Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind having the chickens at all. I love the eggs they provide, love watching them pecking around the yard, love that the kids get to source food from the backyard. Love.
What you can’t see is about 6′ of patio covered with mulch. Which we sweep EVERY WEEKEND because the chickens love to kick it out of the plant beds.
There’s a sidewalk under there somewhere, but we only see it for about a day, after we sweep the mulch back into the plant beds. EVERY WEEKEND.
This is our back patio. It used to be surrounded by some nice plants, mulch and bricks, with a little white rock walkway into the yard. Until we got chickens. Now, it looks like this. Then we clean it up, and it looks like this 24 hours later.
They’ve also completely dug up the kids’ playground area, which used to be mulched. It’s now a hilly, muddy mess.
And of course, they do the same in the yard.
Once they’ve kicked the mulch out of the way, they dig up the dirt around all of our plants, exposing the roots.
I don’t know what to do. I am not anal about having a perfect yard, but this is ridiculous. My husband made a “fence” to keep them on the side of the house near their coop (but still allow them some roaming freedom), but they can fly right over it (because they’re birds, with wings).
We like to let them out to graze too, because it’s good for chickens. For their diet, their stress, everything. It helps keep them occupied so they don’t peck each other to death – but they’re still beating up on the smaller birds.
Not the bloody, red flesh near her tail. That’s where the other birds peck the shit out of her. Which is apparently quite normal, but disturbing nonetheless.
So, if you think you want chickens, the truth is this: they’re quite easy to care for. They require feed and water, and a little love now and then. They’re affordable. But they will ruin your yard if they’re not fully enclosed – and keeping them enclosed will make them crazy pecking beasts. So you decide: your chickens or your yard. You can’t have both.