quick list of frozen treats that will help them keep cool: Frozen mint ice cubes – it’s long been known that mint has cooling properties both for humans and animals. Freezing chopped up mint leaves in an ice cube tray and giving them to your hens will give them something to do and help them cool down. You can also add extras such as peas and diced strawberry to the ice cubes for an additional treat. Frozen berries – try throwing a handful of frozen berries into a bucket of cool water and watch your hens go mad for them! Frozen fruit smoothie – if a frozen fruit smoothie sounds delicious to you then it probably will to your hens as well. Including a bit of natural yoghurt can also help your hens’ digestion. Frozen watermelon – you can cube it, slice it, or cut it into quarters, then put it in the freeze until frozen and give to your flock as a fruity frozen snack. Remember, treats alone won’t keep your hens cool so you’ll need to take other measures to ensure your hens are happy and healthy in the heat. Provide as much clean, fresh water as you possibly can, especially in shady spots where your hens will hide in the hottest part of the day. Increase ventilation in the coop by opening all doors and windows. You may also want to leave the chicken house windows open overnight if it’s safe to do so. Create some shade using tarpaulin, patio umbrellas, wind breaks, and ornamental plants in pots. Keep bedding in the chicken house to minimum – save the deep littering for the winter! Give your hens a shallow paddling pool so they can cool their feet and avoid the hot earth. Make sure your chickens have a shaded area to dust bathe in. Not only do they do this to keep clean, but it also helps them to keep cool. Have you got any tips for helping hens to stay cool in the summer? We'd love to hear from you if you do!