Backyard poultry & ornamental fowl

There has been a real upsurge in the keeping of backyard chickens, with specially designed arks making it easier due to their size, flexibility to move around, and the fact they contain both the living and exercise area. Keeping chickens and rescuing ex-battery hens has also been encouraged by the British Hen Welfare Trust.

You don't need a license to keep poultry but if you want to keep more than 50 you need to register with the local DEFRA office. The average lifespan of chickens is 8-10 years (many rescue ex-battery hens are already several years old when rescued), and some chickens will last almost twice this.

During the summer when the daylight is long a chicken can lay up to 7 eggs a week (but it should be noted that most don't reach this number, and ex-battery hens have often drastically reduced numbers). Their standard diet is pellets, mash or meal with a source of grit to provide a grinding surface to break them down, and to help with the extra calcium for egg laying. Pecking at grass is good, and if you find the grass is getting too short or a bit messy then hanging greens in the pen can help.