Pets' corner: Keeping a Collie calm and purchasing chickens

Your questions answered by Chamois Rose-Wood
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The Independent Online

My nine-week-old Border collie puppy is calm and well behaved. How can I ensure he stays this way? Richard Headison, London

Border collies are working dogs and have been bred for an outdoor life. City living can have a dramatic impact on their behaviour, which can make them seem neurotic. To give your puppy the right start in life, you need to make sure he is well socialised, not only with dogs and people, but with the whole urban lifestyle. Each day make time for the two of you to go somewhere new - for example, on a bus, train, or to sit outside at a coffee bar. Ideally you should do this before the puppy is 14 weeks old. But also make sure he gets plenty of exercise, with a good run off the lead in a park every day.

I have moved to a house with a nice sized garden and am thinking of keeping chickens. Is it difficult? Clementine Hurst, Wiltshire

Chickens have the same needs as any other pets, but with the additional benefits of fresh eggs every day! After the initial costs of buying the chickens and their coop (about 400 for two chickens and everything they need), they are relatively inexpensive to keep. They need clean water and fresh food every day and every week they should have their bedding changed and their coops cleaned. If you decide to have their wings clipped, you could let them out in your garden - if you are sure there are no foxes. A great website where you can purchase chickens and their equipment is

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