Once you’ve set up your chicken coop, got your hens, their feed and other items you need, you’ll soon discover it’s cheaper to keep a few hens to produce your own eggs at home than it is to buy them from a supermarket or local shop. So keeping chickens can save money.

Hybrid hens, like the ones we own ourselves and sell, can produce up to 300 eggs in their first year, although she will lay a little less in her second and subsequent years. Hens themselves are flock animals, so you’ll need at least two hens, preferably three as they enjoy company of their own kind. Without this, they may become depressed, pine, stop drinking and lose the will to live.

Chicken poo and the soiled straw or wood shavings that are cleared from your coop are fantastic for your compost heap. Rotted down, this material is high in nitrogen and can be used on your vegetables or flowers alike. It has no unpleasant odour once rotted and will feed your soil to give you marvellous home grown veg. If they are also fed organically, this makes your crops free from harmful chemicals. Truly a gardener’s delight!

Believe it or not, chickens also are a labour saving device. They will clear any ground that you put them on in just over a week! They will either scratch up or eat the weeds and grass as well as gobbling up bugs, small slugs, other pests and snails.

Once your chickens have cleared a spot, all you have to do is move the hens to another area and plant your vegetables in the place they have cleared. This way they are saving you money by supplementing their bought feed as well as adding to their diet themselves with nutritious tit bits from the earth.