Chickens in My Backyard...soon!

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My husband said I could get a few chickens! Yay! We've had a few chickens before, and had to get rid of them when we had moved. We're in the city now, so we'll only have two or three. I'd like as many as five, but that's probably asking for trouble. Technically, we're not supposed to have them. At least that's what the city planner said, but I can't find anywhere in the codes that specifically prohibits them. I know there are a few "stealth" chicken owners around here, and my neighbors are nice (only two houses have any view of our yard), so I don't expect a problem.

I was able to ask around and found someone giving away some chickens, and another person giving away a chicken tractor. For those who don't know, a chicken tractor is a moveable cage/pen used to house a few chickens, that is rotated all over the yard to give the birds access to fresh grass and bugs, and eliminate the need to clean out a pen. Plus it's great for the grass. Some chicken owners make huge chicken tractors that you need a lawn tractor to move, and house a dozen or more chickens. Then some people, like me, have a tiny one that houses only two, and is easily moved by one person.

The chicken tractor I got wasn't that well-made, and is all of older recycled materials. Which is what you expect for a free chicken tractor! I'll need to refasten some nails, and remove a couple of screws that actually protrude into the nesting box (yikes). It's just a temporary solution til we can build a bigger, nicer one.

Chickens only need two square feet of space. I like to give them more, but that's what the experts say. And a chicken tractor isn't quite the same as a cage or even a coop. They're constantly exposed to new grass and bugs. They don't get to run much, but they'll be happy. The chickens I had in a coop never ran, either. And the time I had them free ranging, they pretty much only ran when being chased by the rooster. The tractor I have only has enough room for two chickens, unless I get bantams (mini chickens).

We're trying to come up with a lightweight design for the next tractor that will allow us three to five chickens, with a little room to run back and forth if desired. The trouble is making enough room for a nesting box with perches that is insulated well for the cold weather we get (I'm wanting to get Buff Orpingtons,like the birds pictured above, as they're great cold weather birds). I'd let them roam the yard, but we don't have fencing yet, and the small children's park behind our house is dogwalking central...and a lot of irresponsible, selfish owners don't put their dogs on leashes. (Don't get me started on that one...they think their precious pooch would NEVER bite another animal or a child...til it happens then they whine and say it wasn't THEIR fault. Cry me a river, I'm still suing their butt if their dog comes in MY yard and bites my kid!) Anyway, back to the chickens

I spent a long time uploading pictures that didn't turn out, so for pictures of coops and tractors grand and small, visit the Chicken Tractor Gallery and BackyardChickens.com

1 Response to "Chickens in My Backyard...soon!"

Mona Says :
9:34 AM

That is great! I look forward to reading your chicken stories! :O) We moved to the country in August and have been looking forward to having a chicken clan of our own, but not the right time yet (prego with 6th) so we are hoping that next year will be better :o)

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