I know I tend to be kind of a chicken proselytizer, always playing up the benefits of chicken-keeping and how easy it is to have hens as pets. Well, there is a darker side to backyard chickens, which I will share with you now... Chickens are jerks.
Okay, much of the time chickens are perfectly nice, and maybe even funny or interesting. But, sometimes, they can be real a**holes, like when they break through fencing boundaries and dig up a bunch of your garden even though they have the whole yard to run around and scratch in and all you're asking is that they stay out of this one space!
Yes, the dirty little secret about backyard chickens is that they can be very destructive to your plants and vegetables. Last week, my hens somehow managed to break into the only two fenced-in areas of the yard and destroy several carefully-tended squash plants. Considering how minimal my garden is this year and how late I started growing things, this was a crushing loss.
When it happened, I was pretty furious. I mean, honestly, they have a HUGE amount of space for three hens. They have weed patches, dirt patches and lots of bushes and trees to hide under. But that wasn't enough for those girls. Oh no! They had to break into my garden.
I guess the moral of this story is that chickens are very curious. When they see a nice green plant surrounded by straw, they really want to get at it. So, build your fences well and watch those chickens closely, or you may find yourself in your backyard one evening shouting swear words at three clueless hens. (This may or may not have happened to me.)