For those who have never kept any kind of chickens or poultry, they may have many ideas as to what keeping chickens involves. However, the reality can be very different to the expectation. In this article, I’ll draw on my own experience, and let you know what I think on the question of ‘Is keeping chickens hard work?’
To be able to keep chickens, you need to give them the time and dedication that they need. There isn’t a lot of physical manual work, but they do need care and feeding. This takes time, and you need to give them time every single day. Depending on how many you have, depends on how much time you need to give them.
If we imagine that we have a coop in our garden. Within that coop, we have 5 chickens, and they have the run of our garden during the day. Let’s have a look and see if keeping chickens hard work:
Is Keeping chickens hard work?
Time: The birds require your attention in the mornings to let them out, and in the evenings to put them away. This needs to be done every single day. Yes, you can get automated openers and closers for the coop, but you still need to check the birds. You should be watching them and seeing what they are doing, how they are acting and if they are happy and healthy. This may only take 10 to 15 minutes twice per day (so 1/2 hour a day). But, it may take longer if you have birds who haven’t learnt how to go away on their own accord yet, and you spend an hour chasing them around the garden.
Time Taken: 10 to 15 Minutes, twice, per day (once birds know to go away).
Feed and water: The birds need food and water. Ideally, you’ll give them their feed each day, as feed left in the feeder can encourage rats and other rodent activity within the coop area. The water should also be clean, and fresh. The feed and the water can be done during the timings above, and you can observe the birds whilst you feed.
Time Taken: 10 Minutes per day
Cleaning: It won’t take the chickens long to make a mess in their coop. They will poop whilst they roost within the coop. And they will scratch in the nest boxes and make a mess in there too. Ideally, you should be cleaning them out at least once a week. The bedding will need to be changed, and the wood or plastic washed down. This is one of the most physical jobs that you will need to do. Fresh bedding should then be placed into the coop.
Time Taken : About 1 hour.
Enrichment: Chickens will give you as much love as you give them (well, most of them will, most of the time), and they enjoy spending time with humans, especially when you’re feeding them.
This is the bit that would be down to you to decide how much you want to put in. Do you want to spend an hour a day feeding them some lettuce, getting them to eat feed out of your hands, and have them sat on your lap? The amount of time you want to spend may vary during the seasons, and the days of the week. For example, you may spend a summer evening sat with them, and more time with them on the weekends.
In conclusion, Is keeping chickens hard work? And like many questions in the poultry world, it all depends. Whilst you can get away with spending 30 minutes a day or so with them, they will really respond and enjoy if you spend longer with them. The most physical part of looking after them is cleaning them out. Chickens are very easy to keep and look after, so long as you keep them safe.