The question is… Can you have chickens running lose in your garden/yard?
These are the assumptions.
- You are not Amish.
- You do not enjoy walking in chicken poop.
- You do enjoy your landscaping and other flowers.
I think it first has to be said that I love birds. I love watching them, feeding them, finding nests, watching my kids find eggs, it’s all very fun for me. I can spend a good portion of my day watching all the birds that come and visit my yard as well as my chickens. Don’t tell the farmer this is what I do with my time. He already suspects as much.
Chickens love being out in fresh grass picking at bugs, picking at the compost, and digging in your soil. They would much rather do this than be in a chicken coop. The problem is they don’t really stay out of your flowers, they poop wherever they want, and they need protection. I have my laying hens in a good size chicken coop and they have a pasture to run in. I don’t let these birds out in my yard/garden. I have a few bantam chickens that I do let run in my yard and garden. They are about half the size of a regular chicken and now I only have 3 of them. I lost a few over the winter. They have their own little chicken house. During the day, I let them run and at night they return to their house. Then, me or the kids will run out and lock them up.
The key to having chickens in your yard is having a few and having small birds that will not do much damage. Small birds also don’t have large droppings which is very important to me. The dog doesn’t even use the yard as a toilet he has a designated spot in the field. When it is time to get my veggie garden in, I will keep the chickens in a separate area of the yard. When the veggies are grown, the little chickens are allowed in the garden because they really won’t do much damage and they will get those tomato worms (the huge green ones). Sometimes, I will have to pick the worm off and throw it where the chickens are. Man, do they love that!
During the winter months the little chickens pose a problem because of their size and probably color the laying hens don’t really accept them back into general population so I will keep them separated for the winter. It’s not as convenient, but they will stay in their little house.
Chickens are one of those pets that you really have to enjoy to keep them. There is a certain amount of management that goes along with having chickens. If you enjoy it as I do, go for it. If you don’t think you will love it find someone who has chickens and buy eggs from them.
The Farm Wife