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Chickens sentenced to 6 months in a minimum security prison

“What is this fence crap? And why can’t I go in the garden anymore?”

While working at the farm this past weekend – we decided that it is time.  Our girls, the chickens, need to have more of an assigned “designated area”.  During the building of the farm, the chickens have truly been free range and had free reign of every space.  With little to get into or get in the way of, we have simply let them run around.   However, now that there are patios, and flowerbeds and a much bigger garden going in –  things have to change.   Chickens love to dig, they love to scratch – and they just can’t seem to distinguish between all the green grass and dirt that is theirs – and the flowerbeds, patio spaces and garden space that is ours.

Enjoying her last few days of true freedom, Amelia surveys the empty garden from a fence post.

Late last summer and into fall, as the garden season came to a close – we allowed them in to rummage.  If you have chickens, it is actually a great thing to do after your garden has run its course.  They had a field day dusting and rooting around in the straw – decimating the insect population, eating and devouring weeds and seeds, and dropping valuable fertilizer.  It became a daily ritual – we let them out of the coop – and away they ran to the garden.

But now it’s spring, and plants are about to go back in.  We have spent the last few days raking back in the mulch that they have destroyed while mulling about all of the newly planted flower beds.   So, we decided we better get a plan in action.

Goldie wants to appeal the decision.

Now don’t get worried. We are not banishing them to a 2′ x 2′ cage.  Oh no, these chickens are our friends…we want to give them lots of space to roam and scratch and be happy – and to keep laying great eggs!  But just not in our barn, garden and patio area!  So out we went this past weekend to purchase a 150′ roll of fencing and a large amount of temporary poles.  It will allow them to have  a 30′ x  40′ area to scratch and play in.  Our plan is to rotate them around the property every  week or two to a new pasture area.  A minimum security “country club” type prison sentence for the next 6 months so to speak…until they can taste the freedom of the garden again this fall.

Jim and Mary

6 Comments on Chickens sentenced to 6 months in a minimum security prison

  1. i dont know where i went wrong i only had four chickens but in a year they destroyed every living thing i planted.They dug up my potatoes and onions ate my cabbages and purple sprouting brocolli, they dug holes in the hot soil and lay in the holes with their legs stretched out in the air.they chased my cat and pecked at her when she tried to sleep but the waste matter they produced anywhere and everywhere caused myself and my neighbours lots of trouble with hoards of green and blue bottle flies every time we opened a door or window in they would fly,the eggs were great but the damage was too much in the end i rehomed them with a lovely lady who did wood turning and she loves them, as much as i loved them i heaved a sigh of relief this spring knowing i could have a chance of growing something good to eat, i ididnt want to lock them up and they dug under the fencing or somehow got on top of it even though i trimmed their flight feathers

  2. Great post and great pics!

  3. Same here, we are expanding their ‘prison’, though. We are dividing their space into 4 seperate yards and rotating them through them one week at a time–hoping that if each part of the yard has a 3 week rest, there will be some green, growing things for them as they rotate through the spaces.

  4. Cute way of putting it. Mine are also back in their lock up, which is actually a huge old shed with a big run, but they go can through the new gardens like nobody’s business, we still have the wandering roosters, but four is not nearly as bad as thirty!! once the small plants are underway and unable to scratch out they are allowed out for an hours exercise time at sunset.. good morning!

    • So funny you say that, because we let them in late last year into the garden and they didn’t really bother the mature plants – but they would just destroy the baby ones! They really help to control the bugs and weeds in ours!

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