There’s no chicken house here. When we moved here, I had the crazy idea that the chickens would naturally gravitate to the barn. I figured it might be a problem–lots of chicken poop in the stalls, and Morgan wouldn’t like that! But I thought maybe it would do, for the winter, then I might break down and build a chicken house. I’ve not been a huge fan of chicken houses. I like my chickens to free range–and they like to free range, too.
I’m breaking down quickly about a chicken house here. The chickens didn’t gravitate to the barn. OH, NO, not to the barn. They gravitated to the HOUSE. I’ve been running them off the back porch constantly. Worse, maybe, is that they love the studio deck. They roost on the deck. Leaving piles of poop for me to sweep off every day. I battle them in the evenings, swatting them off the deck rails with a broom. Too often, they beat me, outlast me, out-man me.
If it’s raining or cold, some of them do go to the barn, but mostly they go under the deck. I bet the chicken poop is piling up under there, too.
I’m becoming a fan of a chicken house. With a lock and key!
I love the idea of chickens free ranging all over the place, but when put to the test I hate how they dig up and fling my mulch all over the sidewalks. So mine stay in their fencing in run!
On January 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm
I thought they hung out by the studio door, praying for the door to open, and lead them to the promised land of dog food!
On January 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Best of both worlds is a chicken coop to lock them in at night, then let them free range during the day. A light bulb in it and turned on in the evening, lures them into it where there is food and water waiting for their dining delight, and nice comfy roosts for them to lounge on… then you slam the door on em!
They may still hang out on the porch a bit, but when their food is all out by the coop, they’ll eventually decide it’s more fun there!
On January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm
That’s what mine do, free range all day and go in the coop at night. Maybe you could herd them into a stall for now? Anywhere?
Mine don’t dare come down to the house because I let the dog run them off.
On January 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm
Sheila Z says:
Chicken coop, movable electric net fencing (summer), large run (winter) and lock them up at night. Best of all worlds, eggs that have bright orange yolks, bugs are controlled and ground gets rotatated. Best part, chickens are not crapping on the porch, etc. There will always be one or two that will fly over the fence so you will still get the experience of free range lawn ornaments without the piles of poop.
On January 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm
I can’t let my hens free range, first, been there and done that, I am too old to be stepping in chicken poop, when I would much rather have it contained in an area at a time for fertilizer 🙂 We have our hens and Checkers the watch Rooster in a completely enclosed pen, it has chicken wire overhead, on the ground and the sides. I guess our new homestead is notorious for having ermine/weasels. Not to mention an occasional bear..Hubby is building me a portable chicken tractor to house the hens and Checkers daily and we are just going to move it around and while we are home watch our flock, if we happen to need to go away, they will be put back in the secure pen. I do miss those bright orange yolks this time of year, I do give them alfalfa daily and all the veggie scraps, no citrus or potato scraps, and the last of a bag of cereal and other ok leftovers..up until 4 days ago I was still giving them sprouted oat grass for treats and fresh soil so they had grit..
My egg production has dropped from 18 to 12 or less a day, so I am going to increase their protein in their feed a bit. I was SHOCKED I read the last bag of feed, it contained PORCUPINE protein, that about sickened me..out it goes, my hens are not eating that..
So much for my 1 cents worth..
Happy Hen Raisin’
On January 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm
I like our chicken coop. They free range during the day and roost safe and sound in the coop all night. They spent most of last winter under my porch during the day, so this past year I put some chicken nests in there. Now I don’t have to go far at all to gather a few eggs! :happyfeet:
On January 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm
I would worry about a critter getting them if they did not have some place safe to go at night. I let mine out in the daytime but I like knowing they are safe from raccoon and fox at night.
On January 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm
Usually, all chickens of all sizes are locked up all the time, wire on all sides and the roof. They have 3 houses and each house has an 8’x24′ run. So, letting them out is just once in a while because they can ruin a hosta bed in minutes!
Getting them to go back inside is not easy at all. These little birdbrains want to head for the pond/lake and roost in a tree. They all slept there one night, but nothing ate them.
