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Talk me out of wanting chickens... seriously

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  • Talk me out of wanting chickens... seriously

    I realize that usually people want to be enabled, but not this time. I recently learned my town allows chickens and oh, the temptation. But for various reasons, I wish to resist. So - what are the downsides of chickens? Tell me chicken-keeping horror stories!

  • #2

    Stuff other than you eats them. It's annoying to find headless chicken in the run. You feel bad when it happens because you were a little lazy and didn't put them in right at dusk.

    It's a pain to have to keep running to the feed store and getting more 50 lb bags of feed.

    You can't just go away for the evening necessarily - they need to be let in and out of the run morning and night.

    They mess up their water all the time and it's kind of a challenge to keep them in clean water without spending a lot on fancy systems.

    I like ours. I keep making more. So I can enable too.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    • #3
      You need to spend money on a coop, and they aren't cheap. Their droppings are really disgusting. If you let them free range you run the risk of them being killed, and if they free range they don't always stay where you think they should and they'll perch in the rafters in your garage and bomb your car, dig up your flowerbeds and peck at your vegetables and spoil them. You'll also have to figure out how to get rid of their eggs, unless you REALLY love eggs.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible


      • #4
        Chicken care is one more chore at the end of the evening of chores. Still, they are awfully cute and fun, until someone eats them because you forgot to close them in.


        • #5
          Last year I bought 31 chicks. 6 mixed use hens for eggs and 25 meat birds.

          I accidentally squished one cute, widdle fuzzy birdie the first night with the water container. Guilt ensued.

          Everything was great until the fisher cats determined the birds were big enough to eat. I came into the barn to find a murdered bird. Increased security on my coop, ok for a while, then more missing or murdered birds. The low point was that with each successive strengthening of the 'security' the fisher cat seemed to up the ante. One morning I found 5 dead birds inside the coop and the saw the HOLE the fisher cat had chewed through the WOOD to get at my chickens. They could not drag the chickens out so they ate half of one and murdered four more. When they were still little, something actually reached in and grabbed a chick and pulled it through the wire, I could see where the hole was widened and feathers stuck around the edge. It was 2 " wire and the chick was certainly at that pint larger than 2" so I hate to eve think about what went on there. But I did learn that being in a barn, behind strong wire, does not make them safe, eve though i have seen a friend keep chickens in the same set up for decades without incident. She must not have fisher cats.

          I got to the point where I dreaded going out to the barn. One time I looked up the ladder to notice blood and feathers on the top rung.

          I was finally able to deter them by running hot wire around the whole thing. I have seen high security prisons with lesser security in force. That finally stopped it but all in all, I lost 13 birds.

          I built a new coop that is completely lined with hardware cloth so that if the fisher cats try again to chew a hole, they will not get in. I dare anything to get on to this thing at night. It is a super, heavy duty set up, you would laugh if you saw it.

          I'm not militant about it. I do still occasionally lose one as I let them out to free range during the day and once in a while a fox or hawk will get one. I don't name them and try not to get attached and just accept that is the concessional price they will pay for their freedom.

          But going into the barn and finding ones that had been killed was brutal.


          • #6
            10. Those annoying eggs. Too much cholesterol, yet so darned delicious.
            9. The obnoxious smiles on people's faces when you give them those eggs that you can't eat.
            8. As mentioned above, they are impossibly cute, and their antics cause me to sit and watch when I should be in the office working.
            7. They turn my otherwise dignified ponies into utter goobers as they gaze adoringly upon THEIR chickens.
            6. They are too easy for our own good, which causes us to keep more than we need and spoils us for real work around the faux farm.
            5. All that irritating chatter whenever we come near the run, as if they were happy to see us.
            4. Their willingness to eat bugs, weeds, table scraps and any snake dumb enough to slither into their run.
            3. Their talent for turning compost. I might have less upper arm flab if they would only leave that job for me.
            2. Their willingness to let my husband hold them when he should be doing chores.
            1. Their ability to show me what a dweeb I really am when one dies and I'm so sad.
            They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

            Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth


            • #7
              Everything that everyone else has said...but I want to add...IMO it is more cost/time effective to buy the eggs due to the huge rise in chicken feed cost. Other than that...it's not much work if you have a GOOD, tight coop and covered pen. Hawks (and a bunch of other varmints) love McNuggets!!
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


              • #8
                Dogs will eat chicken poop and fart nasty smelling farts!


                • #9
                  Just TRY to get someone to help you with the mite powdering, and even then, it still gets all over you! Ick!
                  Founding Member: Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique

                  People used to ask my Grampy, "What's your favorite color of horse?" He'd answer, "FAT".


