You CAN live in the city and create a healthy life-style...a vegetable garden, small flock of chickens in your backyard, help the environment at the same time. You don't need a big tractor, acres of land and a lot of money! Follow our adventures with backyard chickens, gardening, composting, recycling.
We spent most of the day prepping the beds for fall planting and we kept the chickens in the hen house because we didn't need their 'help' un-planting plants and digging up seeds we'd just sewn. They were going to get to do some supervised free-ranging after we finished. While working we came across lots of worms, crickets and other luscious bugs. I felt guilty for not letting them help so I got a pail and filled it with a little dirt and all the bugs, worms, etc., we found.
Teddy Trying To Help
As we finished the work the rain moved in and the plans for free-ranging disappeared with the sun. So what to do in place of letting six chickens free-range? Hmm. They were all lined up at the door ready to come out regardless of the pouring rain. What they don't quite understand yet is the need for our supervision. So, I dug up a little more dirt from the beds and added it to the pail of goodies. Maybe about three gallons of dirt filled with goodies. I poured half at each end of the run. It took a minute or so but they finally caught on. They flattened the piles of dirt in no time…scratching and pecking to their little hearts' desire. This was a bit different for them because inside in the run is packed dirt and hay on top, when they go out to free-range it's all grass. So being able to get right to the dirt and bugs while inside was fun. I don't know if it made up for not getting to free-range outside but they were entertained and safe. 'Safe' being the operative word.
Heading Out To Explore
Ours live in a fully enclosed run and coop but they do get out for supervised free-ranging. I would give anything to be able to let them out of the coop at sunrise to run, willy-nilly, everywhere till sundown! Unless we get a completely enclosed backyard, including overhead to prevent air strikes from hawks, that will never happen. Their enclosed area is big enough for them to hang out in when they can't come out…but I keep thinking of chickens who get the run of a huge area, a pasture, or wooded area on a daily basis. Are ours suffering any negative affects from not running free everyday? Do they even know what they're missing??? Aaack! The cliched-to-death apology 'it's for your own good' gets me nothing but grumbling and throaty honking.
The Grass Is Greener On BOTH Sides Of The Fence
Every small flock owner has different styles of management. Some urban and suburban keepers have full-time confinement with the enclosed area for the chickens meeting the space recommendation for the number and breeds of chickens. The chickens are usually very pampered - getting lots of healthy treats and attention from their owners. They're also much safer from predators. More importantly, whether fully enclosed or fully free-ranged, these chickens know they are cared for and cared about!!