Backyard poultry housing
As a backyard poultry owner, you must ensure that your birds have a safe and comfortable coop that can be easily cleaned, to reduce the risk of diseases.
The coop should have an easily accessible door and internal walls that are of non-porous material and easy to clean. Perches should be at least 250mm in length per bird and not placed directly above the feed or water. An ideal perch for a chicken would be constructed from timber and secured about half a metre above the floor.
The coop should be enclosed with chicken mesh at the front facing in a north-easterly direction (to catch the morning sun) and an enclosed, draught-free back section. The nesting boxes should be placed in this back section, with one nesting box provided per four or five birds and secured at least half a metre above the ground. For easier access, hinged openings at the back of the nest boxes allow eggs to be collected from outside the coop.
To ensure that your birds receive enough sunlight, they can be allowed to roam in an outside fenced run or to roam free-range across your garden. However, it is important that they are kept safe from predators, including foxes and cats. You should prevent contact between your birds and wild birds, rodents, or pets as they can transmit diseases to your birds through direct contact or by contaminated feed or water supply. Wild birds and rodents can also eat a significant proportion of your bird’s feed – thereby increasing costs.