I know this may bug you- but I'm bummed my chickens are destroying our yard. We have a nice coop for them with plenty of room, but I like to let them out in the afternoon to "free range". We have a fairly manicured yard with an island of grass surrounded by plants and the chickens are trampling the flowers and bushes and scratching all the ground cover and mulch into the grass and in general making a huge mess- not to mention the poop! Poop everywhere! We have a fairly small yard, only 3 chickens- and 2 young children.
So, I'm grump some- my biggest problem is the chickens rush the door of the coop when I open it to change water, collect eggs, etc. So It's nearly impossible to NOT let them out if I go in there. I also feel guilty if I keep them pinned up all day. Hmmm... I'm hoping someone has some words of encouragement that will help me feel good about getting these chickens in the first place. We've had them about 7 months, but I only recently started to let them out often enough for them to do real damage.
What do you think?
Have you considered building a fence around their henhouse, so that they can go outside to play but be confined to just one part of your yard?
This is what I have done, and it works splendidly. Of course, it took building a 5 foot tall fence and attaching another foot of chicken netting on top (sort of like a barbed wire top, but made with harmless metal chicken netting) to do it.
It wasn't all that expensive because I was able to get some "livestock fencing" wire from my brother, who lives in the country. He had some left over from when he built some fencing on his home.
Then I bought some metal T posts, pounded them into the ground, hooked the livestock fencing onto the T posts, and built my own gate out of 2 by 4's and livestock fencing. I use a simple 79 cent hook and eye to fasten the gate.
The livestock fencing was alot cheaper than typical city type fencing, but it had holes in it large enough for smaller birds to get through. So I took wire ties and attached metal chicken netting that I bought at Tractor Supply for a very low cost. The livestock wire and metal posts prove to be excellent though inexpensive fencing, while the cheap metal chicken netting tied to that fence supplements it -- and keeps the smaller hens from climbing through.
After doing this, I am able to let my chickens out in to their own fenced in yard, and they leave the rest of my suburban yard and organic vegetable garden alone.