I have free ranging chickens. The wander around the property, they eat bugs, tasty bits of grass and alfalfa. The hunt and scratch in the the dirt. And they crap. Everywhere. The crap on the porch, on the deck, they crap in Scott's garage. They leave chicken sized land mines in the grass in the front yard. We don't leave the garage door open without feeding them otherwise they come in the garage looking for something to eat and leave dropping in return.
They also eat everything in my garden. The first year we just had the few older australorp hens. They didn't bother much, there were only six of them. The second year the new pullets never did figure out they could cross the grass in the back, or come around the front of the house and get into the garden until the very end of the season.
Last year they massacred everything. The tomatoes never did turn red, but the chickens at them anyhow. They got into my corn, they ate my beans. I planted way too much so there weren't heavy loses, but that isn't the point. I don't want them scratching up my new plants, eating every bit of zucchini that grows, or knocking over my corn trying to get to the ears.
Connie's two survivors of the skunk are also part of the I need a fence issue. They are so friendly and so personable. They follow us around the yard. When you sit on the porch, Giblet jumps up on the bench and sits next to you making little turkey noises, while Goosey nibbles grass around your feet. Holy crap they can crap though. I thought the chickens were bad, but they have nothing on the amount of turds that can come out of the back end of something feathered.
Gibby and Goosey decided the front porch was where they were going to bed down every night. In the course of a day they can create a pile as big as the banty hen, I kid you not. You can go out and sweep the turds away, and half an hour later there is a new mound deposited like they thought you were missing the massive amounts of shit they create. We needed a fence.
We thought about just fencing in the garden to keep the chickens out until Gibby and Goosey made us aware of how much crap they can accumulate on the front porch. Scott is building us a fence with a gate across the sidewalk. We'll fence in the front and side yard, which includes the garden. The birds can all still roam around, just not where we don't want them. This will also keep the little dogs in the yard, and the kids when they are over.
|We're using field fencing instead of chain link.|
|Connie chasing the chickens out of the garden... again|
|Goosey and Giblet pouting cause they're locked up|
|Einstein watching over his girls while they dust bathe|