In recent days, owning backyard chickens for their eggs has grown in popularity. Chicken owners can skip a trip to the store with fresh eggs from their own backyards and be more in control of how nutritious their eggs are by providing their chickens with quality care. Having more control over the quality and quantity of one’s food gives a great sense of food security.
Are Chickens Good for Your Yard?
Having chickens in your yard can help control weeds and insects, pests and provide natural fertilizer for your lawn, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, etc. It’s like having your own pest control and lawn care service, just by having free-range chickens.
If you happen to be a newcomer to the world of chicken rearing, you may have a few questions about the impact a flock of chickens might have on your yard.
The truth is, owning backyard chicken can be both beneficial and harmful to your yard, requiring a bit more land management on your part to make it a successful endeavor.
How Does Having Chicken Benefit Your Yard?
If you are worried about how a flock of chickens will impact the yard, you can feel at ease knowing that their presence can increase your yard’s soil and vegetation’s health and quality.
Chicken feces happens to be rich in nitrogen, which is essential to both plant’s and soil’s growth and viability. Without it, vegetation will slowly starve and die. That said, too much chicken poop can kill the grass, so it’s essential to know how to care for your type of grass properly.
If your concern lies in preserving the lush quality of your lawn, chicken poop can aid your efforts.
Grass happens to be vegetation that requires fertilizers that are high in nitrogen. Instead of buying fertilizer with other chemical components in it and spraying down your lawn, your chickens provide you with free, organic fertilizer.
Not only does your chicken make food for you, but it makes food for your plants too!
A few other perks of adding a flock of backyard chickens to your yard are that they further promote a healthy yard by eating harmful insects and pests like fleas and ticks. They also help to keep weeds in check, snacking on them as part of their diet.
How Does Having Chicken Harm Your Yard?
As with anything good, too much of a good thing can be bad. The same beneficial qualities that chickens bring to your yard can come back to bite you in the end.
Although chicken feces are high in nitrogen, which all plant life requires, their stool is considered “hot compost,” requiring a significant amount of time to break down into a suitable fertilizer.
If enough chicken stool builds up around the yard, the high level of nitrogen makes chicken stool such a good fertilizer become too concentrated, burn, and kill the vegetation in your yard.
Chickens also don’t differentiate between the weeds you would like them to eat and the plants you would like them to leave alone.
Their scratching and pecking at the ground, searching for those pesky insects can also expose the roots of and harm both your lawn and garden plants.
How Do You Protect Your Yard from Being Harmed by the Addition of Chickens?
One of the great things about chicken ownership is you learn a bit about land management. The relationship between your chicken and your yard can be mutually beneficial.
With some strategically placed plants, supervision, and a little extra yard maintenance, your backyard can be transformed into a sustainable, food-producing ecosystem.
To better manage the impact a flock of chicken will have on your yard, remember to:
Protect Your Plants
Whether it’s the grass at your feet, the plants in your vegetable garden, or the floral plants off in the corner of your yard, planting some alluring vegetation can help redirect a chicken’s attention away from the more fragile greenery in your yard.
Even chickens have favorite foods, preferring specific vegetation over others. To keep them from going at your lawn or a specific plant too often, try planting a variety of scrumptious, chicken-friendly vegetation around the yard.
This will help prevent them from doing too much harm in one location.
If you happen to have some plants you don’t want your chickens pecking and nibbling at, you can place some chicken wire around it to prevent them from getting to it.
You can also try planting vegetation known for repelling chicken.
When using repelling plants, be sure to consider your yard’s space so that your chicken won’t be forced to be nearby any off-putting smells.
Don’t Get More Chickens Than You Need
It can be tempting to get more chicken than necessary to meet your egg-consuming needs. Many chicken owners may opt to sell the extra eggs for a profit with an excess of eggs.
Or it could simply be the appeal of adding to your animal family and finding that chickens make excellent companions and comical entertainment.
Whatever might compel you to add to your flock, remember that the more chickens you have, the more impact they have on your yard, and the more management needed.
You can find out more about space requirements per chicken here.
Clean Up Excess Chicken Poop
Chickens poop a lot and poop everywhere. To keep your yard from experiencing chemical burns from a build-up of the nitrogen in its stool, you will need to clean up as necessary.
The bright side about chicken poop? Your chicken’s coop will be where you see the most stool build-up for the most part. They poop everywhere in the coop.
While they are out and about in your yard, they generally spread their stool out themselves by occasionally stepping on it and walking around.
However, if you see it building up, it’s time to step in and divert their attention elsewhere to ensure they are not pooping in one area, as too much chicken poop can kill your grass.
Mow Less and Leave Clippings
To protect your lawn and keep your chicken from exposing its roots as they forage for food, allow your grass to grow longer and leave its clippings on the ground after mowing.
Cutting your grass low to the ground may extend the duration of time between mowing, but it certainly won’t help protect your grass from your pecking, scratching chicken.
If your chicken has an appetite for grass, leaving the clippings to further protect its roots also gives your chicken an easier meal to focus on.
They will be more likely to opt to eat the unwanted clippings just because it’s easier.
Having chickens in your backyard can provide fresh fertilizer for your lawn, making it grow more beautiful without extra effort. Also, your flock will happily eat up the insects and weeds in your backyard.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand how chickens can benefit your yard. That said, it’s essential to realize that without proper care, chickens can ruin your yard.
Chickens can provide you much more than just fresh eggs. If you keep your chickens in the chicken run, open the door and let them roam around the yard for a few hours every day!