|Please welcome Betty, Mavis and Edna!|
We fell in love with the idea of getting chickens after staying in a cottage on the Atherton Tablelands last year that had bantams in the backyard that we fed and collected their eggs for breakfast, but always thought that the City Garden would be too small. Then I started reading about feather-footed bantams and started to think it might be possible. So after discussing various options and potential issues, we decided that we should give it a go.
Feather-footed bantams (such as silkies and pekins) are supposed to be good because their feathered feet don't allow for too much destructive digging, they are small, so require less space and we worked out that their average egg-laying quantities (less than regular sized chickens) are similar to our egg-eating quantities. It sounded like a perfect match!
I looked at a variety of pre-made chook sheds, but none really met our needs. Our shed would need to sit on a paved area of the garden, so needs a floor, including the run, which would need to be secure and large enough for them to be in if we are not home if the local cats prove to be a threat. The other disadvantages of most of the pre-made sheds included their exorbitant prices, many were imported from Asia using dubious timbers, or even plastics, and many seemed really flimsy in construction, which all gave me the perfect excuse to say "Well I'll have to make one then!" So with the help of a good friend with a ute to pick up materials, and a metal-work shop to cut up the roof sheets, M and I built it all last weekend. It's a bit rough given that we did it in the backyard using mainly hand-tools, but it's really solid and it meets all of our needs and hopefully the chickens' too! I'm really proud of the outcome, so I hope that our theory that we should be able to keep bantams successfully in our small City Garden proves correct.
I'd love to hear anyone else's experiences of raising bantams in a small area. I feel like a nervous new mother, so any tips very gratefully received!