As most of you know I got the go ahead to have chickens on my allotment in the Autumn and since then I’ve been busy planning and researching as well as working on a coop for them to live in. Since the New year however I have been having a few doubts about keeping chickens and it’s knocked me back a few months.
It’s not so much the time that I’m worried about, I’m more than happy to let them out at the crack of dawn, to replenish food and water when needed and then put them away again at night time. I also realise this will have to be down in the sunshine, rain and snow! The allotment site is a mere 2 minute cycle ride away from the house so this wouldn’t be a problem at all and I’d just like to mention that I can’t have the chickens at home in the back garden. The one thing I am worried about are foxes and what they could do to my little flock. Obviously I would try my hardest to make the plot, coop and run as safe as possible, but I’ve heard how clever those sly foxes can be and of the mess they can leave behind and that worries me.
I also think the problem is that I’m looking too much into the future when I really should be living in the present! I’m 25 and currently living at home so I’m worried about the time when I move out and have to give up my allotment as well as the chickens.
The original idea was to build a coop with a run for the chickens to spend time in when I wasn’t up the allotment during the week, and then at the weekend and evenings they would be let out to roam my allotment whilst I was there. I love the idea of walking around with chickens at my feet, for them to forage for slugs and fallen apples from the neighbours overhanging tree and to be happy. This would however, require me to add another layer of chicken wire to my plot fence so that the chickens can’t escape or fly over it. I would also need to either net, or fence off my small vegetable patches to stop them pecking at my crops. Which wouldn’t be a problem at all!
The other option would be to build a large walk in run which will enclose the coop and be entirely fox proof. This would have to be made from stratch to fit into the 2 metre by 3 metre space with a wire mesh skirt around the base to stop foxes digging, a large door and possibly a pitched roof with part of it covered to protect the coop and chickens from the rain. The floor of the run would also need to be covered in something (although I’m not sure what!) to stop it turning into a huge mud bath in the Winter.
I’ll be sitting down tonight with all my books, notes, plans and the good old internet to do yet more research. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated and would appreciate any help from all you fellow chicken keepers out there 🙂