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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 2811
Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 18 12:13 am    Post subject: Backyard chicken-keeping Reply with quote

It's been a while since we last kept chickens. Back in rural France, we just let ours roam free, gave them some wheat each day and they largely looked after themselves. Now, I plan to rehome some ex-battery hens and let them have a fenced-off section of the garden.

Looking for inspiration online has drawn a blank thus far. Google searches deliver images of pokey cages or field type fences. But nothing similar to what I'm hoping for.

My intention had been to set up a fenced-off area around their (under construction) house. I'd been hoping it wouldn't need to be higher than 1.5m; probably nearer to 1.2m. Our garden surrounded by walls/trellis on one side (at least 1.8m high), sturdy 1.5 high fence at the back and flimsier trellis-style fence on the other side which is no higher than a metre. I have seen a fox in our garden during the night, but never in the day.

What are you options? Should the enclosure have a mesh roof? Or is it better to have higher sides (1.8m)?

Lastly, what else do I need to consider about urban chicken-keeping?


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42729
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 18 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fox proof mesh including roof might be wise,


Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 1467
Location: Somerset
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 18 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless French foxes have very short legs, 1.5m wire is nowhere near high enough. My neighbour saw a fox scale our 6ft enclosure, grab a plump Rhode Island Red and exit with bird back over the fence. We then put wire over the top and lost no more.

We now have our hens in our orchard behind standard electric chicken netting and that works - no fox-related losses for several years, and we know a fox walks through the garden-orchard regularly. Bon chance!


Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4462
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 18 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you in the UK now?
If so, we're still under bird flu regs so you'll need to keep them secure from wild birds etc.


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 42729
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 18 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

serious question, how urban?

if you have more than three neighbours within a mile or so somebody would object to one or far worse more than one rooster. even a bit of clucking upsets some folk .

that might not be a problem but urban chooks have issues rural ones dont .

whose rats are they? can i pop a fox trap in your garden? if i use a suppressor are you ok with nocturnal gunfire ? it wasn't me that poisoned your dog i use traps etc etc

is there enough space to do chook stuff? they do have a way of "expanding " . is there space for a fallow pen area etc so as they can be rotated?
is there space to start with say 10 and have perhaps six in a month? cull age industrial birds can be a bit tricky to rehabilitate. ( the ones via rehoming services have had a couple of weeks tlc/obs for problems/a couple of weeks to die of shock, stupidity etc etc but still need biosecurity etc on introduction )
you may also need space for the ones to replace batch one, only a few make it to more than a couple of years so unless you are ruthless with old friends you need facilities for introducing new birds to the flock, a basic level of biosecurity seems sensible at such times and that takes space.
etc etc .

some of that happens even if you have plenty of space and a few chooks can be a good garden feature , they are good at gardening if properly directed, chooks are ace and with good planning can be happy and useful in urban places.

the remedy is good physical security, hygiene

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