Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chickens: Free Range Experiment

Mr. Farmer made a proposal, and I could not argue. The chickens had already been reported to the local authorities. The neighbors had already decided that they were a nuisance. We are low on cash for feed, and the yard is just full of grass, weeds, and tasty bugs and worms the chickens could eat. So, he let them out.

After tentatively pecking just around the door of the enclosure, the chickens soon made their way to the side of the pen where the old pig yard was. The soft, rich soil was teeming with bugs and worms, and the feeding frenzy was on! Occasionally a chicken would grab a worm and try to run away with it - resulting in a game that we like to call "chicken rugby". The chickens' first adventure into the outside world was very entertaining to watch.

Sadly, what seemed like a good idea took just a few short hours to turn bad. The chickens stayed largely in the fenced area I call The Barnyard (the fence was originally for hot tub privacy) at first. In fact, it was probably more than an hour before even a single chicken wandered out of that grass and bug filled area. After all, there is an aged manure pile back there that attracts many flies and worms, as well as their favorite weed, which I pick for them and throw into the enclosure a few times a week. Eventually, however, they ventured out into the front yard and started picking through my herb garden. Those greedy chickens dug up my new oregano plant, which needed to be replanted, and destroyed a fair amount of my parsley as well. If it weren't for Mr. Farmer's vigilance, who knows how much damage they could have caused?

So, when the chickens went back into the coop for the night, we closed them in for good. Completing that back fence to contain them is not in the budget right now, so I guess the food will have to keep coming to them for now - for the sake of my beautiful gardens.

Chickens Outside of the Enclosure


  1. So, do you have to get rid of your chickens? I saw they were reported. Are you not allowed to have chickens in your area? How sad!

  2. I'm afraid we are not allowed to have them, Alexis. Our township code requires 2 acres of property to have livestock. We are looking for a loophole, but we are also preparing to move them to a friend's farm as well. See my previous post for more details, and stay tuned for updates!