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Questions about giving chickens the run of your backyard

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SusanD, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is a followup to my chickens in the backyard post. Our chickens had such a good time yesterday, that my Dad let them out again yesterday and today. I'm happy, because it provides more enrichment for them that I can provide in their run.

    I did have some questions about chicken proofing our backyard though. One is that they were digging up the moss (which is so tough, that I can't imagine it going down). Is that a potential crop hazard, or can I trust them to leave it alone? Also, my Dad did say that we have a plant that is on the poisonous to chickens list, but that he thought it was well hidden in the back where they wound find it. What would be a good way (may some wire around it) to keep them from getting to the plant in question?

    Also, they did get caught in a downpour and got pretty wet. Will they learn to go back to their run for shelter, or would it be a good idea to put a shelter of some kine up until our rainy season ends?
     
  2. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens always pretty much stayed away from plants that they shouldn't eat. Generally, poisonous plants taste nasty so a small nibble is enough to tell them that they don't want to eat it but not enough to die from it. As for the moss, if the yard is a decent size, I wouldn't really worry about it. Finally as to the rain, I have had chickens that LOVED the rain. So long as they aren't ill (which you'd likely have them in isolation anyway) then there is no reason to not allow them out just because it is raining. You could put out some bushes and such that would offer some cover to give them a place out of the heaviest part of the rain. Of course the cover in the form of bushes or other forms is a good idea anyway so that they can avoid hawks and other predators.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    They may or may not find and eat the poisonous plant....
    ....one way to be sure would be to fence around it so they can't get at it.
     
  4. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. The plant in question is bleeding heart if that helps. I would be curious to know if this is one that chickens normally avoid? Or if it is one that they can/will eat to where it's toxic? If so, I will have my Dad either cut the plant down or put a fencing around it.
     
  5. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    It may be better to get rid of the plant for your own peace of mind.

    CT
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Bleeding heart is a very cool plant.
    I'd fence it.
     
  7. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    I will check into fencing it. I just noticed that the red maple tree (we have one in our backyard) is also on the no list. Does anyone have any experience with chickens and maple leaves? I don't want to try and coax my parents into getting rid of the tree if it doesn't have to go, but don't want the chickens getting sick from it either.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    What is this 'list'...can you link it?
    Any specifics on what parts and how red maple is toxic to chickens?
    You need to look closely at possibilities and probabilities before even contemplating cutting down a beautiful tree because some list said it would kill chickens.
     
  9. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's the one

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/627282/comprehensive-list-of-poisonous-plants-and-trees

    What I'm not sure is how many of these plants can coexist in the same space with chickens without causing problems. Aart, no I don't want to cut down the tree. It's beautiful, and I think may parents may have paid good money for it when they had our lawn landscaped. I would start with keeping the chickens away from it during the leaf season or trimming the lower branches. I will research the plants in question.
     

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