BUT, if I go outside abour 3 before they get sleepy and take off for the woods, swinging the bucket of feed and hollering like an idiot… Here, chickie chickie chickie… they come flying to me! They follow to the pen, I go inside the pen, all of them but the two with smallest brains go in the door, and I sneak out. Then it takes a little while for the remaining two to figure out the door, and they frantically run around and around until they spot in and hop in. The dog just watches the parade. :snoopy:
Maybe I have some of the neighbors hens now. I let out ten, and counted twelve when they returned!
I don’t let out the banties or the pigeons. Each house has a light for warmth, and egg production is great.
On January 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm
A chicken house sounds like a good project to learn carpentry skills. Who’s going to complain if it’s not perfect?
On January 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm
New Blog Name: Chickens on the Porch.
On January 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm
I rather hope that I have a chicken on the porch problem some day. 🙂 I’m currently in the middle of gathering information to take to our council (by the end of January) in order to hopefully sway their opinion on urban chickens. WIsh me luck!
On January 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm
My girls have a nice three sided coop, enclosed roofed run, and supervised ranging. We have too many foxes, raccoons, and hawks as neighbors to let them free range.
As far as getting your chickens to come when called, two words. Dried mealworms. AKA chicken crack. Mine will do anything for them. I shake the container and they come running. Or flying low. So they go back into their run, and even leave the garlic patch.
On January 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm
Miss Judy says:
Ah…just give them an easy chair in a safe place and bring them some snacks every evening …they’ll soon toddle on to the roost. Works for my husband. Maybe a small TV would help?
On January 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Could you use one of the stalls/rooms in the existing barn that opens into a fenced area? It wouldn’t take much to make a stall chicken tight. Just some nails and chicken wire to tack over openings. If the outside pen wouldn’t contain them, a tall roll of chicken wire unrolled around the outside door would do it. You could just cut a small chicken door for the outside door. I hope this makes sense.
I would hate to spend money for a separate chicken house with all that unused barn space!
On January 17, 2012 at 8:20 am
holstein woman says:
I’m with you on the C H. My latest purchase of pullets gravitate to the front porch (all the way around the house). A friend I hadn’t seen in about 7 years came to visit the other day and when he came the pullets were on the front porch. I was so embarrassed. I have never had that problem until I got these Brahmas. All the other breeds ALWAYS stay in the back yard. I believe in FREE RANGE and I have 3 chicken houses. I am going to fence them in this spring in the pasture and give them about an acre of land. I know how much poop I have to sweep daily, I even gave them the garden to scratch in and they still use the porch. :pirate: I’m fightin back!!!! :hissyfit:
On January 17, 2012 at 9:31 am
I second the calls for a chicken house. I do have a horse barn, but the only time I keep chickens in one of my stalls is while they’re small enough to be locked up in a brooder box. When they get bigger, off to the coop they go. Guess I’m just not a big fan of chicken poop in my horse barn–or anywhere else, which is why they stay locked up in their coop/run. Plus we have predators–and our own dogs. None of them seem to have violent tendencies, but one of them likes to annoy the livestock. She’ll poke and lick anything she can reach until it finds a way to escape her. I think our chickens are happier separated from her!
On January 17, 2012 at 9:37 am
My sister moves her chickens at night when they are sleeping. She has a chicken house that they are supposed to overnight in. Sometimes she gets new chickens that don’t follow the old-timers or perhaps a chicken becomes rebellious. Anyway it’s easier to move them at night. Just pick them up and go set them on the roost. Close and lock the door. Out here, in Texas, they need to be penned up overnight for safety (snakes, possums, racoons, etc.) Occasionally its necessary to keep the birds penned during the day too. Usually it only takes a few nights for the chickens to learn where to roost.
The nest/laying boxes are conveniently located outside the chicken house, available all day long. Free-range is great but it’s also great when you aren’t hunting for the eggs all over creation.
On January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Suzanne – Love the chickens story. But I gotta ask where are the cows and how are they doing and where do you keep them at the new farm? I miss them and am worried about them. Unless I missed it, I haven’t seen a post about Glory Bee and Beulah Petunia in quite a while. East my worries please! Love to you, Joy from MI
On January 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm
Njoylife, Suzanne posted about the cows recently. Go to the barn archives and read “Moo”. :cowsleep: They are fine!
On January 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm