We have a small flock of nine chickens. Six of them arrived as juveniles in January 2018 and we acquired three 'lodgers' who are now more or less permanent.
The chicken coop is a repurposed garden shed with two nest boxes and plenty of perching places inside. We use woodchip on the floor and hay in the nest boxes. Diatomaceous Earth (natural crushed fossil made in to a very fine powder) is sprinkled in the coop to keep down any crawling insects. The coop door is always open (day and night) so they can come and go as they please within the safety of their enclosure.
The enclosure is a 11m x 9m area, fenced-off to protect against foxes. This works out at around 10 square metres per hen - well in excess of the 4 required by EU organic standards. This includes summer vegetation for shade, cover to protect from rain, and plenty of dust bathing areas.
Outside this we have an open, grassed 100 square metre chicken run protected by an electric fence. The electric fence is our first line of defence against foxes. The chickens are let out into the run most days where they can graze on the grass, and go bug hunting. They're secured back in the enclosure at night - just in case!
The hens are fed on a mostly organic diet comprising organic layers pellets and organic mixed corn - both from The Organic Feed Company. We supplement this with kitchen scraps - eg bread, rice, and other leftovers (but never meat or poultry) and excess salad leaves from the polytunnel and aquaponics greenhouse. They also help themselves to bugs and worms from around the chicken run.
Water is available within their enclosure 24-7. We add a splash of apple cider to their drinking water once or twice a week to help boost their immune systems.
Check out our Free range eggs page to see who's who, and who lays which egg!