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The trend this year is to create your own chicken coop ... and it's possible even in a city garden. Two small hens are enough, for the simple pleasure of admiring them or to collect some fresh eggs. Perfect for giving your family a country feel in the heart of the city ... but not under any conditions!
Do not place your chicken coop on the balcony
If raising a few hens at the bottom of your small city garden is possible, installing them on the balcony is only a utopian selling point. "I'm absolutely against the chicken coop on the balcony," says Jean-Michel Tavernier, pet shop buyer at Botanic, who also advises against impulse purchases. "As with any adoption of an animal, you have to think carefully before buying chickens ... In urban areas, there is currently an increase in abandonment of poultry with the SPA". Make sure you have enough room for their well-being, they are pets just like a dog or a cat. "We can never repeat enough, for hens to be happy, they need room to frolic", recalls Cécile Schmitt, passionate and author of the book "My first hens, instructions for use" (Rustica Editions, 5, 95 €). City dwellers often choose a couple of dwarf hens to have a few eggs: count at least 6 m² of floor space.
Do not make your hens' habitat an oven or an igloo
The choice of their habitat is of course very important for their well-being, since in a limited space, they will spend their whole life there. Most of the models on the market include a covered section which can be closed in the evening, and a closed, meshed park which can be opened in the morning so that they can stretch their legs all day; it must also include a perch. Today there are plastic city chicken coops, very design and whose main asset is hygiene, but the most used for the comfort they offer to poultry throughout the year are wooden chicken coops , whose forms are varied. You can also build your city chicken coop yourself! Place it in an essential strategic place, which will allow your chickens to live a long time: little humid, little windy and not very sunny. For this last point, you can hide part of the park so that your chickens always have a space in the shade. Finally, protect them from the main predators (rats or even foxes) by placing your city chicken coop on a concrete slab and surround it with wire mesh.
Don't neglect your hens
Admittedly, hens are renowned for not requiring a lot of maintenance and this is, moreover, an argument that will appeal to many buyers ... Despite everything, they need your regular presence to live up to 5/6 years in good conditions. On average, allow 15 minutes a day to devote to them, and if you are away, ask a neighbor to come regularly. Fill their drinker and feeder once a week (without water especially in summer, a hen does not survive 24 hours!) And clean the chicken coop once a month to evacuate the excrement, put on straw and apply natural products to prevent lice red and insects.
Don't think of your hens as composters on legs
Certainly, the hens are omnivorous and really not difficult to satisfy on the menu side. But good food will allow regular oviposition: above all cereals (seeds or mixtures in the form of granules) and vegetable and fruit peelings. Sometimes a few leftovers of meat… Besides, distributing food to them without excess will also prevent attracting predators. In general, your urban chicken coop must be kept clean!
Do not adopt a rooster
City dwellers often choose chickens for their fresh eggs… Remember that they don't need a rooster for that! Besides, in town and especially in co-ownership, avoid roosters that sing early and are a source of conflict ... Or if you want to have chicks, ask for authorization from your neighbors and find out about the regulations of your municipality . Adopt your hens in pairs so that they are not bored, and rather dwarf. Your preference may go to the "Padua", the "Silk hen", the "Dutch hoopoe", the "Beijing", the "Wyandotte" or even the "Sebright" ... Today there are beautiful little luxury collection hens. And if your criterion is to have eggs, know that some breeds are more laying than others: the simple "Red hen" for example, the "Golden Gauloise" or even the "Leghorn" (but the latter is a breed bigger). Whatever it is, you will become attached to your city hen ... Some breeds are very affectionate and behave like real pets! Thanks to Jean-Michel Tavernier, Botanic. To read: "My first chickens, instructions for use", Franck and Cécile Schmitt, Rustica Editions, € 5.95. Our practical garden videos