Do you raise chickens?

Creating free range for chickens - 5 important tips

If you want to keep chickens, you need to give them a free range in addition to a coop. This must meet a number of criteria.

Eggs from happy chickens or straight from the hen house - a great idea, right? But if the decision is made to keep chickens in the garden, then not only a chicken coop is needed, but also a free-range one. After all, chickens need exercise every day.

The optimum would of course be a free run in the entire garden. If you don't value a picture-perfect garden with perfectly laid out beds and an English lawn, then this is the best solution. This type of keeping is most appropriate for the chickens and corresponds roughly to their natural habitat. The chickens look for food themselves and have a lot of exercise, so that obesity is almost impossible.

Running freely in the entire garden also has disadvantages

But as nice as this type of keeping is for the animals, it also has a major disadvantage. In the evenings the chickens belong in the coop and it is not easy to lure them into the coop, so they often spend the nights outside. This makes them easy prey for other animals while they sleep.

Sometimes a free run in the entire garden cannot be implemented at all. For example, not if the property is on a busy road that could pose a threat to the animals. Or if you choose a breed that is not suitable for uncontrolled freewheeling. In this case, the chicken farming business could easily get out of hand. Then a fenced-in freewheel is needed. And this in turn should meet some important points.

Tips for putting on a freewheel

»Tip 1 - plan two areas for free-wheeling:

Of course, all chickens need their free range, regardless of breed and size. However, it is safer to limit free run by fencing off an area next to the hen house. Since this area is exposed to heavy loads every day from scratching and the excretions of the animals, you should, however, provide two areas for it, which you then make available alternately. Of course, this is only possible if there is a lot of space available.

»Tip 2 - offer different substrates:

In a free run, you should always provide the chickens with different surfaces. However, gravel or sandy soils are not suitable because they quickly become muddy. However, the following substrates are recommended:

➥ lawn:

Lawn is of course the first choice, because chickens love the green spaces. However, you then have to come to terms with the fact that the green will quickly suffer under the strain. The chickens will usually work the lawn until there is hardly a stalk left. In this case, it is ideal if you have a second outlet so that you can switch until the first one has regenerated itself.

Laying grass pavers would be a good compromise. The openings in the plates allow grass to sprout unhindered so that the chickens can eat it. On the other hand, they cannot scratch such an area, so that the green is permanently preserved. However, the disadvantage of this floor covering is that the excretions of the animals can accumulate in the depressions.

➥ concrete:

A concrete surface is particularly easy to keep clean. However, as you can imagine, this flooring will not be a treat for the chickens. The animals must be able to scratch, which is why in this case it is essential to apply a layer of sand or earth with a height of at least 20 centimeters. You then have to renew this layer from time to time to ensure hygiene.

»Tip 3 - offer sand for scratching and swimming:

Chickens need and love sand to scratch and bathe. So if you don't have an area of ​​sand in the entire run, you definitely need to set up an area with sand. For the sand bath you should dig the ground 40 centimeters deep and then fill this pit with a mixture of sand and some charcoal. A roof should be placed above this so that the sand does not get wet.

»Tip 4 - offer sun and shade places:

The enclosure for the chickens must have both sunny and shady areas. Chickens like to be in the sun, but they also need to be able to move into the shade at any time. It is therefore best to place the sand bath in a sunny corner.

Shrubs and trees are the ideal shade providers for outdoor use. These plants also provide a certain protection for the animals, because even in the wild, chickens hide underneath them from enemies. Conifers or conifers are ideal. In any case, the plants have to be insensitive and robust, as people love to scratch underneath them.

Additional tip:

If you plant berry bushes such as raspberries or blackberries, these also serve as a source of food for the chickens.

»Tip 5 - fence in free-wheeling:

The freewheel must be fenced all around and also covered with wire mesh. This is the only way to effectively deter enemies and avoid epidemics. The fence should be at least 180 centimeters high so that animals that fly now and then cannot escape. Since the chickens like to scratch everywhere, you also have to set the fence deep enough into the ground.