Chickens are intelligent creatures and are arguably easier to look after than a cat or a dog. As well as being engaging creatures, one big advantage of keeping healthy chickens is being rewarded with a regular supply of eggs. There is one area of concern for all chicken owners and that is the having to protect them from predators. As well as being properly protected, chickens, though hardy creatures, will still need to be given good shelter.
Decide on how many hens you want and buy all your hens at the same time, rather than adding to your brood later on. Different breeds of hens will get along together, but new hens will often be attacked by the hens already in residence. Though the new hens will eventually be accepted, a bigger problem will be created if you decide to have a rooster and then introduce another new rooster later on. Roosters can fight ferociously, even to the death.2
Work out how large your chicken run is to be. Chickens need an area large enough to have dust baths and to be able to search for insects. The traditional chicken run consists of wooden posts and iron wire. Make sure that every part of the run is secure and that your chickens are protected from predators, such as foxes.3
Choose a chicken coop that is big enough to comfortably house your chickens and also is big enough to include several nest boxes for your hens. A chicken coop needs to be a building solid enough to withstand extreme weather and spacious enough for all your chickens to be able to move around in comfortably.4
Feed your chickens a mixture of pellets and oats, which is a diet conducive to good egg-laying. Chickens will eat food scraps, but these shouldn't be the main part of their diet. Chickens should always have a supply of drinking water available during the day.