Practically Green: Chicken Myths

by Ivory Soap on 03/16/2012

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As a local spokesperson for responsible urban chicken ownership, I hear a lot of questions and concerns about the impact of chickens on the neighborhood.

Q: Doesn’t chicken waste attract vermin?

A: No. “But,” you say, “when I was a kid, my neighbor got chickens and they had rats.”

Your neighbor was likely leaving the feed out where rodents could get to it. The same thing would happen if your neighbor had recently acquired a cat and left food out for it at night. Or got a dog and used an outdoor automatic dog feeder. Or kept an easily accessible, well-stocked wild bird feeder.

For the sake of the neighborhood, please don’t leave any kind of people or animal food out where rodents can get to it.

Q: What about bugs?

Read more Chicken myths here

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay March 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

We get the same type of questions about goats. My favorite is: “Why is your grass so tall if you have goats?” or “Don’t they just eat everything, even metal?”

I love our chickens. We live out the in the country and have zero ticks and fleas and less scorpions running around than our city-dwelling friends.

And the eggs are worth the effort!

JavaLady March 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

I love having chickens. I’ve had some for 3 years now and just got a small batch of new babies !! No smell.. I compost all the coop litter. No fleas in our yard so that makes my cat and doggies and me HAPPY. And I agree 100% — the eggs are worth the effort. My baked goods have never ever been this ”fluffy and delicious” with store bought eggs. NEVER.

Jane March 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

We love our backyard chickens! I grew up with a barn full of chickens and now have just 8 in a backyard coop. Taking care of a small flock is a whole different ball of wax then a barn full, and of course managing manure and smells and food and all that is much easier too. I will say I wasn’t crazy about chickens after growing up with a big flock, but I love my little flock o’ clucking hens. They add a lovely dimension to our 1.5 acre “farm”, and are an important link in building compost!

cathy March 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

I have a chicken question!! 🙂
I see eggs at the store that say “vegetarian fed hens,” when, um…don’t chickens naturally eat bugs??
I don’t have chickens, but I thought that was why you let them roam around–that they eat grasshoppers and such?

Cristy April 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Yes! Bugs!
Chickens have a need for protein much like pigs (or humans). They CAN survive on vegetarian sources (much like humans, or pigs) but in a natural setting they would indeed eat insects, lizards, and even mice. Insects are a favorite food, and lacking the ability to forage, in a confined setting, you’ll see hens absolutely devour meat scraps. “Vegetarian fed” serves a few purposes… 1. people feel less creeped out. 2. soy protein is less expensive. 3. the “mad cow” scare resulted in regulations in animal feed that forced feed mills to refuse “animal byproducts” or other protein sources that include meat. Don’t let them fool you – “Vegetarian Fed” = Cheaper. Go for the local 4H kid’s eggs. Table scraps, worms/grasshoppers are illegal. And better.

Bayou Phil May 5, 2012 at 7:25 am

@ Christy – Table scraps, worms/grasshoppers are illegal. And better.

I don’t understand this part of your comment. Do you mean illegal for 4H? Or for “Vegetarian Fed”? Or am I missing something altogether?

Hedie July 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Two questions: we have outside cats that are hunting fools and hawks/ospreys that fly around our area here in town. Do I have to keep my chickens cooped up or will they survive being in our 1/2 acres fenced lot with flying menaces around?

Ivory Soap July 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm

They are LUNCH. I have a limited open area for my chicks (40x40ft) with a honking willow tree above them and the goats are always with them. Once the chicks are a certain size, the cats don’t even try. Daisy has had hawk dive bomb the covered cage. If it wasn’t there…

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