Keeping local chickens is great! They are so beautiful and their variety of colours and patterns never ceases to amaze me. You will get eggs and meat – as well as hours of entertainment watching their antics and enjoy their gentle calls.
So where to get them?
Well, everyone local says you bring them from the village. But what if, like me, you don’t have a village? Local chickens are available for sale in the markets, but there are a few things you need to watch out for so you don’t get stung:
-there is a common disease called Newcastles disease that is a highly infectious viral disease among chickens. There is no treatment for it (although there is a vaccination). If lots of the chickens in a village are dying, the remainder often get rounded up and rushed to market to sell before they too die. The symptoms are things like lethargy, droopy eyes, green poo, but a chicken may not show any symptoms the day you are buying. So, just buy one or two chickens, and keep them in isolation for a month or so to watch and see if they are well.
-there is a lot of pressure from the market sellers to buy, and to buy quickly. Both times we went, they opened the doors of the cages and used a big stick to point to chickens to identify which ones we wanted. This scared the chickens which meant that they jumped up. I think it would be better if you can persuade the sellers to leave the cages closed so that you can watch the birds to see which ones are sick and droopy (as even a sick chicken can jump up when startled).
-Buy just one or two birds to start with, and don’t add any more for a month or so when you have seen that they are healthy. Keep them separate from any birds you may have already until you are sure they are ok.