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John Beales
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Postby John Beales » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:30 pm

I am considering having 3 or 4 chickens or bantams but have a question. According to the books I have they would be happy enough in an area of 8ft x 4ft but my question is for how long? Surely the ground would get contaminated by their droppings. Would they need to be moved every so often or would they be better off on say paving slabs that could be washed down when necessary. I am more concerned with keeping them 'Happy and Healthy' Unfortunately I am not able to let them roam free in the garden as such - 4 yorkshire terriers would see to that. Any help would be appreciated Many thanks John
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alan refail
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Postby alan refail » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:51 am

Hi John

The space is OK, but they would have to be moved fairly often, so you will need a fair area to move them around. They do need to be on grass or soil as they will spend all day scratching. Keeping them on concrete is not an option - they would certainly not be healthy and happy.
Have a look at

Best of luck

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Postby madasafish » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:59 am

Best site to read is:

You will need a mobile run.
8x4 will have no grass - and be mud - within a couple of weeks...

Also do a search on "chicken arks" or in US parlance "chicken tractors"...
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Postby Diane » Thu Jul 05, 2007 4:27 pm

Well, it depends on the size of your garden. I have a small garden and can only have space for a fixed run - so I have it mostly paved with slabs, but with a square left free so that they can make a dustbath. I cover the slabs with straw (some folk use woodchip) so that the hens can scratch about for little bits of corn, etc. I throw a small handful of corn in every afternoon which keeps them busy for hours (they do have mainly layers pellets as staple food). Once a week the straw and muck gets scraped out, the area hosed down, and fresh straw added. It all comes up squeaky clean :)

The roof is covered so the area remains dry.

I know the ideal way is to move the run weekly on to fresh ground but if you only have a small garden then it's perfectly possible to keep hens in a fixed area - just keep it clean and covered over to protect the area from the rain.

I'd choose bantams btw - pekins are fabulous little birds.
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Postby allotmentkate » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:18 pm

Hi John

We started off with our 4 hens in a henhouse and run suitable for 6 birds, the run was roughly 3' * 13', they quickly scratched up the lawn they were on and even with an extension my husband built for them we had to move them every 2-3 days. They now have a permenant run 15' square in the corner of the garden and we give them the run of the garden for most of the day. We have fenced in the areas we don't want them to get into - most of the borders and the terrace - but they are now quite happy, as are we, with plenty of room to roam and we have no problems with them at all. Our garden before fencing off is 40' * 50' and you do have to be prepared to clean up behind them before mowing the lawn etc.

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Postby RAREBREDCHICK » Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:40 pm

I would have a 4 x rota system, so they always have some fresh ground, whilst the oterh is recovering, with a bit of forethought you can keep the hen house in a fixed position and just allow them on a different 1/4 round it.

Any idea what you are going to get yet?
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