Chickens like to live a life of freedom and range where they choose, but in the modern day people interefere with this, and put them in cages to lay. People now also put them into there garden for a fresh supply of eggs, but for them to remain healthy and happy they have imporant requirements including good food, a foraging area, nutrient rich greens, space and good housing.
Runs and paddocks
Chickens like to range wherever they choose, but mostly this is not an option because people don’t like to have their flower beds in disarray, so an enclosure in the garden will do. They prefer to have a place with trees because they dont like to stand in a place where they are vulnerable to the hot sun. Our paddocks have apple trees so they shade the birds, and also give us a summer treat!
Fencing should be strong post and rail with chicken mesh, which should be checked regularly for holes.
Runs should contain a sand bath, which the chickens can use at will. It should contain sand, diatomous earth or both.
The term Free range is different to free to range, the latter refers to chickens which are not cooped up while the former is where each hen has a minimum of 4 metres square to roam.
The standard is 4sq ft in the coop and 10sq ft in the run in mainstream production.
There must be at least 10in perch space for each hen and there must be at least 1 nest box per 5/6 hens. There must be at least 1 drinker per ten hens and, by DEFRAs regulations, 15cm of feeder per bird.
There must be sufficient ventilation, birds must be warm enough, but must also have fresh air available to avoid respiratory problems.
Contrary to what some people think, chickens only lay in their nestboxes, they dont sleep in them. Therefore several birds can share a nestbox, the box must be in a quiet, dark and fairly secluded corner.
Naturally, the place where droppings are at greatest density is in the chicken coop, where they poop in the same place every night. As a result of this, coop cleaning needs to be done at least once a week. A few small bantams in a fairly large coop need to be cleaned out once a week, while larger birds need cleaning out every two or three days.