Help, tips & advice by chicken keepers

Question: We’ve decided to get some bantams but, bearing in mind space in the garden is limited, can you advise as to preventing any smell and possible fall-out with our neighbours?

Answer Jeremy Hobson says: Firstly, I would advise mentioning your plans to the neighbours (and not getting a cockerel!). Cleanliness is the most important requirement for raising poultry. Ensuring that the pen has regular fresh-smelling litter and keeping the area clean and tidy will all help towards guaranteeing a general ‘feelgood’ factor between your neighbours and yourself. Keeping pens clean will also aid in insect and parasite control but additional spraying or other measures may be needed.

Normally, it would not be a problem for the poultry keeper to get rid of manure but it might not be so easy for those intending to keep birds in a very small area. A few bantams is not likely to produce much in the way of soiled litter and old nest-box material, so it might be possible to offload it onto the local council via any various recycling programmes which they may operate. A small pen that is periodically moved over the lawn will have the effect of supplying this natural fertiliser directly to the soil. However, care must be taken if young children also have access to the same piece of lawn – in which case it might be necessary to gently rake up the area each time the house and run is moved. Keen gardeners may have a compost heap to which small amounts of manure can be added.

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