The truth about backyard chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lucy_R, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. Lucy_R

    Lucy_R New Egg

    Aug 6, 2010
    Ok, so first off, I'm totally new to this, so hello!
    I've been reading lots so far, and I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I have a question.
    I have recently been thinking about keeping some chickens in our yard. We are very into organic foods and lifestyle, and I love the idea of having our eggs come from a source which I know and control. We buy organic free-run eggs, but they are quite expensive and I think in the long run, we would save by having our own chickens. So I have been telling a few people my idea, and they all say that I am crazy. They say that chickens are filthy, poop all over themselves, ruin the yard, and stink horribly. Another popular opinion is that chicken feces are full of all kinds of diseases and it will be everywhere on the grass, and my kids will step in it when they play, etc. So, I basically am wondering if any of this is accurate? I can't imagine that all you lovely people would keep them if it were true!
  2. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    if your looking to go organic you should also consider the droppings as valuable fertilizer. You can keep them contained in a large run and coop and not have to worry about the droppings in your yard. Mine are only let out of their run a few hours a week and as for stepping in the droppings, Im sure I do it often. My mother used to collect eggs as a girl in her bare feet. There are many ways to control the droppings, I prefer deep litter method which is cleaned out a couple times a year, others prefer a droppings board cleaned often to keep it from accumulating under the roost. What ever you decide is up to you and how much "hands on" you would like to be.
  3. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2009
    First of all [​IMG]

    Hmmm, trying to sort out all the things people have told you. Yes, they can be stinky depending how you take care of your coop. Sort of dusty also. No, they don't poo all over themselves - if confined to tiny tiny cages, then yes. I don't know about diseases in the droppings. If you are sharing a backyard with kiddos, might be better to confine them with a run. And honestly, depending on your practices, the eggs might be the most expensive food item in your fridge. BUT, there are SO many pro's to having chickens. They are (most of them) sweet and inquisitive, silly, sometimes sneaky, and quite amusing. I just love chickens. I am one of those who thinks everyone ought to have a few of their own! The eggs are better for you, they also taste better. AND, there is nothing better than teaching your kiddos where food comes from and that an animal is life that deserves proper treatment!
    If you want chickens to save $$, then forget it. But if you want good food, good entertainment, a loyal friend (as long as you have treats!), and dedication to care for an animal - then GO FOR IT!
  4. buckabucka

    buckabucka Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    Chickens are so much fun to raise! I am new at this, so we haven't even seen an egg yet.
    Maybe I am wrong, but I do not believe you will save any money growing your own eggs. We have spent a lot, - coop and run construction, chick order, feed, feeders and waterers etc.

    If you are just looking to "have your eggs come from a source which you know you can control", and would like an adventure with some very entertaining animals, then you should go for it. But I wouldn't do it just to save money on eggs.

    Just my opinion.

  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Hope that helps settle some concerns.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  6. ray2310

    ray2310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2009
    Smithfield, PA

    I know I will never save enough money on eggs to pay for everything that went into our coop ect even if I live to be 100. However I would do it all again. Yes chickens will destroy your yard and flowers if allowed. They do poop all over the place if allowed.

    We get so much enjoyment out of ours that we don't mind these things. I can't imagine not ever having them now.
  7. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central, N.C.
    First of all...[​IMG]

    I have all ideas that the people that you've been getting opinions from have never had chickens. They are just passing on misinformation from others. If the truth was known they've probably never seen a real chicken, seriously.

    Properly cared for, they and their coops/runs will smell like chickens if anything and not like poop. Sure you may get an occasional undesired odor after a heavy rainfall but there are many ways to immediately remedy the problem. I have 50 in 2 coops/runs and after 3" of rain in the past 2 days I don't smell anything when I go into the area where they are. You just have to learn what works best for your particular situation. If you free range...sure, you may step in something every now and then. I see it no different that having an outdoor dog/cat. In fact I would rather step in chicken poop than dog/cat poop any day.

