Raising Chickens in the UK

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Much news has been reported in recent years about the growing back-yard chicken trend in the United States. Yet the Americans are not the only ones who have brought chicken husbandry back into the forefront of society. Backyard chickens are increasingly popular in the United Kingdom as well. Backyard chickens can be found in England’s biggest cities as well as in the countryside.

If you keep less than 50 chickens, you generally do not have to register with any authority in Great Britain. If you have more than 50 chickens, you’re considered a commercial chicken farmer and must be registered on the Great Britain Poultry Register and DEFRA. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs website encourages people to register voluntarily even if they have fewer than 50 fowl. For details and more information, check out their website at: https://www.gov.uk/poultry-farms-general-regulations.  The Poultry Registry allows the government to quickly and easily contact chicken owners in case of disease outbreak or other important announcements.

Specific localities may have different rules, so if you live in the United Kingdom and wish to raise chickens you must first check with your local government or council to make sure you will not be breaking any rules. Local covenants and house deeds may also contain stipulations about keeping chickens on a property. Do your research and keep it legal.

The Poultry Club of Great Britain approves specific chicken breeds and there are a wide variety of breeds to choose from. Among the more popular breeds are the Ancona, Araucana, Australorp, the Belgian Bantam, Croad Langshan, and the Legbar. Leghorns, Marans, Orpingtons, and Rhode Island Reds are great backyard birds too. Do your research to find the right bird for you.

Raising chickens in the United Kingdom is a fairly easy and straightforward process. Check your local rules and regulations, build a sturdy and protective chicken coop, and order your chicks or eggs. Private breeders, local advertisements, and online poultry companies all sell chicks in the UK. It has truly never been easier to set up your own backyard hen house. Have fun!