Monday, March 8, 2010

The Great Ckicken Debate

What to do,what to do,what to do? I am trying to figure out what to do with the chickens this year. We were going to downsize our chicken "herd", but decided that we really like messing with chickens. We are selling a few eggs to some of my nail clients, but we are also giving away a few dozen, here and there, to neighbors and friends. That's all well and good. The debate is what to do with the chicken coop. The house is fine and dandy. The fence is not. When we had a big wind storm last fall, the house fell on the fence and pushed it down. Now we have to fix it. We have to make it stronger and bigger than it was before.(Which won't take much. It wasn't the best to begin with.) Now here is where the debate really gets interesting. I like the chickens running loose. The problem is, the veggie garden and my herb garden, will NOT like the chickens running loose. I thought of fencing in the gardens, but that is a lot of fence. The fence would also have to be taken down in the fall so that we can get the tractor in and around the gardens. (The herb garden is in front of our front porch where we stack wood. We bring wood to the porch with the tractor.) I like the chickens running loose because they get more of what they need by foraging. In a pen, they only get what we give them. So confusing.

How do YOU have YOUR chickens? In a pen or loose?

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, chicken wonderer

17 comments:

Melodie said...

Our chickens are in their own"yard".It is about a half acre fences in so they can forage,it has tress for shade and protection. We do occasionally loose one to a hawk,but not often.We have guineas with them and they alert the flock pretty good when a hawk is close.They get locked up at night or there wouldn't be any left in the morning!

Barbara said...

My chickens are loose during the day going to the coop at night. I did have the garden fenced in and you will need electric fence on top of the fence to keep the chickens from flying over the fence. Most of my cooking Herbs are in hanging baskets.
Maybe you could make a gate big enough for the tractor to go through.

Happy Days said...

I have my chickens in the freezer. I know...that was pretty lame. lol Don't know what to tell you to do. I vote to keep them because they lay beautiful golden eggs! I love eating them! yummo! Only have a few left. Might have to come and buy a dozen! Range em in the day - up at night. Are you getting this wonderful weather?? It is a blistering 59 degrees today!!...debbie

Kathryn said...

No chickens for us. I wish i could have a few hens, but it isn't practical with our current situation.

Becca said...

My chickens run loose in a kind of subyard that we have. There's fencing around the property line and we have a good-sized privacy yard right off the back of the house. Their house is inside that privacy yard and they get to run about during the day then get chased back into their house at night. I have a very small garden patch in the same yard and will just fence off the patch from the chickens. If it turns out they'll be too much of a nuisance, I can put the garden outside the privacy yard.

small farm girl said...

Thanks for the comments guys! I'm still not sure what to do. Although I do like the idea of the freezer, Debbie. lol. I guess I've got a little bit before I have to make the actual decision. I'll let you know what it is.

Russell Kofoed said...

Our chickens are in a fairly large area. We are going to make their area larger. It is easier to fence the chickens in rather than fencing in the garden. Not to mention the flowers. It also fences out the dog. sort of. most of the time. She hasn't killed a chicken...yet...but we don't want to find out if she will.

granny said...

Our chooks have a big fenced area where our fruit trees are to forage during the day,they then get locked up in the chook house at night,for safety.
Id love to let them out into the rest of the yard,but I would have to stand guard at the vegie patch,lol.I dont have time for that!
Make sure you let us know what you decide.I think fencing the chooks is the better way to go :0)

Feral Female said...

Our chickens free range during the day then most go back to the coop at night. I say most because there is a small posse who live with the steers.=)

Melissa E said...

Our chickens have their own completely enclosed pen and house (our Shepard would eat one if she could get it!) but then, our garden is fenced in and so is our property to keep the dogs out of the garden and the dogs in the yard...we have been putting the chickens in the garden until we plant, it gives them more room to roam and forage....we have the same "free or fenced" dilemma and figure after the Shepard is gone (she is really old), we may let the hens have free range of the yard! Below is the recipe website for the baked beans! Well worth the time, we cooked them on the outside of the smoker for 6 hours instead of putting them in the oven. Just copy and paste the link into your browser...


http://homecooking.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/r/blv308.htm

Nezzy said...

Sorry no chickens on the Ponderosa but have ya thought about puttin' up a short solar powered electric fence 'round your garden? Just sayin....

Have a great day filled with blessings from above!!!

Kelly said...

I don't have a garden with my chickens, yet, but I thought they were also beneficial for your garden? I know the will go after the tomatoes before you can get to them, but they will also keep the bugs away, right? I've wondered what to do with mine while the seeds are growing-probably fence the garden. We tried clipping their wings and putting them in the goat pen, but they could still get out.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Um, I've tried to make my chickens stay someplace that I want to be...and someone always figures out a way to be where I don't want them to be. Don't waste time with the fence. Even if you clip wing feathers...some punk will figure a way in/out ;-D.

Faith said...

I have a permanent house and smallish yard, about 40 by 40 feet. I'd rather they free ranged, but had too many problems with the neighbor, mostly.

For the garden I have it set up with a very wide gate so a tractor can come in once or twice a year, and the lower half has chicken wire so that I can put them in after the plants are past the tasty stage up until the fruiting stage.

Not to say I'm actually DOING all that, but that's how I'm supposed to be doing it. ;o)

~Faith

Ora said...

Hi..just stopped today by your blog...I am in Lexington, KY...I am always happy to find a blogger in Kentucky...I would like to add you to my list if that is ok with you...??? and I feel sure it is!!! and hmm about those chickens..as a child my mother raised chickens...I loved them when they were small, yellow and fuzzy..cute...a great playmate LOLOL...but then they grew up...and I therefore wanted nothing more to do with them...but had too...brother and I were in charge every day of watering the critters...thus I have no chickens...don't want any chickens...except in the freezer or on my table after cooking LOLOL...I love fried or baked chicken LOLOL...come visit me sometime over at my blog...God Bless..hugs...Ora

Deb W said...

I read your previous post about blogging....feel free to visit mine any time. http://oldkentuckyhomebody.blogspot.com/ I don't post really often, but I am still active, also in KY, and though I don't have chickens, I do spin, knit, have rabbits for fiber, and consider myself an urban farmer!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

My flock of chickens stay inside their coop most days. It's about 25 feet by 20 feet with their house inside and room to hang out underneath, too. I incorporated an apple tree inside their coop, so they seem to like that. And I have bird/hawk netting that covers the entire top of the coop. If I didn't they'd all be dead as we live on a raptor flyway/migration route and see hawks, eagles, owls and vultures just about every day here.

We also have several packs of coyotes that live in our area and often find their scat in our orchard.

Sometimes during the summer I will let them out to free range and sit outside with them or get work done out in the yard while I keep an eye out for predatorsm but otherwise they spend their time in the coop and seem quite happy there.

Oh, and my kids love to run around barefoot all summer and complained about stepping in chicken poop, so that's another reason we don't let them free range all the time.

~Lisa