The Other Side of the Straw Bales
I only have 5 chickens, of which two are roosters (they were supposed to be hens.) My poultry have 250 sq ft. of indoor chicken-centric hanging out space, they have a warm, secure coop with 3 nesting boxes, they have a 12′ x 12′ chained linked fence area with a gate, overhead protection, and a secure entry way into the coop and building, they probably have an acre of additional fully accessible space, sub-zoned into 2 parts, both of which are fenced: one which is cozy, shady and protected, and the other, which is open and vast to allow for running and flapping around – all of it, grassy and prairie-like.
Yet, possibly due to their imperialist nature, the chickens have literally taken over the dogs side of the fence, probably adding nearly another acre or so of territory, and somehow relegating 6 dogs (4 are huge) to just a sliver of a portion of the front yard.
The dogs still theoretically have the entire outer zone of the property, but they always find a way to get filthy – either by squirming in wild animal poop or finding a way to become fully covered in burrs, looking a bit like Chia pets when they come tromping home, wide smiles and tongues flapping in the wind. Many times, unfortunately, it’s been both.
Can’t they just run around, sniff, and play? Must they muck about? Total freedom for the dogs on the front end (and the chickens too, for that matter) invariably adds a ton more work for me on the back end…any “add-ons” to an already crammed schedule, is not exactly my cup of tea.
Opening up the entire property for the birds (there are 3 officially fenced zones in total) would be a bit too dangerous, with possums and such hanging around. But I have no doubt they would take it, if it were available.
So the point is that the 5 chickens have a ton of freedom AND space. The other day, I witnessed them taking over and virtually hanging out on the wood storage side of the building. It isn’t all that easy for them to stroll on in. I have buckets in front of the pathways to keep them moving forward – towards one of the main doors. Why they would stop and wrestle themselves into this space, I have no idea. The wood aisle I’m showing here is OK -… I guess, but the other section is not entirely safe for chickens and I’m not really keen on retrofitting that space to accommodate these fowl. Again and again, I find them messing around where they shouldn’t.
Can’t they just be contented with the massive amount of space made available to them?