Home > Keeping Animals > Keeping Chickens in Your Garden

Keeping Chickens in Your Garden

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 23 Jun 2015 | comments*Discuss
Keeping Chickens In Your Garden

Chickens are not hard to care for – just make sure they have plenty of room to scratch around in, a steady supply of food and a comfortable place to roost and lay eggs. They are friendly and sociable creatures; each having their own personalities, and you can even buy rescue chickens from battery farms.

Taking on chickens is a big responsibility. They can live for up to 10 years and will need feeding and caring for as much as any pet. For the first three years of her life, a chicken will produce an egg every one-two days, however this will decrease with age.

The Chicken Coop

If you build your own coop, ensure it is made with strong materials, to protect your hens from predators, such as foxes. The coop needs to be comfortable as the chickens will spend each night there and lay their eggs, but accessible to you to clean and retrieve the eggs. There are many designs you can choose from, or you could be creative and design your own. You can use any materials to make your coop, including plastic, metal and wood.

Your coop should be well ventilated to provide the chickens with plenty of fresh air. It should have places for them to perch, including different levels where they can climb up and explore. It should also have areas where they can seek shelter from the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.

Bury chicken wire 20cm under the surface of the soil to protect against rats and mice, which may try to burrow under the coop to get to the eggs. Chickens are curious birds, so ensure there are no potential hazards in the coop, such as nails and staples sticking out where the hens can injure themselves.

Cleaning Your Coop

Clean out the coop once a week, wiping down the perches and nesting areas, and scrubbing the feeders. Replace the straw ever week to prevent a build up of pests and diseases.

Outside the Coop

You will need to decide whether your chickens will have a free range of your garden (where they will eat many garden pests), or remain in a caged area around the coop. Whatever your choice, they will need to have plenty of room to scratch around and establish a pecking order. If you do let them roam free in your garden, it is unlikely they will stray far from the coop.

Feeding Your Chickens

Chickens thrive when fed with a pelleted poultry feed or crumble (you will have the choice of feeding them with organic feed). Chickens also love kitchen scraps and weeds and insects from the garden (if you allow them to roam and pick food from the garden, make sure there are no slug pellets around and avoid using pesticides, which can poison them). Replace the feed regularly to prevent it from going stale, and ensure the hens always have a supply of water to drink.

Chickens are fabulous creatures to keep. They are friendly and sociable, and will reward you with delicious fresh eggs every 1-2 days. Keep them safe and comfortable, and you will have healthy, happy birds for many years to come.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I highly recommend buying ex commercial hens through Fresh Start 4 Hens, I've had two lots so far and they've been brilliant. Only a £2.50 donation each.
KatieM - 23-Jun-15 @ 2:16 PM
I love this artical!!!! Also in answer to sweetpea's question, i don't think a cockral is nessasary unless you want chicks.
sparrow - 24-May-15 @ 11:06 PM
i have 4 alottments and i am told that i am alowed 8 hens in one alotment so do i have to build 3 more hen huts to have more hens or can i put all my hens on one alottment. i do understand that if i give up one alottment i would after give up some hens as well.
skiprat - 1-Jan-12 @ 2:30 PM
Is it necessary to keep a cock for the hens to lay? I liked the article
sweetpea - 8-Aug-11 @ 3:40 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Patsy
    Re: Foraging for Berries
    I'm thinking of making elderberry jam. Can this be made from elderberry syrup or concentrate, instead of picking the berries?
    3 March 2017
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: Keeping a Pig
    Phil - Your Question:? About how much space do you need for a pig to roam (run?) around in - assuming you are feeding it scraps etc. and not expecting
    23 February 2017
  • Phil
    Re: Keeping a Pig
    ? About how much space do you need for a pig to roam (run?) around in - assuming you are feeding it scraps etc. and not expecting it to forage for…
    22 February 2017
  • Jean
    Re: What You Can't Grow
    Hi has anyone tried to grow coconut down south in uk
    6 July 2016
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: What You Can't Grow
    Jim - Your Question:Can anyone recommend a hardy tea variant that might thrive in East Anglia?Our Resp
    16 May 2016
  • Jim
    Re: What You Can't Grow
    Can anyone recommend a hardy tea variant that might thrive in East Anglia?
    15 May 2016
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: Getting an Allotment
    Faye - Your Question:How do I put my name forward for an allotmentOur Response:The article will
    27 April 2016
  • Faye
    Re: Getting an Allotment
    How do I put my name forward for an allotment
    26 April 2016
  • badger
    Re: All about Foraging
    I live in Erith Kent and like to know which areas are for foraging. Is there a foraging group? Thank you.
    22 March 2016
  • badger
    Re: What You Can't Grow
    I am looking for land to grow fruit, vegetables etc.not the council or government. Either farmers who are willing to share at the same cost of…
    22 March 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the GoSelfSufficient website. Please read our Disclaimer.