    This being said, you cant just throw them in a coop/run with feed and water and just go about collecting eggs everyday. They do require clean/safe housing which you will be responsible for dealing with. Once you get into a routine of caring for them, it's quite easy. The more chickens you have though, the more work for you.

    There are many fine folks here at BYC more than willing to help anyone with the information that they may need in housing, feeding, caring for their flock.

    Good luck with your endeavor into chicken husbandry!
  8. HiDesertChickens

    HiDesertChickens New Egg

    Aug 1, 2010
    Hi. I have lived in the High Desert of CA for 21 years. I have kept chickens off and on for most of that time. My children loved having the chickens when they were young as did the children I had in my licensed family day care. Now my grandchildren are reaping the benefits of having chickens. Yes, chickens poop a lot but not on themselves. I rake up the droppings and put then into my composter. I use shredded newspaper for their nesting boxes and that goes into the composter as well. As far as stepping in poop goes, well, that happens. We have learned to wipe our feet off on the grass before coming into the house.

    Chickens will eat just about anything. Think about when you make a salad. All the lettuce and other parts of the salad you throw out such as tomato butts and stems are happily gobbled up by chickens. My chickens think cantaloupe seeds are a special treat! When I clean strawberries I give them the tops. My chickens will eat leftovers and they pick clean corn cobs. I think I get better quality eggs this way, giving them a lot of fruits and veggies in addition to their daily feed. I once bought eggs from a neighbor who did not feed his hens a variety of foods and they tasted like dirt. YUCK!

    My oldest grandchild is Evan. He is 7 years old and he loves the chickens. He helps me give them water and feed then and he goes out to look for eggs about 5 times an hour. Two weeks ago I found him on his own, filling the waterers without being asked or nagged. He got a few bucks from Grandma for being such a great help.

    Chickens will ruin your yard but you can make a large coop for them with plenty of room to roam. It's not quite the same as free range chickens but it is cage-free.

    Have fun with your chickens!
  9. NC29mom

    NC29mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Scotland Neck, NC

    I promise, you won't regret it! They are the best ever!!!!! We had a stray rooster come into our yard and my hubby started to feed him. Well, he came to me after a few months and said he wanted to build a coop and get some hens. I told him, "NO WAY I'm having nasty, loud, dirty chickens in MY YARD!!!" Well, my 9 yr old daughter just fell in love with his idea, so I was outnumbered. I'm so glad now. I wouldn't have it any other way. Funny thing, I am the one who spends the MOST time with our chickens. I am the one who cleans the coops, fills the water and feed buckets every day. And, I am the one who just got 33 chicks in the mail from Cackle Hatchery. I have decided I would like to show Golden Laced Sebrights. So, it worked out in the end.

    Maybe a better question would be what KIND of chickens are you considering??? Some are better with kids, lay more eggs, more friendly, like to go broody often, etc. And, will you have a rooster? I just love OURS. Don't let others talk you out of a rooster. The rooster will take care of your hens, protect them, love them, they are wonderful.

    oh, and about the poop, you will fall in such love with your birds, you WON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT THE POOP. I sure don't. I tell my friends & family, "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO STEP IN CHICKEN POOP, DON'T COME IN MY YARD". Sorry, but it's MY YARD and I love my chickens. Now, that's not to say there's poop EVERYWHERE. They usually stay in one area. I just wanna keep people informed so there are no surprises.

    Keep us up to date on you decision!
  10. 4luvofchickens

    4luvofchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    Northern NY
    I got my 2 pullets about 2 months ago. I almost didn't get them because some guy told my hubby that they stink horribly. DH tried to get me to change my mind, I told him we would see for ourselves when my pullets came. It was the best decision ever. I can't say enough about how fun chickens are. Sure we step in poop sometimes, it comes with the territory. Now my hubby loves the pullets as much as I do, and is glad we didn't listen to someone else.

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