Our chickens free-range everywhere, but we protect our vegetable plot by caging some of the produce or by simply putting sticks around newly planted things like courgettes.
Our chicken shed is simply a huge cage, clad with wood offcuts, and chestnut poles and to make it pretty, I’ve covered it with climbing plants and planted round the edges with shrubs and flowers.
We use empty gunpowder barrels with the lids cut in half for nesting boxes and when the hens start to go broody, we put them into the cage inside the henhouse to make sure that the others don’t try to lay their eggs in a sitting hen’s clutch and to ensure they has peace and quiet for the 21 days it takes for the eggs to hatch. The shed’s in the woods at the back of the house, hidden behind tall trees and bushes and banked against the last terrace of the vegetable garden. The water comes from the roof and is stored in three barrels at the back of the shed. We rarely run out of water.