This might be more of a philosophical question/discussion...but I do hope to get actual, practical suggestions and experiences. I was recently reading an article in a gardening magazine about backyard wildlife habitats. The author mentioned how excited they were to find owls on their property. Which of course made me think, "I bet you don't have chickens!" We are wildlife lovers (both my husband and I have graduate degrees in environmental science - me in social science and him in bioscience). I grew up in a family that loved to visit natural areas and wildlife refuges. I've always been excited about seeing wildlife of all kinds (at home or away), even when we had chickens (less so to see them eyeing my chickens ). Before we moved, our backyard was actually a wildlife habitat certified by the national wildlife federation. Habitat destruction and expanding human populations in many areas mean fewer places for native wildlife to live and eat, which is an issue that might be of concern to exactly the type of person who would be interested in producing their own food by having chickens. Of course, wildlife who are predators will decimate backyard flocks unless you keep them in Coop Knox. Wild birds which are non-predatory are potential disease carriers. BYCers are warned about the dangers of wildlife of all types. My question is, do we have to choose between having backyard chickens and enjoying the experience of watching wildlife in our own back yards? Philosophical comments? Practical experiences?