Things I Have Learned About Raising Chickens – Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Let me start by saying that I am no authority on chickens (or anything else for that matter). When writing these posts I am simply sharing what I have learned through experience.


All joking aside – Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?  I find the answer to this dilemma to be nearly as simple as the lame joke that’s been told over and over throughout the decades. The answer is the chicken crossed the road because it could. Chickens have absolutely no natural boundaries, left on their own they just wander aimlessly and tirelessly scratching and pecking. The world, as much as they can access, is their playground and their dinner table. Chickens are not trainable, they are not obedient, and they have seemingly short attention spans so giving them something to entice them to stay where you want them will only work for a short time.

If there is somewhere you don’t want the chickens to go you must set up a boundary.


In our case crossing the road is not the worst case scenario. Our neighbors haven’t complained about the chickens foraging in their yard, and drivers who encounter the chickens crossing tend to yield the right of way to our girls. There are, however, some things the chickens find especially enticing, such as freshly worked soil, wood mulch, and straw, and these things can become a problem. Chickens are quick to wander into the freshly planted garden and scratch up all of our hard work. They will dine on the grass seed we just planted, and rearranging the flower bed while digging through a fresh layer of mulch is something a chicken can not resist. It doesn’t take long at all for chickens to destroy all of that hard work.


In 2012 when we began planning to raise chickens on our farm we first built the chicken yard. Our chicken yard is what I consider prime real-estate as it is built in a grove of beautiful mature Shagbark Hickory trees. The dimensions are 90 ft. by 45 ft. so the chickens have plenty of room to roam. The four foot high welded wire fence is generally sufficient to keep the chickens  in, although we do have an occasional escapee. In addition to the shade provided by the Hickory trees the chicken yard also had a wide swath of shrubs that not only offers shade from the sun and protection from the wind, it helps to protect them from overhead predators.  Even with all these amenities our chicken yard is not perfect. It does not have the assortment of grasses, clover, plantain and other plants that are found elsewhere on our farm. Thus as much as possible we allow our chickens to roam the farm and forage for their food. We have fence around all of our garden areas that keeps the chickens out but to be fair the fence serves to keep deer out as well.

We have accepted the fact that the mulch in the prayer garden may not always stay pretty and neat, and that we will inevitably find ourselves herding chickens back to our side of the road, but the lower feed costs, the delicious and nutritious eggs, and the insect control provided by our free range chickens  are certainly worth it.

Thanks for reading and follow along so you don’t miss future posts is this series – “Don’t Put All Of You Eggs In One Basket” and “Chickens Come Home To Roost”.



7 thoughts on “Things I Have Learned About Raising Chickens – Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

  1. Big fenced chicken yard is the next step for my girls. The poop everywhere is crazy and don’t get me started on the dogs finding it delicious. If we let the hens out the run they all congregate at the back door or on the kitchen window just staring inside….it’s quite unnerving!

    Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our dogs love eating chicken poop too. Eww. No dog kisses. LOL! That’s funny about the chickens at the door or looking in the window. Our house is not on the farm so we haven’t had that happen. Thank God they haven’t done that to the neighbors though.
      I hope you have a great weekend as well.


  2. We had 6 lay-hens, in a coop, in our back garden. They were so well trained, I let them into the garden for a couple of hours everyday (and gladly shared some veggies), and they would run towards me upon me calling them (chicken sounds) and follow me back into the coop when their graze was over. Unfortunately the recent birdflu in SA took them all. They were lovely pets! Can’t wait to have some again! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that.
      I’m sorry to hear that you lost your girls. We have found that the best way to get our flock to come to the coop area is to bring food. If we show up with a bucket of veggie scraps or a bag of popcorn they come running. At the end of the gardening season we allow them in to help with clean up.
      I hope you are able to get more chickens soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to laugh about chickens eating the grass seed. We have personally experienced that with our girls. We planted our back yard 3 times! The last time we fenced the entire thing in so that they would not eat that batch of seed.

    Liked by 1 person

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