There are benefits to having chickens but there are also drawbacks. I thought we'd have a handle on the biggest drawback now that we only have 6 free-ranging rather than 18 prior but I guess that is a silly notion!
The drawback is they are EVERYWHERE. The rule is in the AM they can't come out unless it's 30 degrees or above and the past few days it has been all of that, 56 on Sunday! And aren't they having a ball. In the mud on the roadsides, at the bird feeders, all over this farm, scratching, foraging, dusting, what have you. Even with the two feet of snow that has melted to 8 inches they are having a grand time.
What I didn't realize is they have zero traction on ice so this morning in an effort to distract them from the yard I shooed them down the lane and it is still pretty icy. They were walking and slipping landing on their feathery butts,it was quite a sight.
Last week we took down the electronet fence we have in the front yard to have it shortened and then reset. The fence has served as a containment area for Sidney and the cat. If the UPS/FedX truck rumbles by, for instance, Sidney jumps through the roof and would roar off after it, were it not for the fence. It is peace of mind for me if I let them out, knowing they are safe but able to stretch their legs and survey their domain. But the fence also served as a barrier FROM the chickens in our front yard and a temporary fence is now back up and that's that. I couldn't wait til the other fence was reapired. Enough is enough! No more raiding the birdseed I toss on the ground, no more hens at the shed door staring at me, no more scratching away at the grassy areas, not to mention the chicken s***. Today as I pondered the situation from the kitchen window, one hen kept looking at me from the feeder area as if to say "gotcha!" No, no hen...got you!
Tomorrow's mission is to protect one roadside bank that they are really going to town on. Then I'll fix that and they'll find yet another place to ravage! Man vs beast!