Keeping live poultry in your garden
Owning pet chickens is still something that seems like a foreign idea here in Singapore, but that is probably because not many know that it is actually legal to keep a flock of chickens as pets.
There are many other reasons to raise chickens besides getting to harvest a fresh crop of healthy, organic eggs every morning. So if the idea of keeping a pet chicken appeals to you, then here are some things you should take note of before bringing the flock into your backyard:
1. Are we allowed to keep chickens as pets in Singapore?
Keeping chickens, ducks, or even peacocks as pets are perfectly legal in Singapore as long as you live in a private residential area. With that being said, you can only keep up to 10 chickens in a household and they have to be caged.
While it’s great to expose your chickens to sunlight and get them outdoors, it’s vital to keep them out of reach from natural predators like other birds and animals at all times.
2. They make productive backyard friends
Did you know that eggs fresh from the coop are known to be tastier and more nutritious than commercially produced eggs? They contain more Omega-3 and Vitamin E too!
While you can easily pick up fresh organic eggs from the supermarket, there is nothing more rewarding than consuming eggs from your own backyard flock. This way, you will know what has gone into making your eggs and chances are, you will probably never have to buy store-bought eggs again!
3. Housing your pet chicks
Well-ventilated Chicken Coop & Run
A fuss-free chicken cage can easily be purchased online and costs between $4 to $50. Getting a cage with a pulled-out tray system would be ideal so that you can simply rinse the chicken’s poop into the plants in your backyard – ta-da, free fertilizers!
Apart from cages, pet fences are something you should consider investing in. These enclosed fences which ranges from $11 to $90 acts as a secure chicken run, allowing your flock to roam about freely.
Protect your flock of chickens by keeping your coop dark with a cage cover – preferably one that’s windproof and waterproof – to prevent your roosters from crowing too early! Depending on the size of your cage, this costs between $5 to $18.
Food Feeder Bucket & Waterer
Chickens need a constant supply of fresh water for them to produce healthy eggs. Depending on the weather conditions, full grown chicks drink between 500ml to 1l of water per day! It would be best to keep their water in the shade and if it’s possible, provide them with cool water when it’s exceptionally warm outside.
Don’t forget to change their water once every 2 days.
Investing in a good food feeder bucket (~$0.60 to $15) and waterer ($4) is one of the best ways to ensure none of it goes to waste. It also helps with preventing your excited and hungry chicks from knocking their food over.
4. Feed your flock
It is important that your chicks have access to food and water 24/7! Typically, baby chicks feed on special organic chicken feed and you can find them at our local pet stores with prices ranging from $2.50 to $4 only.
Source: Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash
Full grown chickens, on the other hand, love pecking at almost any food scraps you can find in your home – like fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen peas and corn, porridge, and even oats! Alternatively, adding live mealworms ($2.50) once a month makes for a perfect additional treat in their diet.
If you’re skeptical of what you can or cannot feed your pet chickens, here’s a comprehensive list to refer to!
5. Keeping their digs clean
Grooming your chickens at home and maintaining their living space can be a breeze only if you have the right set of tools and establish a strong daily, weekly, and monthly set of routines.
Some of the things you should check for daily include checking the feeders and waterers for any droppings residue or other debris, scooping up the poop and adding fresh bedding, and collecting eggs.
Bathing pet chickens is just like bathing any other pet animals. Simply fill a utility tub with soothing warm water, dip her into the tub gently, lather up with mild baby or pet shampoo, and towel her dry. Go ahead and use a hair dryer if you want to give them a whole spa treatment!
6. Adopt them in twos or more
Source: Philip Brown on Unsplash
Baby chicks tend to get lonely and when they do, you will never hear the end of their chirps and cries. Also, keeping them indoors for the first 2 months is essential to their growth. This is the best time to take them everywhere in the house with you and create that special bond – go ahead and netflix and chill together!
7. They make great garden helpers
If you have a green thumb, you’d be glad to know that chicken poop is a rich source of fertilizer for your plants, grass and soil. You’ll find them pecking at slugs that are harming your crop of plants and flower beds too, keeping your yard pest-free!
Raising chickens at the comfort of your own home
Rearing chickens might just be the thing for you if you’re looking for a furry friend that doesn’t stray, pays for its own upkeep by providing food for you, and keeps the bugs in your backyard at bay.
Generally, day-to-day life with chickens is pretty relaxed as they are one of the most undemanding pets to keep. If your chicken coop and run has been properly set up in the beginning, then it’ll only take about 20 minutes of your time to groom, maintain their living space, and entertain them as backyard chicks only require a small amount of attention each day to live healthy lives and still have a cluckin’ good time!