Outdoor/free range systems

Wintergarten / Covered verandas
Covered verandas can be build as additional element to the henhouse or as part of the total construction. For the latter the roof and floor are extended. The wall between the inside area and the covered veranda is then build more to the inside of the house. The outside wall often is a curtain that can be lifted to provide hens access to the free range area. If there is no free range the ouside wall is fenced off with wire mesh preventing hens from going out, but letting the fresh air blow freely through the area. Only some protecting devices can be made to prevent rain entering the area.

The floor of the covered veranda is usually covered with litter. This can be only a thin layer of sand, but especially in organic farming the area is used to provide hens with additional feeding materials (e.g. straw, vegetables).

Free range
Free range can be covered with grass, but to encourage hens to use the area, more should be provided. Hens use the area if there is sufficient shelter. This may be trees or bushes, but it can also be artificial shelter (elevated nets, tents) and also a fence is used as cover to walk along. Providing water, feed or a sandbath is another way to attract hens. However, the more elements, the more difficult is is to work in the free range are.

Other housing systems, like tents or mobile housing, are not much used. These options have the special issue of how to provide them with feed, water and electric and how to remove manure and eggs. They are therefore only a reasonable option when flock size is not too large.