Chickens are fun to watch. Since we got ours in September 2008, we let them free range in the yard, amusing us when we chose to watch ‘chicken TV’. But we got tired of the chicken poop land mines that lined the walkway to our front door. And the flies (and later wasps!) were a real downer at cookouts.
So I decided to put the chickens in jail. At first we gave them the side yard; 400 sqft along side the house. For birds that only ‘need’ 18 sqft, you think they’d be happy. But ours were spoiled. That first week they did a lot of clucking and pacing and tried to squeeze and fly out. I confounded them at every turn (my brain is bigger).
Side yard before the lockdown
From left: Coop to run to yard. Yard has swinging gate with double acting hinges.
A month later, I expanded their run behind the coop and along the fence line up to the front garden. Lots of sun spots, shade spots, dust spots, random greenery.
Coop with brick and stone pathways
Fenced in chicken yard up at the main garden
That makes about 800 sqft – as big as our house! They’re pretty happy. And they can follow us around again, albeit at a bit of a distance. They have access to the compost pile and we still bring them treats. It’s not a bad life.
And I have my yard back! No more stepping on chicken poop when you least expect it! No more flower beds getting torn open! I love that I can now walk into the garden to pick food without dealing with fences and gates. Next spring I hope to have tulips again.
Congratulations! Though they do look a bit like they should be holding tin cups and rattling the bars 🙂