Backyard Chickens - What you Need to Know!

Why keep chickens?

  • Chickens make great pets for both young and old and are easy to keep and manage, as long as you have suitable space to house them.

  • Eggs – there is something great about being able to head out into the garden to get fresh eggs from you own happy chickens ready for breakfast.
  • As many people who keep chickens will tell you, they all have their own personalities and watching their interactions with one another and their environment provides great entertainment. Chickens are intelligent, sociable, friendly and productive too!

Many people when taking on chickens for the first time take on ex-battery hens. The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) do a great job at rehoming birds which have come to the end of their production lives. These make great pets, are good egg layers when they are given some TLC and it is amazing to see the transformation over time. Not only physically as they gain weight and grow feathers, but also mentally as they learn to explore and enjoy the outdoor world.

Keeping chickens in summer

At this time of year the hotter weather can help with transmission of disease, so it is important to check your chickens regularly to make sure they are healthy and happy, including checking that the vent is clean to spot and prevent ‘flystrike’. Cleaning and disinfecting the housing is very important to keep your chickens healthy, as well as preventing problems, associated mites, vermin and flies. Making sure your chickens are worm free is also important; we recommend doing a flock faecal egg count every 3 months and worming with Flubenvet© if needed.

If you have chickens, or are thinking or getting some chickens and want to find out more about how to look after them, we are hosting a free ‘Keeping Chickens at Home’ talk, led by our vet Jon Cima on the 10th of August at 7.30pm at our Cholsey branch. Contact us at or by calling Reception to register or find out more information.

Click here for further information on backyard poultry.