The so-called “hobby farming” and in particular the private keeping of chickens are enjoying increasing popularity in Germany. Chickens can make great pets, and fresh, organic eggs from your own backyard aren’t to be scoffed at either. Just a few square meters of free space and a coop are enough to give a small flock of chickens a new home. But the purchase should be well thought out, because in addition to animal-friendly husbandry, it is also important to meet the relevant legal requirements. We have summarized the most important things about keeping chickens for you.
Considerations Before Purchasing Chickens
Can you keep chickens “just like this”?
Before you put your plan into action and settle chickens in your garden, you should find out exactly which legal and building law restrictions and specifications must be observed:
- In the case of tenancies, the landlord’s approval is generally required. If he agrees, have this confirmed to you in writing. The neighbors should also give their consent.
- If you own a house, nobody can initially forbid you to keep chickens. However, the rule of “consideration” applies, especially in residential areas with direct neighbors. Therefore, before purchasing chickens, it is important to consult with the neighbors. Do you agree with the chickens in the neighborhood? This is especially true if a rooster is to be part of the group, as they can be very noisy.
- Find out from the city administration or the competent veterinary office whether there are any particularities in relation to keeping chickens that need to be taken into account in your region.
- In allotment associations, keeping chickens is forbidden in most cases.
- Depending on the size, building regulations may apply to the construction of a permanent chicken coop.
Registration & Vaccination
Regardless of the place of residence, it is necessary to take into account that the chickens must be registered and vaccinated. From the very first animal, the number of chickens kept and any arrivals and departures must be reported to the responsible veterinary office as well as to the animal disease fund. There you will also find out at what intervals this message has to be updated, this is usually the case annually. If you fail to report this, you may be subject to severe fines.
In addition, as a private chicken farmer, you are also obliged to vaccinate your animals against the so-called “atypical avian influenza” (Newcastle disease). This vaccination is usually given every three months via the drinking water. Consult a veterinarian about suitable vaccines and intervals.
Which breed of chicken is suitable?
Chicken is not just chicken. In order to have a lot of fun with your animals, you should first inform yourself about the different breeds and their peculiarities. The different breeds of chicken differ not only in their appearance and weight, but also in their behavior. There are breeds that are considered particularly tame and trusting, while others are more shy. There are animals that love to fly and those that prefer to stay on the ground. Chicken breeds suitable for beginners are, for example, Sussex, Vorwerk or Sundheimer chickens.
In addition to poultry clubs and breeders, there is also the possibility in Germany to take in laid-up laying hens through appropriate clubs. These are mostly hybrids, bred with the aim of laying as many eggs as possible. From about 18 months of age, however, they become “unprofitable” for the egg industry. You can imagine what happens to them afterwards. Various initiatives convey these chickens to private keepers in order to give them a good old age. And this can be a long time, because chickens can live up to 10 years, depending on the breed. Keep in mind, however, that worn-out laying hens usually have special housing requirements due to their specific breed, for example with regard to warmth. In addition, they often show problematic behavior because they are not used to life in “freedom”. If you’re okay with that, adopting a former laying hen is a nice option.
Tip: Have you adopted chickens from a recognized animal welfare organization? Then present the adoption contract in one of our markets or send it to us by email. You will receive one voucher per animal from us because we support the adoption of animals from animal shelters and animal welfare organizations. You can find more about this under “Adopting instead of buying”. Under the point “Adoption” on our homepage you might even find the right chickens!
Animal-friendly chicken husbandry
Have you informed yourself sufficiently and decided to give some chickens a new home? Then it’s time for concrete planning. What do chickens need? What does animal-friendly husbandry look like? How big does the barn have to be?