backyard chicken


Noise-polluting poultry

Chickens are not songbirds, though they do produce a lot of sound. The constant clucking can be a major nuisance by some people. In fact, in some areas where backyard flocks are legal, chickens are the second most complained about noise from neighbors, after barking dogs.

There are not many solutions to this problem, other than perhaps making a more insulated house so the noise will not travel as far. If the birds are outside, however, there is no solution other than buying more land to further separate the animals from neighbors.

Foul smelling fowl

The smell of the chicken coops is another issue, though it is a little easier to manage than the sounds. A big factor in cleaning is how many chickens are in a backyard flock. It is important for owners to keep in mind their schedule and how much time they can dedicate to cleaning up after the birds to determine a reasonable number to keep in their flocks.

Cleaning the bird’s houses and removing the fecal matter is recommended, not just for managing the smell, but also for keeping the chickens safe from biosecurity risks.

Bacteria and birds

Speaking of diseases, several foodborne illnesses can be spread by chickens to humans, even from live birds. Salmonella, avian influenza and campylobacter are a few diseases that can come from chickens and children are especially susceptible. This is mostly because kids like to touch their face and mouths often and this is dangerous behavior after playing with chicks or handling eggs.

Related: Happy Fantasy Homesteaders Clash With Reality

Proper hand washing is vital for keeping bird handlers safe, but owners should also be aware of biosecurity practices such as cleaning shoes before and after being around the chickens. This will help prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading.

High-cost chickens

Chickens can be destructive to terrains because clawing and pecking at the ground is one of their natural instincts. Hens will root in the ground and take dust baths as part of their daily routine. Like cats, they can also eat house plants or garden vegetables which can make them a nuisance to farmers. Having a strong fence can keep the birds contained within a property, but they need a lot more equipment than that.

A good chicken coop can be costly, and owners can find themselves spending thousands of dollars a year on feed, equipment and medical bills for their birds.

Not all veterinarians accept backyard chickens as patients. It is important to know where the nearest help can be located in case of an emergency.

rooster and hen

Raging roosters

It is important to know that roosters and hens are very different in temperament.

Though each bird has its own personality, roosters can be very aggressive. They have been known to attack small children or even adults. Curbing this behavior may be difficult or even impossible; it is in a rooster’s instinct to protect hens and show dominance over the flock.

Urban Predators

One aspect missed by the poultry trade publication is the threat from predators in an urban setting.

Dogs, cats, and other varmints are loose in many cities and all of them love feasting on chicken. Cities are host to buzzards and owls, along with other winged marauders.

Also, children are as dangerous as the hungry critters. A kid with a good wrist rocket can kill a chicken easily.

And let’s not forget the human threat. A thief in the night looking for a food source is even more dangerous than the varmints. Be aware and plan accordingly.

A renewable food source is great for any self-reliant family. But research and forethought are critical to its success. Like anything worth its while, chickens are a longterm commitment, but the benefits should outweigh the drawbacks.