What impact will 3-4 chickens have on our yard?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NoelC, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. NoelC

    NoelC In the Brooder

    Jan 8, 2011

    Pre-newbies here!

    We were getting close to putting in a coop and pen, and ultimately we hoped these birds would have access to our larger lot so they could forage for this and that. We finally realized we have some areas (sidewalks, deck, some landscaping) we probably better keep them out of just to avoid a major mess.

    Question: how hard/possible is it to train these critters to stay off the deck or out of certain parts of the yard, without fencing? I don't have a clue, but I have to think when we are not there policing the area they will mosey on up and roost on the deck rails and otherwise make it look like, well . . . a chicken coop! We have another option maybe--we could cordon off the lower 1/4 acre and let them forage there. 3 sides are already securely fenced. We'd rather having them moseying around, but not if it means a mess on the deck, sideways, etc.

    Your thoughts are very much appreciated!


  2. arcatamarcia

    arcatamarcia Songster

    Sep 24, 2009
    I don't think it's likely you can keep them out of any area they have access to without being on top of it all the time. And they do poop everywhere, and will destroy any vegetation not protected. You don't say how many chickens you have, but if not too many, maybe a tractor would be a good idea. A portable pen that you can move from place to place on your property. That way you can move them periodically to give whatever vegetation is there a chance to recover.
  3. ajay

    ajay Chirping

    Jun 1, 2011
    I don't think you can train them to stay off areas. At least I haven't been able to. [​IMG] I shoo them away, but when they like it, they seem to find away back. Chickens are messy, but lovable. Good luck!
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Crowing

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    3-4 chickens won't likely destroy any vegetation not protected. Our 10 chickens left most of the landscaping unaffected and they largely stayed off of our raised deck. All of our roses, day lilies and shrubs have been fine. Although they did really like to scratch around in the mulch. I have heard that if they develop an interest in a vegetable garden, then it would have to be fenced to keep them out. If they have a small fixed position run that they spend a lot of time in, then they will scratch up any grass that happens to be there. If you have that space to cordon off, that sounds like a good idea. I hope you don't have too many hawks in the area.
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I have between 3-5 chickens and they freerange in my suburban lot- about 1/4 acre. They have caused no damage to the plants in the yard, but my smaller more tender plants have barriers. That decorative wire fencing, about 2 ft tall. They could go over, but rarely do. Have not bothered the shrubs and trees at all.
    You will have to fence them out of the areas you don't want them in.

  6. Gullygarden

    Gullygarden Chirping

    Jul 2, 2011
    Will the fence around your yard keep out dogs?
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    When I first got chickens I decided to let them free range. They discovered my gardens and compost. It was either fence in the gardens or the birds. The birds lost. Now I do let them out when I can be out to supervise them. They used to be in a movable coop and run but we have since added more coops and chickens. Here are some pictures. I love to take pictures. The taller smaller coop in the middle is the first coop we built and used to pull around with one of our tractors

  8. Nonny

    Nonny Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    scratch'n'peck :

    3-4 chickens won't likely destroy any vegetation not protected.

    I think the quality of your yard and soil, your climate and the type of plants you have will have a lot to do with whether they destroy it or not.

    I had a green lawn, lush 2' tall groundcovers under the trees, and various other grasses/weeds growing. My three chooks have completely destroyed the groundcover, destroyed the finer lawn grasses (the broadleaf seems to be holding up OK though) and their run is practically dust. This is partly due to the fact that over here it's winter, and very dry, so there's not a lot of rain to stimulate plant growth and what has been damaged, stays damaged. Plus, when they walk over the low growing stuff they just crush it to the ground, and they scratch at the other groundcover stuff and rip it off at the base.

    I got them at the end of April this year, so all that damage has been done in barely 3 months.

    If I had to do it again I would have fenced off those areas totally and/or only allowed limited, supervised access to them for maybe an hour a day, instead of leaving them free ranging.​
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  9. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    poop and chickens, thats what its about. seriously, you will have to walk with shoes on from now on. on our chickens pasture side, we have to wear shoes, dare us walk barefoot. [​IMG]
    if a chicken wants to get into a particular part of your garden, it will. i dont imagine you can train them to stay put. you will have to then supervise them when they are out. good luck. [​IMG]
  10. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Think moonscape. It's not just devegetation and goopy poo but crater excavation for dusting and insect hunting. Be prepared to turn your ankle when unexpected holes appear. I also can't imagine training them to stay off an area, unless you had a motion-activated firehose.

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