Keeping Chickens for Beginners: This is What You Should Keep in Mind

Every day a fresh breakfast egg from your own farm – this is what many city dwellers now dream of. In this article, you can read about the conditions under which you can properly keep chickens in your own garden and what you should consider before purchasing feathered pets.

Who Can Keep Chickens?

You don’t need a farm to keep your own chickens private. In principle, anyone with a garden can have the poultry scratched and pecked at home. In Germany, chickens are generally allowed in residential areas. However, municipalities can also prohibit the keeping of chickens in individual cases. You should therefore find out more from your local authority beforehand.

Anyone who lives to rent should contact their landlord beforehand and ask for permission. Basically, he or she has the right here to prohibit keeping the feathered friends.

Do I Need a Permit to Keep Chickens?

You do not need an official permit for private chicken rearing. However, chickens are notifiable and must be registered with the animal disease fund and the responsible veterinary office. Incidentally, this applies to all domestic poultry, including ducks, geese, and pigeons. In the event of an outbreak of avian influenza, the Tierseuchenkasse assumes the costs for the legally prescribed measures as well as for the possible loss of the animals.

Basically, however, it should be noted that every chicken farmer, whether private or commercial, is required to be vaccinated for Newcastle Disease (ND). Newcastle Disease (ND) is a notifiable animal disease. In Germany, therefore, there is a vaccination requirement for flocks of chickens or turkeys in accordance with Section 7 (1) of the Ordinance. A herd-supervising veterinarian is essential. According to Section 44 (2) of the Animal Vaccine Ordinance, this person must examine the poultry population at least quarterly and provide advice to the keeper. Only drinking water vaccines against Newcastle disease may be administered by the private animal keeper according to a veterinarian’s application plan.

Keeping Chickens in the Garden – What Should I Watch Out For?

Before you buy a flock of chickens, you should carefully consider whether your garden or yard is suitable for keeping chickens. Therefore, please note the following aspects:

  • Space: The more space chickens have to scratch and peck in the fresh air, the more species-appropriate the keeping. However, there are no legal requirements regarding the minimum area for keeping chickens privately. In order to keep chickens appropriate to the species, experts recommend an outdoor area of ​​at least ten to fifteen square meters per chicken. The space required also depends on the size of the animals. Incidentally, the outdoor enclosure must be fenced in with a poultry fence so that the chickens do not run away and are protected from wild animals and other domestic animals.
  • Barn: Chickens need a barn. You can buy a ready-made chicken coop or build one yourself. A stable area of ​​at least 2.5m² is required. The stable should be 2 m high and accessible via a door. He must protect against cold and wet and have windows so that the chickens get a lot of light. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture recommends keeping no more than three chickens per square meter of the housing area.
  • Effort: Like all animals, chickens need attention and care. Daily chores include feeding and filling the troughs, cleaning the barn, collecting eggs, and checking the health of the chickens. You should plan around half an hour a day for this.
  • Cost: In principle, keeping chickens does not cost very much. You can buy a chicken for 10 to 15 euros. In addition, however, there are ongoing expenses for feed, litter, vaccinations, and possible visits to the vet. It is estimated that four chickens cost between 300 and 600 euros.

Tip: By the way, it is a fallacy that chickens only lay eggs when a rooster lives among them. You can also keep chickens without owning a rooster. The hens lay eggs anyway – and your neighbor will thank you for it.

Which Chicken Breeds are Good for Private Keeping?

Find out beforehand about the characteristics and size of the different breeds. The laying breeds Araucana, Orpington, Wyandotte, and New Hampshire are particularly popular for keeping chickens privately. For newcomers, it is advisable to start with easy-care hybrid chickens. They are bought as laying hens at 22 weeks of age. If you have gained experience in keeping these chickens, you can switch to more demanding breeds.

What is the Minimum Number of Chickens I Should Buy?

Chickens need company because they are social animals. At least three chickens are necessary for animal welfare. With more than 20 animals, you could run into problems with the authorities, as judgments in recent years have shown.

How Many Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

How often a chicken lays an egg depends on the breed. On average, you can expect at least three eggs per week.

Can Chickens Stay Outside in Winter?

Chickens prefer to stay in the barn in freezing temperatures. As a rule, this does not have to be heated. However, the barn should be illuminated in the darker months of the year and attention should be paid to high-quality feed. The poultry also does not like drafts and moisture.

How Old Do Chickens Get?

The average life expectancy of chickens is between four and eight years.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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