Keeping chickens the district council way

PUBLISHED: 12:21 28 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:24 10 June 2010

Monday, July 28 - OFFICERS from East Devon District Council have been giving advice to residents about keeping and raising chickens.

OFFICERS from East Devon District Council have been giving advice to residents about keeping and raising chickens.

As with all pets, owning chickens can be a rewarding hobby and children especially enjoy watching them live and grow, not to mention the excitement of collecting freshly-laid eggs to eat.

Officers are giving advice to all new poultry keepers to ensure that their pets are safe and healthy, and do not cause disturbance to their neighbours:

* Consider how many hens you would like and why you want them. A few would be great for keeping an urban garden clear of slugs and for providing eggs. If this is what you want to do, you will not need a cockerel.

* Ensure that the chickens have somewhere safe and secure to roost at night, and that the hen house is light-proof. This will keep them quiet until you let them out.

* Regularly remove and compost soiled bedding - it makes great mulch for the garden.

* Keep all food in dry rat-proof containers.

* If you wish to produce and raise chicks, one cockerel for every 10-12 hens is sufficient. If you have more than this they will argue among themselves by crowing more and sometimes fighting.

* Sometimes your neighbours might not like to hear the sounds of cockerels crowing, and may complain to you or the council. If they do contact you, try to agree an acceptable solution. If we receive complaints we will contact you, give advice to both parties and aim to achieve a resolution to the problem.

If you require any more advice, particularly regarding managing cockerels, the Environmental Health Team can be contacted on (01395) 517 456.

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