Downside of Backyard Chickens
Backyard chickens are trendy to get!
Let me tell you the downside of having backyard chickens so that you don’t do it for the wrong reasons.
#1 They fly…high! We had the set up down perfect but I will let the chickens out so the girls can play with them and also so they can roam the yard and eat bugs. Well one day Abby was blowing a toy horn at the chicken, I came outside to tell her to stop, but she did it one more time. That chicken flew over our 8 foot fence because it was so scared and was attacked by the neighbor’s dog who was relaxing in the backyard. It was so embarrassing because it really could have hurt their dog and my daughter bawled upstairs for hours. It was our favorite chicken, Piper, and we were all heartbroken. Also, remember the time when a truck came flying by our back fence and I had to scale the fence right after having a baby to save them?
#2 Set Up needs to be perfect. If you don’t have it set up right you are going to have dead chickens and a huge mess. They will tear up your yard, poo will be everywhere, your dogs will attack them, dogs or cats that sneak into your yard will attack them and who knows what else will happen. This is how *WE* have it set up but I am sure there are many other ways that work just as well or even better. We have a dog run, with bird netting on top (although after a snowstorm or windstorm I have to go out and re-do it), with a chicken coop inside. They don’t get out unless we open the door and let them out (which we do once a day) to eat bugs. So think about the cost and work that goes into that.
#3 Rodents If you are lazy with your chickens, not changing their bedding, not cleaning them, not cleaning out the coop you will have rats and mice. I even hired a special company to come out to help set it up so it would prevent the problem. I also have heard that you need to be careful with what kind of coop and then having it raised a bit to fight this.
#4 Cheaper? Eh… When you figure in the cost of the set up, changing their straw/hay/pine chips/whatever you decide to be the bedding, your time of cleaning up everything, their feed (even if you do table scraps as well), watering can, and any supplies you get when they are first chicks to keep them alive. If you want to buy organic, local farmed, chickens that are treated well–eggs…you might want to consider going the route of just buying them farm a local farm in your city.
#5 The gross work. Scrapping poo off their coop, changing out the bedding IS GROSS. IT’S GROSS.
#6 Babysitters. If you want to go out of town its another thing to take care of. Although not too bad, but you need someone to go in everyday to make sure they have water, feed, and collect their eggs.
#7 Possible Noise My chickens aren’t loud if I feed them in time in the morning. If I take too long they are louder than I thought although I think we are pretty lucky with that, but I have heard some people having a problem with that.
#8 Sometimes MEAN I haven’t had a problem with this either, but I have heard they can be mean. I think it helped that we got them as chicks and held them a lot. It might also be dependant on the bread.
#9 THE ROTTEN EGG…Dun Dun Dun This is so gross but I have to tell it. I think like 6 months ago Tyler and I were sitting late at night relaxing when we heard this loud POP in our kitchen. We ran over there to see what in the world it was but could not find anything. Then we started to smell this…wow…I have never smelled anything like it…foul rotten smell. I was convinced that a large animal had died somewhere in our kitchen or that there was a gas leak and we were all about to die. Tyler and I looked everywhere, we finally decided the smell was coming from behind the oven. We pulled it out and I scrubbed that thing to death but the smell was still there! Finally Tyler looked really close at the bowl by our stove that held the fresh eggs, AN EGG HAD POPPED! It must have been an egg that had sat out there for months and months but just got missed with each collection. Then when it finally came inside it was so rotten it popped. That was pretty gross.
#10 Moulting I did not enjoy that stage, they lost all their feathers, it was gross in the backyard and they didn’t lay eggs for a few weeks while in that process.
Why do we still have chickens?
It’s a family project that we all enjoy doing together, it teaches the girls responsiblity, how to work, deepens their relationship with where food really comes from, helps them to appreciate how they get their food, we love animals, and now that we have it down to a nice science they are really low key animals. Also we take good care of our chickens so we don’t have a lot of these problems!
Check out my other posts on our backyard chickens: