Chickens Destroying my yard.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bendystar, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. furry

    furry Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    25
    Jul 12, 2010
    Lisle, Illinois
    I was also surprised how destructive a few chickens can be to the landscaping. I've got 4 SLW's, they were penned in an area 4' by 12', and allowed to free range in the 80' by 90' back yard. I'd usually let them out for a few hours every day. They traumatized some of my perennials and damaged some of the ground covers that had shallower roots. I moved the pen around, and they did kill a lot of the grass where they were penned. I really liked having them around, though - they would follow me around when I was gardening. I had a 2 foot fence around the vegetable garden, and that was enough to keep them out of it. I think I may make a permanent pen for them this year, and "enhance" it with a dust bathing area and multiple roosting areas. I can't imagine not letting them out, though. They have such a good time scratching around under the bushes, catching bugs, etc.
     
  2. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

    360
    5
    111
    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    I have about a 1/3 acre area for my girls to free range, but that includes my decorative flower bed terraces. I'm going to fence those off this spring or I'll never have anything growing there this year! Between digging up annuals and perennials and taking dust baths, my terraces were a mess come Fall. They ate everything except the daylilies, hydrangeas and climbing roses.
    I used 2' green wire rabbit fencing around the rest of the yard and it worked very well with a few caveats. If there was anything close to the fencing that they could stand on and get it into their heads that they could jump over the fence, they would. Like a tree branch, a stump, or a pile of logs on the other side of the fence. Any gaps they'd find and squeeze through. Any fencing top rail is a potential perch, so if the fence looks wobbly they won't attempt to fly onto it.
    I also have a 5' fencing around my vegetable garden.
     
  3. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    101
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    When constructing new runs, it may be helpful to think about making 2 medium-sized runs. I have this and 2 pop doors on my main home coop (I have 17 different flocks between my house and the farm). I keep one pop door closed while I let birdseed and clover and grass grow in that pen, and then after a bit, I switch them out to let them decimate the one with greens.

    Wheat grass grows in 4-5 days, so that's a big favorite.
     
  4. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,533
    19
    181
    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Have you enjoyed The Adventures of Barbara yet? https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=253158&p=1
    I
    don't know if that's the right way to post it, but Barbara Barred Rock's perspective on landscaping is a hoot!

    I remember when my children were little, even scooping the litterbox of one cat felt like a lot. With little children, there was no such thing as un-interrupted ANYTHING, like scooping a poop even. (Or using the toilet, or cooking noodles, or sleeping...)

    Now that our kids are all in school all day, I really enjoy my time outside with these chickens. Their soft chatter soothes me. I bought a doggy poop scooper and I actually enjoy my time ALONE, gathering bits of garden and chicken poops for my (fantastic) compost heap. And, since its chicken poop I'm scooping, nobody wants to be around. "Well, I'll be out scooping poop off the driveway, then..." and not one soul is to be found, I'm guaranteed alone time. I also work 12-15hour shifts as an RN, its very over-the-top-intensive-connecting-on-very-personal-space. So, my alone hour or two when I'm home, while the kids are all in school, with just the chickens and some laundry to hang, are wonderful for me.

    Weird, too, but I'm kind of "into" soaps. I love to scrub things down. If I didn't have chickens "painting" my front porch after a dirtybath with their muddy feet, I'd look foolish soaping up and rinsing off the white picket fenceposts and railings. But they give me a valid excuse. I have all scents of Mrs. Meyers, Dr. Bronners, some homemade ones from artisans at the farmers' market......

    "Scooping Poop is Thera-pootic" was a sign I saw here on BYC a while back.
     
  5. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,533
    19
    181
    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    6chickens in St. Charles :

    Have you enjoyed The Adventures of Barbara yet? https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=253158&p=1
    I
    don't know if that's the right way to post it, but Barbara Barred Rock's perspective on landscaping is a hoot!

    I remember when my children were little, even scooping the litterbox of one cat felt like a lot. With little children, there was no such thing as un-interrupted ANYTHING, like scooping a poop even. (Or using the toilet, or cooking noodles, or sleeping...)

