Chickens and neighbors question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gottsegnet, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2009
    We are getting ready to move to the country on five acres. (Yippee!!!) That means more chickens!

    Anyway, we are surrounded by cornfields on three sides and a cow pasture on the other. We're planning on letting the chickens run a bit, but I don't want them damaging the neighbor's corn. I'm assuming we'll need to keep them penned in the spring until the corn is in? How high would you think the corn will need to be before they'll leave it alone and their scratching won't damage it?
  2. Barry

    Barry Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would wait until the corn was at least 1 foot high. but you had better check with the neighbor first. You have to work with him and find out if he uses herbicide to control weeds or if he cultivates.
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    My first gut response was knee high. That's usually in early July, (the old farmer wisdom says corn should be knee high by the forth of july, that's a goal/hope, not gospel.) It was just my first gut reaction, I'd say see how they act, they may not be too interested in whatever is there once the crop is big enough that they don't care about it... Most farmers wouldn't be too worried about the outer edges of the field so talk to your neighbor. If he knows you have chickens and that you are trying to be considerate, all may be well. Also, wait to to see what he plants next spring, could be something different! So much about chickens differs from flock to flock, they may be totally unconcerned about whatever is over there. Does your yard have any fencing? Welded wire fencing isn't horribly expensive, $100 or less for 100 feet I think, plus the cost of posts, it may be enough to discourage them from wanting to get over there.
  4. Luvin Life

    Luvin Life Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    Brownsburg, Indiana
    That's a great question. [​IMG] IMO I would say it depends on the chickens, they tend to have a mind of thier own. Some may not bother it at all, where as others will scratch the whole darn thing as much as they can. I would say trial and error. Maybe someone else will have another suggestion, good luck. Let us know how and what you do. [​IMG]
  5. aimeeinwv

    aimeeinwv Chillin' With My Peeps

    Another thing you have to remember: chicken waste is high in Nitrogen, which is great ~ but not in a growing garden -it's way too strong. Fresh manure is perfect however for a dormant garden up to 3 months before planting in corn. I would maybe just be a little careful.

    If the corn is for human consumption you run the risk of e coli. 20% of chickens tested will usually yeild some e coli. A little higher in commercial operations. The corn has a possiblility of absorbing e coli from the ground. Not that your chickens are dirty - I'm sure they are very very healthy. However, you always run that risk. The e coli outbreak that happened in salad mixes last year was caused by water run off from an adjoining pasture. Not that I know everything.. just a little something that I was taught in master gardening classes and college.

    It's never good to allow them to forrage in a growing garden, including corn. (IF it's human consumption) Right after harvest is the best time for them to get into corn. They will love it! Shredding it to peices. It's fun!

    On the other hand, if it's feed corn - they should be just fine. My girls had the best time in the feed corn and the garden this year after we cut it down - shredding it to mulch. We had nothing left but stalks. It was great!!!

    Congrats on the move!! We were so happy to finally move and have a little more land too. It's thrilling!!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  6. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2009
    Right now, the adjoining property is something like 80 acres of field corn. We're hoping to eventually have ours fenced, but for the moment, they'll have a yard and I'm hoping to let them run about a bit when we're home to help control the insects on our property and pasture. I just know that if they're out, it will be nearly impossible to keep them on our land all the time. Maybe they'll prefer the cattle, anyway?

    Thank you for your thoughts! This spring, we'll only have four so I doubt they'd do any noticeable damage anyway. They don't even do any noticeable damage to my garden when they're out, except kicking out all the mulch in their endless quest for crickets! We're adding on 8-12 layers, however, and they'll be ready for their first outings probably about July.

    Trying to figure out what to expect as we add them on. Planning on a few other things, too, but the chickens are the only ones we're planning on allowing some time free ranging.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  7. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    I am on three acres with the henhouse close to the back of the lot and the house. We freerange when we are home.... and since DH retired that is almost every day.
    I read somewhere that chickens generally stay within 200 feet of their coop. Our generally use the acre around the house. I find where they roam depends more on the cover available. They LOVE the evergreens and are really digging out underneath them. Those trees give them plenty of shelter from any overhead menaces. They visit the garden ( 300 ft away) occasionally but they haven't been severe with their damage. The flower beds around the house however.... ouch!
    I would not worry about the cornfields until the situation arises. Are there bushes and trees for cover? That is where they will spend much of their time.
  8. txredneckmedic

    txredneckmedic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Id bribe the farmer with some fresh eggs if it becomes a problem hehe
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Four hens couldn't hurt an 80 acre field of corn if they spent every day all day out there. The corn CAN hide predators though, keep an eye on them! They'll probably be much more interested in your yard and the goodies they can find there so I wouldn't worry at all. Do talk to the farmer, let him know you'll watch them but really, if he's worried, I'd be shocked.

    Most farmers are pretty considerate if their fields are close to someone's yard when it comes to insecticide and herbicide, but I would ask him to give you a heads up if/when he's planning on spraying anything. I grew up next to corn fields, and in a day and age when people probably weren't nearly as careful as they should have been, doesn't mean I'd recommend ignoring precautions now though. To be fair, if he's spraying the fields himself, he's probably pretty careful for his own sake too.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  10. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Corn generally has very shallow roots and scratching chickens could kill some plants. That concern, combined with the risks of predators, herbicides and pesticides would make me very leery of letting them free range in somone else's corn field.

    Good fences make good neighbors! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by