Nature on our Doorstep - New, The Down the Lane Wildlife Diary
Siting your Chicken Coop in the Garden
Putting your Coop in the right position makes for happy hens and a happy you!
Where you site your Chicken Coop in the garden means fairly careful planning and preparing for what may happen in the future. By the latter I mean that many people start off with three chickens and end up with 20!
The main things to consider are SECURITY from Foxes and Dogs, SAFE by not making it easy for them to escape, HEALTHY by being somewhere where they have shade and sheltered from the extremes and of course YOURSELVES in where it is to go and feed them every morning (can be a chore on a cold rainy January morning!) and of course the MAINTENANCE.
There is a false perception that Chickens need grass. Well, to be honest, I let my Chickens out quite a lot when I'm working in the garden Office where I can keep an eye on things and they are rarely seen pecking away at Grass. They have far better fun weeding the Greenhouse, Vegetable Patches and scraping under the Hedges.
The Chickens evolutionary habitat is Woodland and tall grass. They only decimate a Lawn because a). that's all there is available and b). they want to get to what's underneath.
So putting a Chicken Run in the middle of your Garden on some grass basically means the grass will be gone in a matter of days, you move them on, the same things happen and before you know it, the whole Lawn has become spent and a distant memory of the past!
So, I would suggest the following which is based on my experiences plus many Members of the Down the Lane Forum.....
Chicken Coops against a Fence
Having a Coop alongside a Fence has it's advantages. You can actually make the Fence a part of the Chicken Coop itself, as long as some wire netting is set down into the ground a foot down along the length to distract foxes digging in.
Chicken Coops under Trees
Some of the best Chicken Runs I've seen are those which have been put in under Trees, the only thing to watch (which happened to me once) is that Foxes can climb a tree and jump in, so you will need to protect them.
Seen from the House
It's always a good idea when you have the Coop in view of from a window of yours. If anything is about, they will often give that squalling call and it's re-assuring plus time saving to be able to see them rather than making a panicked dash down the garden!
When using a Shed as a Chicken House
Often the Garden Shed is in a pretty good position for Chicken Keeping and with just a few adjustments, they can easily be changed into a Chicken Coop (see here). If you have the materials, try making the attached Run high enough for you to walk in. Having a low Run may seem a good idea at the time, but it's surprising how fed up you can get with all the bending down and getting filfy dirty everyday!
I am pretty sure that those who have Chickens, then change their mind after a few month's do so because they either don't have a Lawn left or have found the novelty of feeding them at 6am on a snowy day is too much.
Both these reasons can be discounted by planning it out beforehand and putting your Coop in the right place and again I emphasize, if you catch the habit, your Flock will soon grow.....and grow.....and !!!!.
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Chickens like what's on and under the grass
A fence acts as a wind break
Shelter is a key issue
Chicken Coops look good when blending in with your garden design
A very happy home, under trees and lots to scrape
A bit heavy, but can be moved about
Great Coops from Omlet