Keeping chickens safe and healthy

PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:08 15 June 2010

TUESDAY, AUGUST 5: OFFICERS from East Devon District Council are advising poultry owners to count their chickens and offering other tips for not disturbing neighbours. In a bid to ensure pets are safe and healthy, and do not bother other residents, officers have given the

OFFICERS from East Devon District Council are advising poultry owners to count their chickens - and offering other tips for not disturbing neighbours.In a bid to ensure pets are safe and healthy, and do not bother other residents, officers have given the following recommendations:l Consider how many hens you would like and why you want them. A few are great for keeping an urban garden clear of slugs and for providing eggs. If this is the case, then no cockerel is needed.l Ensure 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.l Regularly remove and compost soiled bedding - it makes great mulch for the garden.l Keep all food in dry rat-proof containers.l 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.l Sometimes your neighbours might not like to hear the sounds of cockerels crowing and may complain to you or the council. If they contact you, try to agree an acceptable solution. If the district council receives complaints it will contact you, give advice to both parties and aim to achieve a resolution to the problem.For further information, particularly regarding managing cockerels, the environmental health team can be contacted on (01395) 517456.

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