"concerned" neighbors


Jul 26, 2016
I have a question about our neighbors. We live "in the country", a bit under an acre of land, bordering to woods, neighbors on both side. This is our second year with chickens. We have 6 ladies who have a fenced in run with a coop but are also free range for part of the day. before we got them we had talked to both neighbor about the free ranging part because that would mean they would come into their yards most likely and they were okay with it, even liked knowing bugs will get eaten. The ladies have stayed pretty close though and even though they wander occasionally they don't go over a lot. Just today though our one neighbor (and we have had other issues with them) came and asked if he can shoot the chickens with a bb gun to keep them off his patio where they've been pooping! We suggested to use a spray bottle or hose and he said he doesn't have the time to sit around with a spray bottle to wait for the chickens (but apparently he has time to sit around with a bb gun?). We have been using water to keep them off of our porch and they have actually learned quite well. The occasional poop we let dry and sweep off or wash it off, just like we do with regular bird poop of the wild birds (which they have in their yard, too, by the way). He said he doesn't have time for that and we get eggs out of it at least (which we have offered them eggs numerous time but they declined due to getting them from other friends). So, after a year of the chickens being fine with occasionally going onto their patio and their yard it is now a problem. For now we will leave the chickens in their run I guess or only out when we can supervise and we will see what else we can do because we do love to have them free range. Any other suggestions of how to "train" them to stay in our yard (other than a fence which would cost us way too much) or keeping them confined?

I think it is only common courtesy to keep your chickens (or any of your animals) in your yard. It's good to know that the neighbors don't mind them coming in their yard, but I can see where this neighbor is coming from not wanting to deal with the poop on his patio. It really doesn't make sense that he apparently has time to sit with a BB gun and not use a hose or spray bottle or something else. However, I'm glad he asked before he did it. Too many stories of angry neighbors calling city authorities or killing birds. I would keep them locked up for about a week and try it again. Maybe let them out on "supervised" free range in the evenings and herd them back to your yard if you see them go over to another. Throwing some scratch or treats down close to their coop may help too. Ours went over to our neighbor's often, and after a couple of weeks of herding them back and giving them treats, they pretty much stay clear of the neighbor's. They may very well go back in the future though.

Like I said, I can see where the neighbor is coming from. It's really the same issue as letting a dog run loose everywhere, which is begging for trouble IMO. On the bright side, he sounds like he's not an irate and difficult person to work with. Just pay attention to where your birds are at to avoid major problems.
No...not on the side of the "complaints". When they moved in a couple of years ago my husband and the neighbor ripped out a very old, ugly chain link fence that has been there for ages from previous neighbors but was bent and rusted and had all kinds of overgrowth that harbored snakes and it was on their side of the property line. They wanted it gone and we did tell them we were planning to get chickens to free range and they were all for it because they just came from living on a farm and actually wanted chickens too. So, as of right now, nothing divides our yards.
Oh we totally understand where they are coming from. However, it was perfectly fine for a year and now it's a problem? I do think it goes right along with some other issue he has (mostly with my kids) and it's just going to be things he finds right now. For right now the chickens are in their run until we figure something else out. I like the treat idea and the three we hand raised WILL come when called so I may try that.
Oh we totally understand where they are coming from. However, it was perfectly fine for a year and now it's a problem? I do think it goes right along with some other issue he has (mostly with my kids) and it's just going to be things he finds right now. For right now the chickens are in their run until we figure something else out. I like the treat idea and the three we hand raised WILL come when called so I may try that.

I dont think you do totally get where he's coming from. You keep mentioning how he has been ok with it for a year and now he isnt. So what? He has a right to change his mind. Or maybe he has been going out of his way to put up with it because he is trying to be a good neighbor.
I think you should be greatful that you got the year you did instead oc being upset that he wont continue to put up with your chickens pooping on his patio.
I do see his point. I dont like my birds doing it i sure wouldnt be happy with someone elses doing it.
Dont know the issue with your kids but maybe that has something to do with it and maybe not. Maybe he figured that with the new issues that he has done enough to be a good neighbor and you all should be trying a little harder.
Not to be hard on you but think you should try to see the other side a little clearer. I get it with your fustration. I would hate to pen my chickens up too.
Playing devil's advocate here, it's possible that at first it really wasn't an issue with him - but after a year of it he's simply had enough. Happens to all of us....something that really hasn't been a problem before gets to be too much and we finally just don't want to deal with it anymore.

