So it has now been a year since we began the great eggsperiment and I pause to share my insights with anyone who cares to listen. We had chickens growing up, but we also had more land and they had their designated space far from the house. I consider this completely different. We have been letting our four backyard chickens free range dusk to dawn in our small-medium size back yard. I'll start with the biggest problems we've experienced: 1. Chickens are NOISY! The egg songs make me cringe wondering what the neighbors think but it's nothing compared to how much noise they make when they want out of the coop/run in the morning and we want to sleep in (as did the neighbors I imagine). Blacking out the coop worked for a while, but they got more persistent as time went by. Next coop is going to have an automatic door. Only is a problem in the summer. 2. Chickens poop on EVERYTHING! My kids are sick of having the weekly job to pick it all up. We finally concluded that they're going to have to be banished to their own corner of the yard. It is too nasty to let the kids play back there. 3. If you don't clip their wings they'll eventually roam into the neighbor's yard in spite of the six foot fence. After clipping they can't get over four feet. 4. Coops are disgusting. My next coop will have a wire bottom with big enough holes to let the poop fall through so I can just let it compost below the coop. Since I live in a moderate (albeit wet) climate, they don't need a coop to be in other than to sleep, so this coop is only going to be for sleeping- nothing else. My goal is to have my only maintenance be collecting eggs, filling the feeding every couple of weeks and the waterer every month or so. 5. They destroy everything we try to grow. They completely destroyed the strawberry patch, eat all of the blueberries before they're ripe, rip the branches off the raspberries to get to the berries etc. etc. They dig up grass, make potholes in the yard, etc. OK that was kind of negative but I think with the auto door, fencing them into their own area and clipping their wings it solves most of those problems. Oh yeah, and a new coop, even though the old coop is pretty cool. Now to the positive: 1. The eggs are amazing! 2. Kids get to learn about chickens and responsibility 3. They eat SLUGS! and bugs. 4. I haven't had to mow the lawn as much. 5. They are relatively low maintenance compared to other pets that don't lay eggs. 6. Poop is good fertilizer- although I still can't get anything to grow. 7. Did I mention the eggs are great? I'll post some pictures later of what our yard looks like after a year of chickenzilla.