Chicken Keeping in Retirement
Why keep chickens in retirement?
Whilst retirement is undoubtedly a relaxing and well-deserved break, this stage of life can also bring on feelings of loneliness, which is why many, like Mary, take on a new hobby or get a pet. Chickens make for the ultimate retirement animals, being excellent companions, low maintenance, and come with the added bonus of providing a delicious breakfast every day! After all, no one ever said you had to be a spring chicken to keep them!
We recently spoke to Mary who has taken up chicken keeping during retirement, after deciding to adopt three ex-caged birds from one of her local chicken rescue centers in September earlier this year. When asked if she would be happy to share her experience so far, she couldn’t wait to tell us all about her flock and the journey they’ve all been on.
What you’ll need to start keeping chickens in retirement
Getting started on your chicken keeping journey is easy with the right equipment. A low maintenance and easy to clean chicken coop, like the Eglu Cube, will give you more time to enjoy your new gardening companions. This raised chicken coop is also the perfect height for collecting eggs and pulling out the droppings tray to tip into your compost bin. The Eglu Cube house is big enough for 3 – 6 large hens, and if you choose a good laying breed or rescue ex-battery hens, that will get you 2- 4 fresh eggs a day! Extend the integral run at any time to give them more secure space, or attach to a larger Walk In Chicken Run so you can easily spend time with your feathered friends.
Add an Automatic Chicken Coop Door to the house to make chicken keeping even easier. The Autodoor will let your chickens out at sunrise, and shut them back in at sunset, so you don’t need to change your routine or worry about them when out and about.
What’s it like keeping chickens in retirement?
When we spoke to Mary, UK avian flu regulations had been enforced just a matter of days before. For a comprehensive guide on what the current guidelines are please refer to Avian Flu in the USA.
I’ve had them for about 8 weeks now. All of it’s quite new to me really! It’s the first time I’ve had chickens and I haven’t handled chickens before. I do think it was quite helpful having the What The Cluck book, which has been great and it’s been nice to refer back to. It’s been great fun and a learning curve.
When they first arrived, they all laid an egg the day after I had them but after that one of them wasn’t laying at all and she definitely looked rather sorry for herself compared to the others – she wasn’t eating and drinking as much either and she would just be standing there for a while. I did call the BHWT who were very helpful though and I took her to the vet. The avian specialist couldn’t find anything actually wrong but she was really moulting and just needed time and feeding up. Fortunately, she has since improved!
Since the avian flu restrictions, I shut them away, which is a shame because they were enjoying foraging! It does feel very sad really. There are leaves everywhere at the moment and they look so lovely amongst them!
How was setting up your Omlet chicken coop and run?
I rather left the task to my husband but the Omlet manuals are very comprehensive! I think the nesting box is excellent and it’s lovely to have the automatic door to let them out first thing in the morning and make sure they’re secure at night. It’s great being able to move [the coop] about too!
“Funnily enough, it’s quite the motivation to get up in the morning. They become a reason to get up early.”
Have you been doing a lot of cooking with the eggs?
Well, yes – a fair bit! I’ve really noticed over the two months I’ve had them the yolk has really yellowed/oranged up. It’s been very nice to be able to give family and friends eggs and everyone says how lovely they taste.
Has there been anything unexpected about chicken-keeping?
One thing I have been concerned about is that I have 2 cats – both of them are hunters. I was a bit concerned about how they would be but they’ve actually given them a very wide berth. They simply sort of look at them and go round the end of the garden!
So, do you think retirement is a good time to keep chickens?
Oh yes because you’re around a whole lot more! I love being outside and gardening anyway, and now it’s definitely an added incentive to be out there, wasting my time, watching them. They all sort of come and see what you’re doing and if you turn anything over, they’re in there looking for delicacies.
“They are fascinating and entertaining and terrible time wasters!”
For Mary, chickens have introduced new joy to her garden, even more reason to spend time outside and fresh eggs for her bakes. As she continues her journey, we’ll be catching up again in a few month’s time, so stayed tuned to read the next part of Mary’s retirement chicken keeping adventure!
Mary’s Omlet setup was gifted by Omlet.
This entry was posted in Chickens