    Now that our kids are all in school all day, I really enjoy my time outside with these chickens. Their soft chatter soothes me. I bought a doggy poop scooper and I actually enjoy my time ALONE, gathering bits of garden and chicken poops for my (fantastic) compost heap. And, since its chicken poop I'm scooping, nobody wants to be around. "Well, I'll be out scooping poop off the driveway, then..." and not one soul is to be found, I'm guaranteed alone time. I also work 12-15hour shifts as an RN, its very over-the-top-intensive-connecting-on-very-personal-space. So, my alone hour or two when I'm home, while the kids are all in school, with just the chickens and some laundry to hang, are wonderful for me.

    Weird, too, but I'm kind of "into" soaps. I love to scrub things down. If I didn't have chickens "painting" my front porch after a dirtybath with their muddy feet, I'd look foolish soaping up and rinsing off the white picket fenceposts and railings. But they give me a valid excuse. I have all scents of Mrs. Meyers, Dr. Bronners, some homemade ones from artisans at the farmers' market......

    "Scooping Poop is Thera-pootic" was a sign I saw here on BYC a while back.

    Oh but I forgot to add: there's no way I'd feel this way 6 years ago! With the little ones still home all day, taking them to/from activities, hosting playdates, etc. there's NO WAY I could've done chickens in my suburban yard! NO WAY! [​IMG] Its hilarious to even think about it. Unless I had a full time caregiver of my own..... like, a wife/mom/working nurse to take care of me, too... and all that chicken poop..... and the yard..... and the .....​
     
  6. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Quote:Said perfectly Carol! [​IMG]
     
  7. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    222
    0
    99
    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    To the OP, I'm in the same boat as you. I have a 1/2 acre lot and only 3 chickens, but they have been a menace to my beautifully landscaped yard. My back patio is constantly covered in chicken poo, and all the bark has been scratched out of my bark beds and into the lawn. Since they were only babies last summer, I haven't seen what kind of damage they can do to my flowers/veggie garden/etc. At 2 months old, they didn't seem to find any interest in my blueberries or raspberries last fall. I'm going to plant as usual this spring and just see what happens. If they eat all my veggie sprouts and I see them dust bathing where I just planted seeds, I guess I will have to resort to trying to fence them out. Won't be able to block off my strawberries/blueberries/raspberries though. I have to admit I"ll be really sad if they eat/destroy all the fruit and probably have to consider some kind of pen for them in the future.

    I still love my chickens though, and wouldn't trade them in for anything. It's going to be an interesting spring this year.
     
  8. noitulover

    noitulover Chillin' With My Peeps

    780
    2
    141
    Apr 23, 2009
    Central Virginia
    At the farm, our chickens have acres upon acres and pastures to free-range... What do they do? they stick to about 2 acres closest to the house...

    I think it is also a safety thing... They consider the coop safe and don't want to go "too far" away from it.

    It is all part of owning chickens! Flower beds WILL get torn up, unless fenced off!
     
  9. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

    567
    9
    133
    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    We have a little less than an acre here. We decided to give over the back yard to the girls(14 of them) and learn to live with that. I have started a "chicken garden" where I planted wheat last fall. I'll be planting other crops throughout the year as the seasons change(area is divided to protect emerging plants). That seems to have helped save the rest of the back yard. The biggest thing is to keep something growing that draws them to a few areas instead of ravaging the whole yard.

    Larry
     
  10. gardeningsis

    gardeningsis Out Of The Brooder

    57
    0
    29
    May 8, 2008
    Illinois
    [​IMG] I am a grandma and have had chickens most of my life. When my husband and I married 7 years ago I brought my hens with me. I let them free range every evening for a couple of hours. Since the "girls" have been here he cannot believe how the spider and tick population has dropped. In all of my plantings I leave about 2 foot between the perennials and the house footing. The girls get back there and do their thing with very little damage to the plants. I intentionally hoe up the ground under my rain barrel system and that is were they usually gravitate. However, on some of my larger perennials I have had to place a little wire fence to enclose the plant. The fence blends in once the plant has spread. And as far as pooping on the deck - well they get up on our deck and look in the door for us and then....everything goes south. But on a warm summer afternoon and I sit on the swing, they all come to lay in the grass near me. I close my eyes and their soft noises wash the 10 hour work day tension right out of me. Hooray, the seed catalogs are in the mail!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by