The pophole view

In order for the birds to take that first important step outside, the view from the pophole needs to be inviting. The popholes need to be easily accessible. Avoid having a large step or jump up onto the pophole. If the birds cannot see the range to attract them out, it is unlikely many of them will use it. Straw bales can help create a step up to high popholes or alternatively use a ramp. Wide popholes will help encourage range use and if the house has large barn doors, open them to improve range use. It is vital that the view from the popholes shows a range of features offering the hens protection, and allowing them to forage, dustbathe and perch. 

attractive pophole view   view of puddles from the pophole

Good range use is promoted by visible shelters, dustbaths, trees and other hens. Move artificial shelters close to the popholes when the hens are first let outside to draw them out. 

Wet, muddy ranges with no visible shelter will result in poor range use by the hens and is a disease risk.
attractive pophole view with trees
view of bare range from the pophole

Easily accessible range, trees and shrubs close to the shed will help attract the hens out.

Avoid large open spaces immediately outside the popholes. Try to fill the space with natural or artifical shelters to help attract the hens outside.

Making improvements

FeatherWel - improving feather cover AssureWel - improving feather cover Defra guide

FeatherWel management guide
[pdf, 5.49mb]

AssureWel advice guide
[pdf, 661kb]

Defra feather pecking guide
[pdf, 503kb]