It seems obvious that keeping chickens on an allotment is the answer for people with limited space at home but there are a number of points to consider first. Even if all seems well, you may find you have problems with bureaucracy. There’s some help for that here as well!
Keeping Chickens on an Allotment – Security
Will your poultry be safe? Most allotment sites are fairly quiet and problem free but some sites suffer theft and vandalism. Theft of eggs or birds is annoying but vandalism can be worse. I’ve heard some horror stories about birds being let out of the run and even being killed.
So have a realistic think about the safety of your poultry before anything else.
Keeping Chickens on an Allotment – Care of The Birds
You’ll need to be able to visit your poultry at least once a day, preferably twice a day. This isn’t a problem if you’re keeping some hens in the back garden but if your allotment site is a couple of miles away it could be too time consuming for you.Don’t forget in extreme weather like freezing cold you might even need to go more than twice a day to replenish frozen water etc. If there’s heavy snow, will you be able to get to the allotment at all?
Water can be a problem on some sites. Most have piped water but often the water is switched off for the winter to prevent damage from freezing.
What about holidays and sickness cover? One good way to provide cover is for two or three tenants to get together and keep the chickens jointly. That way one can provide morning cover and another evenings. It’s important to settle who does what though or you can end up with arguments.
Keeping Chickens on an Allotment – Other Tenants
It’s important to get the other tenants on the site in favour of the idea. Some will be concerned that your birds will be free-ranging across the site, decimating their crops. Others may be concerned your poultry will attract rats to the site.
Noise annoying people living adjacent to the allotment site is a valid concern in urban situations. It’s worth pointing out that it is cockerels that crow in a morning and that there is no need to keep a cock with a flock of laying hens.
It’s up to you to do a little PR and address any concerns your fellow plotholders may have.
Permission for Poultry on the Plot
Often the biggest obstacle to keeping poultry on the plot will be the bureaucrats. Check the site rules carefully. If there’s nothing in the rules then you can reasonably assume you can keep poultry.
However, it’s easier to say no for them and they may take the attitude that because they are not mentioned you cannot keep poultry on your plot. It was pointed out to me that it said nothing about keeping elephants either!
Be prepared for a battle but keep thing friendly. The idea is to win them over rather than just win. There’s some help on this topic in the next page.