There's an old saying - "The only person who doesn't hear a barking dog at 2 am is the dog's owner." They are your chickens, you have a yard, and your chickens should be kept on your yard. Period. I feel the same way your neighbor does, but about cats. If I wanted a cat I'd get one. Instead folks think they are being "kind" to their kitties to let them roam freely. I have cat poop under my deck, in my vegetable garden, I hear them yowling all night long right under my window, and they've managed to find a way to get under my house,drop a couple of litters, and my bathroom (the room right above where they've taken up residence) smells like cat urine. I come home some nights and find them curled up in my patio chairs. In the case of the wandering cats, the only thing I can do is what I've done....call the city and have them trapped out. Like your neighbor, I have a life, and it doesn't involve sitting on my deck with a squirt gun or water hose waiting for them. It's very frustrating, whether it's chickens or cats. I can do one time with a BB gun what it takes day after day after day of ineffective squirting to try to accomplish. That way I only have to be out there with that BB gun once instead of constantly. Sounds harsh, but that's the way it is.

You can try all the training in the world, but they are still chickens. If they free range, they are going to wander. Unless you are sitting out there with them the entire time they are out of the run, catching them every time they move toward the boundary and bringing them back, you will not be able to stop them from encroaching onto your neighbor's property. What good does teaching them to come when you call them do if you are calling them from someplace they aren't wanted? It doesn't change the fact that they were there. Your only option is to confine them, whether to their run or to put up a fence. Yes, it's expensive to fence a long expanse of property. It's still the responsible thing to do to protect your chickens and to show your good faith.

I understand that it only takes a few minutes to clean chicken poop off the patio. It only takes a few minutes to clean cat poop out of my yard, too. But your neighbor shouldn't have to clean up his patio in order to use it. I shouldn't have to clean up cat poop either. If you own the chickens, you own the poop. It's that simple. I've never understood why, when people have neighbor issues over something like this, it's "the other guy" who should be the "good" neighbor and tolerate things.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, especially since you are new to BYC (and welcome, by the way!) but there is more to owning these amazing creatures than cute fluffy chicks, farm fresh eggs, and enjoying their antics. We owe it to them to keep them safe, we owe our neighbors respect for their property, and we owe it to future chicken owners to prevent more roadblocks to ownership because we can't see past our own coops and can't accept that others might not love our chickens as much as we do.

I wish you all the best of luck.
Thank you for welcoming me. I understand his side perfectly. I have been feeling slightly misunderstood by everyone responding to my question for advice. I did not need for everyone to tell me to understand his side which I do...I just needed advice on how to make it work other than a fence or having them just cooped up. It was just the back story to make it clear we were as neighbors in unisom ready for chickens and we were the ones who happen to get them and it was fine. I get that people get annoyed and fed up and so on and that was not my issue because then I unfortunately would have to get into more detail. I simply wanted some advice. We also have all kinds of things in our yards and porches, including deer, raccoons, opossums and, yes, a bear...and cats and who knows what else keeps creeping from the woods at times and we have made it work. I will certainly keep my ladies cooped up now to keep them from getting shot at. Thank again for welcoming me. And please, no more telling me to understand the neighbor. :) I do, I just needed practical advice.
Welcome to BYC! We had a similar issue not too long ago. DH picked up 150ft of 4' tall range fencing and some stakes and ran it along the property line as a temporary solution. The neighbor is content, we are content and the chickens are happy to be out and about. DH says it cost him roughly $70 for the materials.
Hi absolutely fence your chickens off in YOUR OWN YARD OR THIS man will end up hurting them!also you can clip ONE wing to keep them from flying over fences.my neighbor closest to my coop doesn't mind my chickens or even a rooster however if they left my yard and pooped on her patio DAILY im quite positive she would absolutely mind my chickens!! Forgive me please if i sound harsh, thats NOT my intent but we should be responsible chicken owners and set examples this very thing is why most cities ban having chickens. Be considerate and responsible and fence your chickens off to keep them in your yard and this will also keep them safe. I do hope this helps and hope you understand my point. Best wishes

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