Keeping Chickens in your Garden

All you need to keep chickens in your garden is a coop or hen house and an enclosed run. The coop can be built to your own specifications, other garden buildings such as a shed can be converted and re-purposed as a coop, or most people purchase one that is either ready built or that needs assembling. A run can be an integral part of the coop’s design or you can construct one using wire mesh.

Whatever shape or size, coops should provide a safe haven from the weather and predators. They should be robustly built to withstand strong winds and offer shelter for hens who may not have experienced rain before. However, the main difference between commercially available coops is whether or not they have an integral run enclosed by wire mesh.

The size of the coop is dependent on the number of chickens you have. The floor space inside a coop should be approximately 4sq ft per hen, but it is always a good idea to buy a coop larger than your present needs to accommodate more hens when you become more experienced in keeping them and want to expand the flock.

You do not have to position the coop on grass, but this is the most popular choice. It will need to be relocated every one – three days before the grass becomes totally worn out. Hens will scratch all the grass and moss up to uncover tasty insects, so it is unlikely that your lawn will remain pristine for very long. On hard surfaces, litter such as wood shavings should be used to cover the floor, these will absorb droppings and will regularly need to be changed depending on the depth.