Keeping Chickens or Ducks, Not Such a Fowl Choice

Where gardens often fall down is a tendency to be too static. Admiring still life is great for a while, but everyone loves a bit of animation to really inject a bit of vitality.

One of the easiest ways to create ‘movement’ in your garden is to keep birds, whether the majesty of peacocks, the (necessarily) caged and industrious chicken, or if you’re feeling really ambitious small exotics such as free-flying budgerigars, you can create no end of interest and fascination.

If all of this seems like too much work, then of course the addition of a few bird feeders can be enough to generate attention from wild birds, which can in itself be interesting enough, particularly if you don’t feel you could give dependant birds the attention they require.

If you are up to the challenge of keeping birds there are a few things to keep in mind.

Chickens are a firm favourite, after all they provide you with eggs in the morning, and are actually very easy to manage once your initial set up is in place. As mentioned above, keeping chickens in a fox proof enclosure is absolutely essential. It needs to be substantial enough to deter the fox from burrowing underneath it in order to reach their prize, so their is a fair bit of investment involved getting this right.

Ducks have similar benefits, with their laid back demeanour I would argue they are easier to warm and become attached to than chickens. They do of course require a small pond in addition to a fox proof enclosure, which will need to be cleaned regularly. One quick word about one of the supposed benefits of ducks – some people suggest they will happily gobble up slugs, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of this!

The enclosure for ducks and chickens should be as large as possible, so should only be kept if you have a fair bit of spare space in your garden to play with. Miserable fowl makes for a miserable owner!

Of the larger birds that don’t require an enclosure, peacocks are the obvious choice, and whilst there are absolutely no doubts as to the beauty of their plumage, there are a few other less sociable considerations to be made. Firstly peacocks are noisy, very noisy. If you live in close proximity to your nearest neighbours then it would be polite to discuss your intentions to keep peacocks before investing in them, the noise they make first thing in the morning can be enough to wake even the deepest of sleepers. Given their free reign over their environment, peacocks give no regard to where they do their (very large) business, and also have no traffic sense, so you’ll need to take all necessary measures to keep them away from nearby roads.


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