I don’t know whether I should have written this post first. I feel like I’ve sucked you in with the desire to keep hens but not I am going to tell you all the bad points.
I feel I have to tell you though, it would be silly of me not to tell you everything so, here goes.
They poo. A lot. Constant pooping. The walk along and poo. They perch and poo. They poo I their food and water. They even sit in the nest box, laying an egg and poo. You will be constantly picking up and wiping chicken poo. If you let them free range in your garden, you will be wiping chicken poop from everything.
They eat a lot. Probably the reason for the pooing. Not just the food you provide them with but they peck at the ground all day so worms, slugs, fruit, plants, flowers, little pebbles-all fair game for chickens. If you have any of that decorative pea gravel around, they will probably eat it, peck around it and poo in it.
The grass is always greener for a chicken. At the farm they have a massive field. Do they count their lucky stars and stay in it? They do not. We have heard horns beeping on the drive and I’ve had to either go round and shoo the chickens out of the way or pick them up and deposit them back in their field. They are not daft enough to come in our garden because of the dog because any ones that have flown in have either stared death in the face of a terrier or they have been nipped and flown back over the fence. They fly. Not high but they can easily get over a fence. Some people clip their wings but I never have. I like them to experience natural chicken living. They always go back to the coop.
Chickens are a peaceful animal (usually) and they taste good so they are a sitting target to prediators. Everyone automatically think of foxes which have been known to visit in broad daylight but foxes are not the only things that love chickens. Dogs-especially terriers and retriever breeds have the potential to be killers-even if they don’t mean to kill them, the hen can die of shock. Then, depending on where you live in the world, weasels, rats, stoats, coyotes all snack on chickens. If you name your hens, you will be devastated if they get killed. Do be fair, I only name a couple now (due to past deaths) and I am still devastated if they get killed.
If the weather is wet and you have any grass, the lawn will become a mud midden in a matter of moments. It’s their feet. They scratch quite a bit so be warned. Look at this patch in the field, below. They have scratched away the grass and imagine it in wet, wintery weather. One of the kids got their welly stuck here this winter and he sunk in like quick sand.
There are probably more bad points but, even with the drawbacks, their benefits far outweigh their short-comings.
I am sure if you are serious about hens, I will not have put you off.