Keeping Chickens and Hens at the Allotment

In addition to growing your own fruit and vegetables, many allotment plot holders like to keep their own hens and chickens for organic eggs.

First and foremost you do need to check your tenancy agreement as private landlords and societies sometimes have differing rules and regulations surrounding the keeping of livestock on their land. For example ours will allow it once you have held a plot for two years and permission has been sought.

Hens and chickens should only be kept for personal use (non-commercial) and usually no more than 8 however 3 hens should be adequate for a family supply of fresh eggs. Chickens should be in a pair at least as they thrive in groups.

Before embarking on keeping livestock you must consider the commitment. Like having a pet, you will need to tend to their upkeep and well being; attend your plot more than once per day whatever the weather and circumstances.

Also stay informed of any bird influenza outbreaks and any actions to be taken.

You will need to factor in plenty of space for them to run around as well as a sturdy coop or enclosure to protect them from predators and bad weather.

The day-to-day care for your hens and chicken is pretty simple.  Allowing freedom to roam, to be fed and fresh water provided and then 'put to bed' away from harm during the evening. 

The coop would need to be cleaned out once per week - fortnight. 


It should be of an adequate size for the number of livestock you have and be well ventilated yet secure. Also consider perches and nesting areas.

Egg collection is recommended in the mornings or as soon as they lay - or as near as before any damage is done or they get chance to get dirty.  

You can easily obtain feed from a local farm, a pet store or online, ensure a good quality, protein rich meal or pellets for best laying.

Chickens tend to forage more so on insects and grass and you will also need to consider grit that helps them break up their food. If there isn't natural grit on the ground, think about pieces of shell from fish, which is calcium-rich.

Wood shavings and straw are good for bedding, to be replaced with freshly laid if particularly soiled or once per week to a fortnight.

See also:

Chicken Breeding information.

Chicken Coop information.

Chicken Feed information.

Chicken Health and Problems information.

We have sourced information on our chicken and hens pages from Omlet, The Chicken Vet and The British Hen Welfare Trust.

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