QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Tell me more about the popholes?
This is a wide low door which has to be open for at least 8 hours a day, 8am to 4pm in the depth of winter and can be open until 11pm in summer. This is because the birds return to the shed to roost at night, so as the days get longer they can spend longer outside. Freedom Foods say that pop holes should be 45cm high by two metres wide and that popholes must be opened no later than 9am
Q. Do all chickens go outside?
Studies have shown that chickens have a varied time on the range. Some lay their eggs first thing in the morning and go outside just as soon as the “popholes”. They spend all day ranging, others hang around the shed and some stay under the trees. Depending on what’s in the shed and what’s going on, most hens will venture outside if only for a brief period.
Q. What is the range?
This is a large mainly grassy area with trees for shade and areas to dust in, also patches of plants to encourage hens further from the shed. Vegetation makes the yolk of your egg golden yellow. Some producers provide bales of hay for the hens to be adventurous around as well as sand pits and other activities.
Q. How big is a range?
2000 hens have a minimum range size of 10,000 square metres, many ranges give hens twice this area.