Keeping chickens on an allotment(2 Posts)
Does anyone have any tips dos and donts?
We won't be getting any till after Christmas so plenty of time to plan/build/research.
I know we are not allowed cockerels and no more than 49 due to then needing to be registered. I only want 4/5 hens anyway, looking at hybrids as good layers and friendly.
Allotment is a "secure" fenced and gated allotment no electric but we have running water till the frost comes and then it's shut off, only a 10 minute walk from home.
What a lovely idea! I have had hens for years. Some ideas:
At a minimum:
(1) Safe - fox proof house plus yard. Look on the net for how to do this. You need to dig a trench and bury the chicken wire, or a fox will dig under a hen run merely placed on the ground.
(2) Food: for convenience store hen food at the allotment, you will need vermin proof container (e.g. metal rubbish bin).
(3) Water container (either fancy from poultry store or a large (low) bucket. You must keep the water topped up.
(4) Bedding (e.g. straw / shredded paper - great way to get rid of shredded paper bills).
(1) Minimum of 3 hens. Same age. Get them as pullets (i.e. not little babies) or as hens. Don't worry if they don't lay much in winter - they lay more in spring and summer, and kind of have a relax / break in winter.
(2) After several years my dh invested in a solar powered door opener for the hen house (don't laugh - it is amazing!) If you have one of these as long as there is food and water you don't need to check on them every morning. Ours is on a timer. Comes up at 6.50AM. Life changing. Your hens will go into their house to sleep when the sun goes down. Automatic door descends. They sleep. Automatic door opens and hens can wander about enjoying their space, eating and laying eggs for you.
If you don't have an automatic door opener you will need to either get up early and let them out Every Day(!) or coop the hens up all the time, which is not a great life for them. Also if you coop them up your eggs won't be as nice.
(3) some sort of dog-proof fence outside your secure hen house for hens to scratch in.
(4) Greens to eat! Eg plan to feed them a cabbage a week. You just need to chop it in half and pop in the hen run. Nutritious yolk in eggs comes from good diet. Hens need greenery (grass clippings / cabbage / spinach etc. Cabbage is the cheapest and they love it).
I hope that helps.
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