first time owner really excited need basic advice

Jayne chick p

5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
Hi I am looking to get 6 hens for my allotment have always wanted them but know nothing. I want to give them the perfect environment and keep them happy. Could anyone give me easy to understand advice remember I am completely new to this. I have read loads on the Internet but everything is in (you have owned hens for years) language lol. Advice like feeder size, pen size, and stopping boredom etc would be great.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
Welcome to our forum! Check out our Learning Center, above for the basics, along with things like how to tame chicks, keeping them entertained, etc.

Your climate is plenty mild enough for an open style coop and pen. Chickens tolerate cold much better than heat, doing well in temps well below freezing, but suffering a lot in hot weather, requiring plenty of shade and breeze. Some ideas:

For adult feeder size, I'd look for a hanging style feeder (conserves feed,) maybe 6L to 8L; I don't know what is available there. About the same for water. You'll probably want a metal garbage can to store feed. On boredom, the main thing to keep in mind is, the more space, the better. They will destroy the grass in one season. They love things to jump on, hide behind, etc. Just moving things around provides variety for them. Of course they are food oriented, and will enjoy your fruit and veggie trimmings and many table scraps. Other things sometimes used are things like hanging a cabbage or flock block, or tossing them a handful of bird seed or sunflower seed.

You might also enjoy our UK thread:

Above all, enjoy!
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Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop

Welcome to BYC!

Judy has really given you some great advice! Give them about 4 or 5 square feet per bird in the coop. This is very important as if they are stuck inside during bad weather, they will go off on each other if cramped in. If this is the case, being stuck inside for long periods of time, give them things to do...hanging veggies or cabbages, seed blocks, ect...things to keep them busy and not interested in picking on each other. The run needs to have at least 10 square feet per bird. Make sure to add plenty of ventilation in your eaves or ceiling if you go with a closed coop. Do not use chicken wire as it can be chewed thru by night time predators. Use hardware cloth only.

You might want to stop by our coops pages for some ideas on building your new coop. Many of these are easy to follow and some even have plans....

Here is our treats chart as well so you can see what kinds of things you can feed your flock besides their regular chicken feed....

As for breeds of chickens, depending what you are looking for in chickens, here are a couple nice breeds charts that will give you some fun quick info on the attributes of the different breeds....

If you are looking for a friendly breed that is also a great layer, consider the Orpingtons....Buff Orpingtons or the Black Australorps. These two are very docile, kid friendly, great layers and are very hardy over all. My Orps follow me around like drooling puppies looking for goodies or a nice soft lap to sit on.

This should get you started. Definitely stop by our learning center here on BYC for lots of articles on raising your new flock....

Enjoy this new adventure you are on! If you have any further questions, that is what we are here for. Welcome to our flock!


8 Years
Oct 9, 2013
South Western Death Valley, Ca.

I use a five gallon waterier and a tower feeder that holds 20 pounds of feed the coop should be heave wire with small holes and something covering the top so nothing can get in or out .... have a safe place for them to roost ....


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some great advice and links above, so I'll just say Good Luck with you chicken project!

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