Australians call chickens “chooks”. :) I’ve tried letting my chickens range in the garden, but I’ve found, like The Witch’s Kitchen blogger has, that they are too destructive. I haven’t had chickens for a couple of years now, but would love to try the method she describes:
they have a moveable roost, and a water bucket and laying box, and an old kids “shell” pool propped up to provide bit of shelter from heavy rain, and I have a fresh new chook run, complete with a few weeks supply of greens, every month. I throw the chooks the weeds, household scraps, azolla, grass clippings, and any other organic matter I can get my hands on, along with a few bags of horse or cow manure which they scratch through looking for insects and in the process mix nicely with all the other organic matter.