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What would you do? Chicken dilemma ):

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PitbullandChix, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. PitbullandChix

    PitbullandChix In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    I have a dilemma and I've been going back and forth for days now trying to make a decision. Here's the situation: I currently live on a 1/2 acre and free-range my chickens every day. I love my chickens. However, they are becoming a bit of a nuisance for my neighbor. Also, my boyfriend (who owns our house, does all the maintenance and pays most of the bills) is not a fan of the chickens. He doesn't like the fact that they poop everywhere (our porch, etc.) and "tear up the yard, gardens and around the foundation of the house" (to dust bathe). So, I'm faced with two options:

    Option 1: Upgrade their coop and run, where they will be confined.

    I need to upgrade for both convenience and functionality. The convenience part is for me as I work 3 jobs and a few changes here and there would be a big help. The functionality part is because I jumped right in to owning chickens one year ago with little knowledge of their needs. So, I've done my research and this is what I'm looking at as far as upgrades go financially:

    - New coop: $200 (I know this seems low, but this is being sold by someone I know)
    - 10 x10 Run: $230
    - Roof for the run: $120
    - Automatic pop door: $150(+)
    - New Feeder: $85

    Total: $785 (at the minimum, before the little things here and there that I would add to the run such as dust bath area, perches, swings etc. to make it more "fun" for my girls). Ultimately, the money is not much of an issue. The issue is the better decision, for my girls, between the two options.

    Option 2: Sell the chickens to my boyfriend's friend who owns a farm, many acres and will continue to free range them.

    In summary, I'm faced with the dilemma of confining my 7 girls to a coop and 10 x 10 run (that ends up being just a dirt patch in dry weather and mud pit in wet weather) for my own selfish reasons OR give them away. I love my chickens and I don't want to give them up AT ALL. I am a firm believer in "pets are for life." However, I want to do right by the chickens and I want them to have a good, enriching life. To some, it may seem like a simple, obvious decision but I consider my chickens my pets. I enjoy watching them, they are like my little hobby and they make my already good life just a little bit better. So, what would you do?

  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    Tough choices. When you ask 'what would you do?' -- if you are talking to a chicken addict, then yep, of course keep the chickens.

    I have 10x10 roofed chainlink runs, and yes they are dusty in dry weather and muddy in wet weather. The chickens love it. And the poop on the walk and steps and porch is a thing of the long ago past.

    What about giving some to the farm friend and keeping 3 for yourself. Fewer chickens, less feed, less poop for the compost pile, a bit less work, and you would have a closer relationship to the chickens that you keep. You would still get to enjoy them and you would still have fresh eggs at arms reach.

    Although chickens love to free range, it isn't an absolute requirement for their well being, and it is ALWAYS a risk from predators. With just a few, you could also (if you ever have any leisure with those three jobs) occasionally let them out to free range under your supervision - right before bed time from time to time -- so that they could be supervised, and herded away from porches and walkways and pretty easy to get back into the coop at dusk with a little scratch thrown in.

    Good luck with your choice.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  3. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Songster

    Nov 25, 2010
    You could downsize or, look into keeping their current coop and building a movable run that you can move around the property while keeping the girls contained as well as one that does double duty by attaching to their current coop on those days you're unable to move them around. A hoop coop comes to mind.
  4. jennyf

    jennyf Songster

    Apr 24, 2016
    You might also consider chicken husbandry at the farm they'd be going to. Free range is not always better on principle if being eaten by predators, picking up lice/mites, being overbred by overzealous roosters, etc. is going to be a factor. If it was me, I'd probably downsize and then build some chicken tunnels or a tractor to keep them contained somewhat.
    1 person likes this.
  5. If they are an annoyance to the neighbor then you are being inconsiderate, you have a responsibility to keep your chickens on your own property. The choice seems clear to me, pen them up or get rid of them.

    Good luck.


    Must. Finish. Coop.
  6. PitbullandChix

    PitbullandChix In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    Thanks for the feedback! The only issue with a chicken tractor or hoop coop is that our land is basically one big hill. Where the chickens are situated right now is about the only level surface in on our entire property. So, I'm not sure if that would work. Also, don't get me wrong we are good friends with our neighbor but he has just made it clear, in a nice way, that when he starts growing grass this season he doesn't want the chickens eating up his seed or scratching his yard. Which is very understandable! Not to be rude @IdyllwildAcres but saying "The choice seems clear to me, pen them up or get rid of them." is not a choice....it's just restating my current two options.
  7. Well its a decision only you can make. Good luck.


    Must. Finish. Coop.

  8. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    How many options we up to so far? If not already taken I'll offer Option E........E for Electric.

    Somewhere between letting them roam free to go where they want and confined to a run of 10' x 10' is the expanded yard. Not free range, but not close quarters confined. The term is "Yarded".

    That means a fence of some type and some may tire of me saying it, but an electric fence works. My birds have a Woods house, but do not have a run. If and when I let them out, which is almost daily, they are free to roam about inside a perimeter I have established and one large part of the is bounded by nothing but an electric fence.




    They don't go outside of it and predators don't come in. In short, you pretty much confine them to where you want them. The main threat from that is raptors......hawks, owls and such. Give them a place to hide and even that threat is diminished.

    So my vote is to keep them, but confine them into an area where you, neighbors and that boy/guy/friend can live with.
  9. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    I used to let my chickens "free range" my yard (10K sq ft fenced property, in a residential area) but the last batch really tore up my yard [​IMG] So I came up with this idea for an enclosure, we do get alot of rain. It's 8x12, screened with chicken wire as we don't have the heavy predator problem as you all do, wrapped with shower curtains using EMT for rods. Using the DLM, using cheap 2 x 4 lumber ($2.57/per) is all we used, stacking one on top of the other (screwing/nailing), metal roofing & paint. I now have 5 hens and don't feel "guilty" of keeping them in, they're SAFE and my yard's not being torn up. It's been a year and works great....

    Understand your dilemma.....After the last batch of chickens tore up my yard, sold them and thought I wouldn't get anymore, yea right [​IMG] No idea what prices are like there but this set up was simple and cheap (for us). Good luck.

    [​IMG] Poop board/trap above the "nest box" is removable

    [​IMG] Plastic dog house for "nest box", I have a dust bath under it but they don't use it.

    [​IMG] It's functional & cheap! My yard is in tack & I don't feel so "guilty" not letting them free range.
    1 person likes this.
  10. pclark17

    pclark17 Chirping

    Jan 5, 2017
    Western Kentucky
    As a new chicken owner of 3 hens in a residential area that I must have our girls in an enclosed structure, here is what I suggest...Keep all that you can reasonably and comfortably confine, it is worth it. I understand the desire to keep your pets, we wanted backyard chickens very badly so we built the best 10x12 enclosed run with their coop inside. We make it a point each day if the weather allows regardless of temperature to go outside and let the girls out in the yard. It has become their routine, usually every day about 4pm I find them waiting at the run door for me to open, they get out, flap their wings, scratch, range, play, and seem perfectly content with the limited "free" time they are given under supervision. On the weekends or nicer days, they are out longer and appear to love it. If you want to keep them around which it clearly sounds like you do, I would figure out whatever means possible to do that while keeping the neighbor and your husband happy with the new arrangement. Good luck!

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