Tiny garden and neighbours living close; Should I keep chickens?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Halkatla, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Sorry if this isnt the right forum for this, Im not quite sure where it belongs!

    Anyway, as I said in my introduction thread, I'm moving into a house with a garden thats roughly 460 square feet (if the google convert calculator is correct :p its somewhere inbetween 40 and 50 square meters; tiny!). The closest neighbour is 3 feet away, but thats on the north side of my house, where theres no garden. On the south side, where my tiny garden patch is and where the chickens would live, the closest neighbour is somewhere between 20 and 30 feet away from my house. So there's not a whole lot of space, or privacy!

    At a Norwegian chicken forum I asked in they seemed to think this sort of situation is unsuitable and unrealistic in terms of chicken keeping, but after stumbling across several american books and blogs about "backyard" chickens living in much more urban areas than mine, I'm not sure I'm willing to accept the pessimists who say that chickens belong only in the countryside after all...?

    If I were to keep chickens here, they would need to be of a quiet breed, that didnt disturb the neighbours much. The chicken coop Id make would have to be of a type that can be moved/non permanent sort of structure, since I'll most likely be moving houses in a few years (and ofc Id like to bring the chickens with me) and Im only renting. I was thinking a chicken tractor might work, since Ill only be keeping a handfull of chickens (I was thinking 3 large ones, or maybe 4 or 5 bantams). Our winters here are not very harsh, theres rarely more than one feet of snow, if any at all, and the temperatures hardly ever go much below freezing anymore, so maybe a chicken tractor could work even in winter? I dont know.. I would like to give the chickens access to green forage every now and then by moving their coop/tractor to a new patch of grass, though with a garden this small they might ruin the lawn even when kept in a tractor?
    So many questions... [​IMG]

    What do you folks think? Would it be irresponsible of me to keep chickens in this sort of situation?
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    I think chickens can be a welcome addition to any neighborhood if they are cared for properly and their area is kept clean. However, in a small lot with neighbors close by I would avoid getting a rooster. I've raised dozens of large breeds over the past 50 years (some in small town lots), and I would suggest getting some of the calmer and more gentle breeds such as Australorps, Orpingtons, Brahmas, Cochins or Pekins (which come in both standard and bantam sizes), and Silkies (which are bantams). Of the standard breeds, Brahmas have been my very quietest. The Silkies are also very quiet (as chickens go). Whatever breed you decide to get, good luck with your flock.
  3. Thanks! And yeah I think keeping a rooster is out of the question :)

    Would bantams be more quiet than full sized ones?
    I was originally thinking full a sized orpington or two, a wyandotte and maybe a speckled sussex or austalorps. I figured full sized chickens would be less in danger of ending up as cat food (there are a few big semi stray cats in the neighbourhood). Ive also heard that full sized chickens are less likely to fly over fences? We have strict laws about fencing here, I think the maximum legal height of a fence is 120 cm (around 4 foot), so if theres a chicken that will stay within such a low fence, I'd be very interested in that ^^

    Ive also considered bantams, since my lawn is tiny and Id like to free range them a bit, or at least use a tractor or some portable run, to let them browse, and smaller birds do less damage on the garden.. or so I imagine.They also need a smaller coop ofc, which is a huge plus. The downside to bantams as I see it is that they are more fragile against cats, and that they supposedly are better flyers, which would mean I probably couldnt let them let them loose in my garden.
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Not necessarily. It depends on the breed of bantam. Also, bantams tend to have higher pitched voices which can actually carry further and be more annoying. The breeds that you mentioned that you were thinking about getting are all relatively quiet for chickens. Silkies would be quieter, but they are bantams, do not lay as well as those standard breeds, and have smaller eggs.
  5. Anna77093

    Anna77093 In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    My mother has a silkie that can not fly, maybe you could look in to that breed.
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    That is definitely one advantage of Silkies if you're keeping your birds in a pen or fence.
  7. charlindabob

    charlindabob Songster

    Jan 25, 2009
    central Florida
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    I understand your concern not to bother the neighbors with unwanted noise and are you looking for chickens for the eggs or for the meat? Chickens, especially around egg laying time can be very loud so be sure to find the most quiet of breeds. They can also fly, to an extent. In a small chicken tractor they will have the grass down to pure soil in no time at all. If you have only three or four hens, the smell shouldn't be much of a problem, but any more than that might. Also, if your yard isn't fenced, it could attract dogs or other unwanted critters.

    Not trying to talk you out of it, just want you to know what you are getting in to.
  8. Hi, thanks, and no worries, ofc one should consider these things before getting any pet/animal, so I really appreciate the feedback!

    My chickens will be pets, first and foremost, with egg making as their secondary job :) As much as Id like to keep chickens for meat, I think that will have to wait until I move somewhere more rural. Atm the goal is to be self sufficient with eggs (for me and my boyfriend, so we'd need about 3-4 eggs a day in total), and to have some nice friendly chickens skipping around in the garden

    As for fencing, my plan atm is to get some sort of porteable net fence, maybe one with electricity, so I can move their pen around the garden. That way I can keep the pen small enough to cover it with some kind of net too, to prevent bird predators (though Ive never seen any here) and to teach the chickens that they cant fly out. Im building them a safe run too though, ofc, which is where they will be whenever Im not around to keep an eye on them. The biggest threat to the chickens here I think are the semi wild housecats that I mentioned, and maybe the occasional off-leash dog.

    Any suggestions for a quiet breed? Ive looked at silkies and they are adorable, but Ive heard they go broody too often to be reliable as layers? Orpington has been my first choice for a while now, as mentioned, but also wyandotte, barnevelder, australorps and faverolles, though people cant seem to agree wether these are quiet or not. Different sources have different opinions on the sound levels of the various breeds..
  9. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    With the kind of yard you have, I would just trash the tractor idea, or really any kind of run. They will destroy the ground in no time, and it will end up being just poor management all around. Give them full access to the yard. I would keep three hens and make a very densely vegetated yard, with heavy gardening and foliage around to make use of the crap, make them not want to leave, and kind of hide the chickens. Thick plantings will make the most of a small yard to benefit the chickens.
    Bantams are MUCH noisier than standard breeds, especially the hens. Most bantam hens are louder than a rooster's crowing. They make the egg-laying noise, all the time, very loudly. Anytime they notice something or get afraid or are curious, they screech.
  10. ChookRanger

    ChookRanger Chirping

    Jun 25, 2014
    Hello and welcome. I think you have enough space for 3 or 4 full sized hens. If it is legal (why wouldn't it be?) to have them you could construct a nice little coop and let them have the run of the yard. I have heard of chickens referred to as "Yard Birds" You can also clip their wing feathers to deter them from flying. It doesn't hurt if you do it right and they get used to it very quickly. Let us know how it all goes. Good luck!

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