A smelly subject

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by fernfam, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. fernfam

    fernfam Hatching

    Jan 3, 2008
    I am looking to start raising laying hens for our family. I have a choice to make. Free range or life in a coop. I know that the hens need a place to sleep and lay eggs. But should the space they roam be our normal-sized backyard or in a confined space?

    Also, if they roam does a backyard full of droppings good for anyone? Please let me know. Thanks.
  2. herechickchick

    herechickchick Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    I free range and I love it. I live in the city so my backyard is not huge. I have about 30 girls and 2 banty roos and now that most are full grown the poop is out of control so I am going to cut my flock in half and it should be fine. I also have 5 dogs and I scoop their poop every morning and as I am doing so I get the chickens poop as well. So it is not bad if you keep up on it. I was just shocked at how much they poop, but I have to keep telling myself "you have 32 chickens you nut job! What did you expect!" Even though there is a lot of poop (at my house) I still recommend Free Range!
  3. AhBee01

    AhBee01 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    yo. ohio
    Really the choice is yours!
    Most people have a coop and a run. The coop housing the nest boxes and most likely locked at night to protect the birds. The run is an area that is fenced in and alot of people put some kind of cover on it like poultry netting to keep out predators. Our birds are run free right now, but will have a run in the spring. I will let them roam my side yard as long as I'm home, but if I won't be home they will stay in the run. We have our back yard fenced off from our animals so my little guy doen't have to play where chicken poop is! Although if you asked him he would rather be with the chickens!!! We also go camping so if we will be gone our run will be covered with hardware cloth and some kind of roofing to provide shade, we haven't decided that part yet. This way the birds will be able to go in and out of the coop, but we won't have to come home at night to lock them up. This gives us a day or two away without having to worry about them, but we always have my Mom come and check them anyways, cuz I worry no matter what!
    Look at the coop designs section there are pics to get some great ideas! If you only have a few chickens you don't need a huge coop and run!
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I have 8 hens in a 20x80 fenced off area and the poop is not too bad out of control.

    If I let them have the run of my whole yard (over 1/2 acre in the immediate fenced in back yard) then I don't think poo would be an issue at all, frankly.
  5. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I have four and chicks hatching now. I'm on a smallish suburban lot. I have a small coop, a large run and a big back yard. My girls think the run is chicken jail because they usually free range in the yard. My only poo issue is the patio, which we "scoop" close to daily in the summer. A slightly more annoying issue for me is having to rake mulch back to where I want, not to to where the chickens move it. But I think free ranging is personal choice, any decent sized run is more outdoor space than the average American chicken gets. Confined birds will keep your yard neater.
  6. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    I have a coop and fenced run, I spread the run with sand and it's so easy to just rake and spread DE to keep it fresh, the chickens get to free range in the yard a few hours a week and it helps fertilize the yard. I clean the coop once a week and put the droppings in the garden area for compost. It hasn't been a problem one little bit, just don't over do it and get too many chickens for the space you have.
  7. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    I free range mine, 33 + 6 guineas, and the only time you really notice it is if they decide to DECORATE the sidewalk or the porch if someone leaves the baby gate down. (yes I have a baby gate to keep the chickens off the porch)
  8. Pinenot

    Pinenot Songster

    Sep 11, 2007
    I do both! My free range area is a 40x40 fenced in area. I do take a doggie scooper and clean the area often. I then put it in my garden and I do very good every year in the garden thanks to my chickens and goats [​IMG] I also have some caged that I am showing. You always take a risk with hawks and such free ranging, but that is what I always wanted was roaming chickens in my yard.
  9. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    My girls do both. They have a coop and run which is where they are when we're not at home. Otherwise, they free range in our small backyard.

    The amount of poop is directly proportional to the number of chickens. [​IMG] And poop they will. However, with my 3 girls, poop cleanup takes less than 5 minutes a day. The coop is scooped every morning. The run is scooped every night. And, the patio is washed off every night after a free ranging day.

    The upside to all this poop is that the back lawn looks great!
  10. GloriaH

    GloriaH Songster

    Mar 18, 2007
    Watertown, Tennessee
    I keep mine in the coop all day and then about an hour before the sun goes down I let them out. They put themselves back in for the night and I just close the door.

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