I’m interested in any experiences that people have had keeping chickens without a coop. There are a number of farms and smallholdings locally here in Catalonia, Spain that have been keeping chickens for generations without purpose built coops. 4 kilometres down the mountain where i live there are 9 chickens who roost up a tree at night. Across the valley there are a number of farms where the chickens roost in open barns, up trees, and in spare rooms in the house. I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who have mixed breeds living in such conditions I realise that many people will consider keeping chickens in this manner irresponsible but chickens are kept in similar conditions all over the world and have been for generations. The chicken lays all those eggs because in ‘natural’ conditions few chicks survive. I also realise that many breeds now can’t get up a tree because of human interference by target breeding for particular characteristics; heavy meat breeds and some dual purpose breeds for examples. I’m using a multiple coop system at the moment; a coop per tribe, but the chickens don’t always come home and the Bantams in particular go up the trees every night. This isn’t a problem, they come down when I call them (mostly) and go into their coop but it does demonstrate that the Bantams and the cross breeds still have the instinct to sleep in the trees. It seems to me that a lot of ‘old knowledge’ based on generations of experience and observation has been forgotten as the chicken became product and egg and meat production became more important than the long term welfare of the chicken. There are a few pieces of old knowledge that I have picked up as I gathered information for my book that reading some of the problems on this forum might be worth bearing in mind. 1) Don’t mix breeds 2) One cock for every 3 to 5 hens 3) Provide lots of cover, bushes, trees, plants even man made shelters 4) Chickens fight but fights in the family or tribe tend not to be serious while fights between cocks and hens from other tribes often are.