People often say to me "I'd love to keep chickens but my garden just isn't big enough". My response to this is any sized garden can accommodate a few hens, you don't need lots of space and you really do not need a massive garden. You could use something as small as a rabbit hutch or an even smaller idea is a fence mounted coop like the one below.
(Photo Sourced from http://farmingfriends.com/)
I have quite a nice size garden so I have the space for a larger coop. When I decided to rescue some ex battery hens I started looking about for a coop and was surprised at how expensive they can be. Papa is no carpenter but he is quite handy with a hammer and nails so we decided to build one. As you know we love pallet wood and by using that we could have a coop for free.
My main concern was keeping my ladies safe from foxes. I had heard horror stories of foxes getting into the coop and slaughtering every last one and I really didn't want to wake up one morning to that. We began by digging out a trench and Papa made up some wooden cages using chicken wire (measuring approx six inches) and he buried them under the ground where the chicken run was going to be placed. This would stop predators (and our own dog) from digging under the Chicken run and causing havoc.
(Trench Dug and small cages buried before putting the coop in place)
We built the actual coop on legs which is another good way to keep your Hens safe.
We created a pitched roof and used ply wood which was recycled from a local factory. They had thrown it away into their skip...we asked and they happily gave it to us. A smooth floor makes it easier to clean and sweep.
Papa put two big doors either side of the Hen's little doorway. The doors hinged and swing open, these big doors make life easier when it comes to mucking out. Also being on legs the muck can be scooped straight onto a wheel barrow for easy disposal.
The coop has three nesting boxes inside with a drop down hatch which makes collecting eggs a doddle.
Papa then made a run for our ladies to be free. I would love to let them roam free around my garden but my pooch wouldn't like that very much.
Our Granddaughter helped with construction and our pooch is happier with the hens safely tucked behind their run.
Do you keep Hens or fancy keeping them?
They really are great pets (and they feed you!)