post #11 of 11
I started raising chickens about 18 months ago, as a backyard flock, and mainly as pets. I only have 4 and they get the entire backyard. I have fallen head over heals in love with them and they bring me so much joy, so I let them get away with anything. That said... Knowing what I know now, I would have waited until we had a house with some acreage. They poop a lot and the pool deck must be cleaned every day. They've eaten all my strawberries and flowers. They've dug giant holes around bushes and trees which exposes the roots and kills the plants. They've scratched every bit of bark down the hillside, plus several inches of dirt, so everything is constantly falling down into the grass. In less than 2 years, they've completely destroyed a large portion of the yard. I still love them more than ever, but these things must be considered. I tried to keep them in a large outdoor run that's adjacent to the coop, but I found that it bothered me to keep them penned up like that. Especially in the hot summer months. They need to be able to get to shaded areas, under trees and bushes where they can dig a hole to cool down and take regular dust baths. It also helps that their poops are scattered throughout the yard because I can just go pick them up with a dustpan every day, and spray the ones in the grass so it just disintegrates into the lawn and fertilizes it. I will say that we have the lushest, greenest grass in the neighborhood. I did a lot of research before I bought my chicks, but most of the learning comes from actually raising them. It is a lot of work and worry sometimes, but it does get better. I don't work so I have time to tend to them regularly, but if you don't, plan on feeling a bit of stress during hot summer months and cold winter months. If your birds are as sweet as mine, you will fall in love with them and think about them very often. I guess I would say that it almost becomes an obsession. They'd do fine without so much attention but I enjoy spending time with them and making their lives as enjoyable and rewarding as possible...for all those poor chickens that live such short and miserable lives. I highly recommend a backyard flock. Just be prepared to learn a lot, to get unexpected surprises, and enjoy the process in its entirety. It is worth it!! 😃