The outcome of our year long survey of poultry keepers.
Table of Contents
- About the data:
- How many birds have you got?
- Do you keep them free range or confined?
- How long have you been a poultry keeper?
- How do you rate yourself as a poultry keeper?
- Where do you live?
- What type of poultry do you keep?
- Have you ever struggled to feed your flock?
- Do you profit from your flock?
- Do you have an automatic coop door?
- Have your neighbours ever complained about your flock?
- Do you use diatomaceous earth?
- Have you had problems with mud?
- Do you use a veterinarian for your poultry?
- Have you taken any steps to prevent bird flu in your flock?
- How often do you clean your chickens?
- What feeds do you provide?
- Did you know some foods are illegal?
- How did you get your birds?
- What sort of coop do you have?
- Do you grow anything or forage for your chickens?
- What have your chickens suffered from in the last 12 months?
- What problems have you had as a chicken keeper in the last 12 months?
I wanted this survey to be anonymous so I could ask a few difficult questions and get genuine responses.
About the data:
All respondents were users of cluckin.net.
- I got 2731 responses over the course of the last year.
- I asked 23 questions to be completed anonymously.
- There were no incentives to complete the survey or pop up requests.
- 86% of respondents answered every question.
Several of the questions were "tick all that apply" and the totals in those questions exceed 100%.
I have to admit that allowing multiple choice answers has made interpretation of some results difficult.
How many birds have you got?
- 624 people had between 3 and 5 birds,
- 760 had between 6 and 10,
- 622 had between 10 and 20,
- 414 had between 20 and 50
- 230 had more than 50.
Below: The number of birds poultry keepers have.
Do you keep them free range or confined?
- 1546 respondents allow their birds to free range.
- 1110 kept theirs confined.
Below: Free range or confined.
How long have you been a poultry keeper?
It is no surprise that the biggest number is less than three years as these are the keepers most likely to be looking for advice.
Below: The number of years the respondents have been keeping chickens and poultry.
How do you rate yourself as a poultry keeper?
818 people rated themselves in the novice category with 1286 competent and 550 experienced.
Below: How you rate yourselves as poultry keepers.
Where do you live?
- 1486 are from North America,
- 866 from Europe,
- 182 from Australia,
- 64 from Asia,
- 32 from South America,
- 28 from Africa.
Below: Where you are all from.
What type of poultry do you keep?
This is the first of those noisy pieces of data that is a little difficult to display properly.
- 93.7% of you keep chickens,
- 12.3% keep ducks,
- 6.8% keep guinea fowl,
- 4.6% keep turkeys,
- 3.8% keep quail.
- 22.3 % of of people keep bantams,
- 14% keep rare breeds
- 14.5% keep hybrid layers like cinnamon queens.
Below: Types of poultry.
Interestingly only 21.7% of respondents see their poultry as pets.
Have you ever struggled to feed your flock?
I included this question because the cost of living crisis was just getting underway when I was setting the questions. A frankly astonishing 12.3% of you have struggled to pay for feed for your poultry.
What makes this more interesting is that in the interim results from April last year this figure was only 9.6% giving us an increase of 2.7% over the rest of the year.
Below: Problems affording your flock.
Do you profit from your flock?
Below: Just 18.7% of you make money from your chickens.
31.3% of people in the survey were not allowed to keep a cockerel, 24.7 had 1 and 29.9% had more than 1. Only 11.7% who did not currently have a cockerel wanted to get one.
Below: Nearly a third of people are not allowed to keep a cockerel.
Do you have an automatic coop door?
Just under one in 5 of you have an automatic chicken coop door.
Below: Number of chicken keepers with an automatic coop door.
Have your neighbours ever complained about your flock?
Do you use diatomaceous earth?
This is a subject that really divides chicken keepers and almost perfectly down the middle. The no just edging ahead with 51.2% of the vote.
Have you had problems with mud?
Most of you must live in warmer and dryer places than me. I have quite a few problems with muddy runs.
Below: Chickens and mud.
Do you use a veterinarian for your poultry?
61.7% of keepers admitted to never using a vet to treat poultry.
Below: The number of chicken keepers that make use of a vet.
Have you taken any steps to prevent bird flu in your flock?
Just 31.1% haven't taken any precautions against bird flu.
Below: The number of poultry keepers taking preventative bird flu measures.
How often do you clean your chickens?
We have turned out to be a clean bunch with 14.6% of us doing some cleaning daily and the majority weekly or fortnightly.
16.1% make use of the deep litter system system and just 0.2% never clean their coop.
Below: How often keepers clean their chicken coops.
What feeds do you provide?
- 83.6% of people provide pelleted feed.
- 56.8% feed scraps,
- 54.2% feed treats,
- 52.3% feed scratch grains.
Below: The feed keepers give to their poultry.
Did you know some foods are illegal?
I wanted to know if people were aware of the laws around the feeding of scraps and insects proteins to poultry. It turns out 10.8% do know but continue to do it.
Below: Nearly 11% of keepers are knowingly breaking the law.
How did you get your birds?
Respondents could tick all that applied.
- 39.8% hatched their own chicks,
- 56.3% bought chicks,
- 37.8% purchased adult birds,
- 5% show their chickens,
- 7.8% raise their birds for meat,
- 14.1% rescued battery or got ex commercial chickens.
What sort of coop do you have?
By far the most common coop is a converted or repurposed shed.
- 34.7% use a converted shed,
- 27.6% describe their coop as basic,
- 12.4% describe their coop as luxury,
- 13.7% have a metal coop,
- 11.7% bought a branded coop,
- 5.7% have a plastic coop,
- 4.4% use a stone or brick built coop,
- 11.3% built their coop themselves.
Below: Coop types and construction.
Do you grow anything or forage for your chickens?
While being useful for me to look at, this data does not display well. I got 737 different responses to this question. The most common answer by far was no, in all it's forms.
- A small proportion produced worms, mealworms or insects,
- Sprouts and fodder were a common answer,
- Wheat sorghum and other grains cropped up quite often.
- Fruit like apples and pears.
What have your chickens suffered from in the last 12 months?
I was trying to get some idea of how many keepers have lost or had sick birds.
It is a complex picture as many keepers suffered more than one problem and only 10 individuals had no problems in their flock at all in 12 months.
- 21.3% have had a bird with an injury,
- 28.7% have had feather pecking in their flock,
- 19.4% had parasites,
- 13.1% had diarrhoea,
- 35.1% suffered a natural loss in their flock,
- 34.9% lost a bird to a predator,
- 16.6% had incidents of fighting in the flock,
- 16.1% had sickness in the flock,
- 2.6% had at least once incidence of cannibalism.
Below: The sickness and loss in flocks in 12 months.
Other causes of death included one bird run over by a car and two from bumblefoot.
What problems have you had as a chicken keeper in the last 12 months?
This is another question where the results are difficult to interpret because there were many options to the question and respondents could tick all that apply.
- 60.1% of keepers have had problems with rats,
- 17.8% with feral birds,
- 15.4% with snakes,
- 15.3% with insects,
- 7% with theft,
- 8.5% with manure,
- 10.1% with noise,
- 17.1% with smells.
The most amusing response was "Brush Turkey remodelling my garden."