Keeping Chickens in the Garden
Keeping chickens in the garden has many advantages. You can walk out the back door and collect fresh eggs each morning, they keep the bug population at a minimum without chemicals or pesticides, and they can pay their own way in eggs and baby chicks. Not many pets can contribute to the household in such a manner.
When planning to keep chickens the first thing you will need is a safe place for them to spend the night and an area for outside exposure to fresh air and sunshine that provides protection from predators.
When planning to keep chickens in your garden, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
- Provide ample space to keep your chickens happy and healthy. Each standard sized chicken needs at least 4 square feet of space. So if you have 2 hens and a rooster you will need to provide a pen that provides 12 feet of space. Bantams only need 2.5 square feet of space each.
- Beware of wood that has been processed to stand up to outdoor use. If it has been treated to withstand rot and bugs, it contains toxins such as arsenic.
- Chicken wire can be easily torn through by many predators such as dogs, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and many others. Use a stronger gauge wire mesh to keep your chickens safe.
- Don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers near your chicken’s pen. They eat grass, vegetation, and peck small rocks and grit from the ground. Anything they eat can wind up in your morning eggs.
- If you will have children around your chickens, check the breed’s personality traits closely. Choose chickens that are more docile, and know which ones are violent as adults.