Poultry on the plot

eggsWhat could be nicer than having freshly laid eggs from your own hens! Forget those miniscule and generally tasteless supermarket eggs sold in their millions, instead set up your own egg production unit down on the plot. Select your own hens, provide them with the right living conditions and a good food supply, and they will in turn reward you with beautiful, tasty eggs.

Under the terms of the 1950 Allotment Act, the keeping of hens is deemed an allotment holder's right as long as the eggs produced are for 'own consumption' and not 'for profit'. By the way - the keeping of rabbits on allotments are also deemed 'a right', but their complex needs makes them less suitable for allotments. That said, it is very important that hens are kept in appropriate conditions and do not constitute a nuisance to others.

The keeping of any livestock (and this includes egg-laying hens) is subject to the Animal Welfare Act and strict codes of welfare enforced by the RSPCA. Depending on flock numbers, registration may be required with DEFRA (Department For Rural Affairs). As of 28th February 2017, new guidance has been provided by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) entitled 'How to keep your birds safe from Avian Influenza (bird flu). Click on the PDF file icon to download a copy.