                  • #10
                    They smell. Bad. If you have a chicken house, it's another thing to clean, another animal to feed, another chore to do, gathering eggs. Wildlife do appreciate the free snacks though!
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo


                    • #11
                      I love my chickies. The eggs are incredible, and their poop has made my garden the most gorgeous and lush it has ever been. Its not difficult to make a safe coop. I use chain link dog kennels lined with tiny hardware cloth to keep grabby hands from reaching thru. Yes you have to take care of them every day, same as your horses and your dogs and your cats. If you can free range them a few hours a day, it cuts down on feed, and makes the eggs amazingly delicious. Gives them a chance to bathe in the dirt, which seems to take care of any mites or bugs they might have on them. They are fun little critters.


                      • #12
                        Sorry, I side with the Enablers here.

                        They are about 10000X more amusing than I ever imagined 5# of feathers could be.
                        And if you can handle the attrition of losing the occasional bird to whatever predator finds a way to do a drive-by, I say Go.For.IT!

                        OK, 1 Downside:
                        I am now a confirmed Egg Snob - nobody makes eggs as tasty as my girls.
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                        • #13
                          ha-ha.....don't ask me......I just bought 6!


                          • #14
                            Well, if you are anything like me, you become emotionally invested and then proceed to worry about them like crazy. Diagnosing and treating them medically I have found to be infinitely more difficult than treating a dog/cat or horse. Vets in my area have limited knowledge so you must rely on books and online forums. Their diseases are far more serious, deadly and pandemic--sometimes taking out your entire flock. I could go on, but previous posters have mentioned other valid points I don't need to repeat.
                            I LOVE my Chickens!


                            • #15
                              I am in the dis-enabling column

                              Chickens = chicken lice. Horses can get chicken lice. I don't want them anywhere near my horses


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                They smell. Bad.
                                Uh - they only ". . . smell. Bad." if you don't take care of them properly. Nuff said. Hope you don't have chickens. Because if "They smell. Bad." I feel very sorry for your chickens.

                                That said. To the OP. It's idiotic to make a decision on whether or not to have chickens based on responses on an internet board. If you're interested - DO SOME RESEARCH - online or via books (most libraries have a good selection), then make a decision as to whether or not you're up to the task of keeping them.


                                • #17
                                  I've watched at a distance since my RI got chickens on her farm last year and went through some of the traumas mentioned, including most recently what apparently was a fight to the death between two roosters from previously separate flocks. The beloved one now is high on the mountain as the charming WV phrase goes. A few times when I filled in at feeding time, I checked in on them. They seem engaging and integrate well with the herd.

                                  I've also observed in the couple times I've stopped by what used to be our place, guinea fowl that my first wife has kept the past few years. They are cute and somehow remind me of the Roadrunner from cartoons.

                                  Also have friends who raise turkeys when the foxes and coyotes permit.

                                  Not sure what I'd pick, but I'm pretty sure if I had a farmette, I'd go with some kind of adjunctive birds.
                                  "Things should be as simple as possible,
                                  but no simpler." - Einstein

                                  “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”


                                  • #18
                                    Chickens are gross. Really. My little brother had chickens as a teenager. They stink unless you clean the enclosure daily. And free range chickens make messes in flower beds, rooting in the worst possible places. They are not worth the trouble to me; its not like eggs are expensive.



                                    • #19
                                      They aren't always cooperative when you just want to run to the store quickly for a Mountain Dew:



                                      I can ride my horses without a sharps container.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
                                        Chickens are gross. Really. My little brother had chickens as a teenager. They stink unless you clean the enclosure daily. And free range chickens make messes in flower beds, rooting in the worst possible places. They are not worth the trouble to me; its not like eggs are expensive.
                                        They're not "gross". "Really". And their living space, if it's set up PROPERLY, & not in the cheapest crudest way possible, doesn't have to be "cleaned out daily".

                                        This is what I mean by not basing your decision on stupid internet postings. READ.

                                        I raised chickens for over a decade. They were not "smelly". Or "gross". But my set-up was done after READING & RESEARCH. A well-ventilated weather-proof coop with a large completely wire-enclosed (top included) run (the wire sunk a good foot underground to prevent vermin/predators from digging in. (All homemade.)

                                        Since the coop interior was kept 100% dry, the pine-shavings litter (odor free, by the way) only required sweeping out completely once every 3 months or so. Seriously. The only time more frequent cleanings were needed was during the wetter winter months when the birds would track in more moisture. You don't want your coop litter getting wet. But still, it was never a major problem, & just made for more additions to my garden compost pile.

                                        Again - any naysayers here about their care simply don't consider keeping chickens seriously enough. If you consider them a backyard "throwaway" project for the lazy - expecting something for nothing - then that's just what you're going to get. If you take the time to invest a little in their safety & comfort, you'll enjoy their loveliness, adorable antics & friendliness, fabulous eggs (even if you don't allow them to free-range), & wonderful manure for your compost pile.

                                        Your choice.